Is it wrong to write an entire restaurant review around the quality of the dogs that stop by while you’re enjoying a flakey sourdough pastry? Most places, the answer would be yes. But there’s something about the block of Strawberry Street where Idle Hands is located that seems to bring out the best in both bakeries and basset hounds.
That’s not to say that Idle Hands isn’t a culinary powerhouse in its own right. Their commitment to rotating pastry options is so impressive it’s almost a drawback – I returned earlier today to try a lemon curd croissant I foolishly chose not to try on a previous visit only to find its place in the case taken by a Pain Suisse (dark chocolate and orange zest pastry creme) and next to a croissant filled with cannoli creme. This forced me to eat a ham and cheese poppyseed croissant and pledge to return again, which to be honest was always on the agenda.
I do have a complaint that I find to be a genuine fault – Idle Hands serves all their pastries slightly chilled, which can be an issue for the savory options. A cold sausage roll is a legitimately bad experience – and the cheese inside my ham and cheese seemed to still be in the slice shape it started at.
Idle Hands serves drip coffee and a variety of both standard and house specialty espresso drinks, and while I can’t speak to the drinks from behind the counter the drip coffee is quite tasty – plus, everyone seems pretty on top of their game in there.
I will absolutely be returning to Idle Hands – I want to try their bread, I love how relaxing it is to sit outside and bite into one of their deliciously flakey pastries, and am consistently happy with my cup of coffee – but I will not be getting anything with meat in it unless I’m bringing it home to rewarm in the toaster oven.