Anyway, as I was saying, I was thinking of chocolate layered cakes, or entremets for my dad’s upcoming birthday and a few cakes that I tasted whilst in Melbourne occurred to me. I decided to take a look at them once again, and naturally, I started salivating and mooning over them, again. During my short stay in Melbourne, I think I consumed at least 3 servings of cake and macarons per day, all in the name of ‘research’. And this was on top of my daily meals, where I scouted out the best food that Melbourne could provide!
I decided that these exquisite cakes (and bakeries) required a post all of their own, so this is yet another C for my A to Z of Australia, in addition to the one about Chokolait. Do scroll down for more details on the stores!
|A common sight outside the bakery.|
You can’t see from this photo on the right, but there are huge panes of glass for you to peer inside the bakery to see what goodies they have for the day (which are the same everyday actually).
Having seen quite a few bakeries in my trip so far, I wasn’t too impressed with the prices of the cakes – each slice retails at $8 and tarts around $5-6 (I can’t remember exactly). Because I was so full from the hot chocolate, I decided on having just one cake, and I decided on the brownie and passionfruit chocolate gateau even though I’d just consumed a copious amount of chocolate. This was because I’d seen rave reviews on urbanspoon. And mainly because I also fall prey to any chocolate cakes in display cases. Seriously – at any bakery – the cakes which never fail to draw my attention are the chocolate ones, especially those chocolatey-nutty-praline type of cakes with just the right amount of fruit. I’m predictable that way.
Anyway, back to the cake.
As its name suggests, it has a brownie base, followed by a layer of crunchy praline, passionfruit custard, chocolate mousse and finished off with a chocolate ganache topping with a passionfruit jelly. The flavour combination was phenomenal. I’ve to admit that till now, I’ve never had a passionfruit-chocolate combination anything, be it a tart or bread or any other dessert, so I was really very impressed with how well this combination went. The tanginess of the passionfruit went perfectly with the richness of the mousse and the brownie. I also liked the fact that they didn’t go with the normal jocondes or dacquoises here but went instead with a walnut-laden brownie, which provided a lovely contrast to the other textures – especially the mousse in the cake.
|Le Petit Gateau’s Brownie and Passionfruit Chocolate Gateau|
Of course, my dessert journey doesn’t end there although it was a darn good start. The next day, I mapped out my route pretty precisely because it was my last full day in Melbourne! After visiting some markets and other touristy attractions, I headed first to the Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie (where I had the best almond croissant outside of Paris) and then to Burch & Purchese followed by LuxBite. I’ll write about PPB another day, since I’m not sure where those photos are. Anyway, all these places are slightly North of the city centre, and are not exactly accessible by foot from the city centre. There are however many bus services that ply the area of South Yarra.
So, I’d read quite a number of blog posts on this place – Burch & Purchese, which is essentially the surnames of the 2 patissiers who decided to open a sweets wonderland. Like with many other bakeries in Melbourne, they have a very inconspicuous outside, but walk in, and be impressed. It was the first time I saw a wall of ingredients in a shop. I didn’t count, but their blog states that there are more than 250 ingredients there where you can choose to go into your made-to-order cake. B&P is a lot about molecular gastronomy as well, so you also see cool things like edible greeting cards, sprays in addition to the traditional offerings of cookies and meringues.
|Yet another normal shopfront. I like their logo colors though!|
|Check out this wall! It’s only 25% of their wall because well I only had my 50mm lens and this was all it could capture without me stumbling into some shelves.|
Some bloggers have described B&P as akin to Willy Wonka’s, but since I wasn’t privileged enough to go behind the doors, I can’t say much for the magic that goes into the sweets, except to say that I was really really impressed with the clean layout of the ‘studio’ and with the desserts. In fact, I found it really really really hard to make my decision, but I had to make do with just one, because I was so full from consuming so many other goodies before (think Lebanese pizza, etc). I was also very happy that they were very nice about taking photographs in the bakery, very unlike other bakeries which have staff staring down at you like a hawk.
|Part of where the magic happens!|
|These are edible flowers in edible soil!
I was seriously wowed by all the cakes they had on offer because they had really traditional ingredients in unique combinations and unique presentation. In the end, I chose to have the vanilla-pistachio-lemon-green tea, which is essentially “white chocolate & vanilla mousse | crunchy green tea meringue | lemon cream | pistachio cake | green tea macaroon | brilliant white chocolate spray” (copied verbatim from their webpage). I have to admit that in retrospect, I should have bought a few more cakes, because I kinda regret not having them after I tasted a bite of the cake when I was back at home with my friend. Beware though that a trip to B&P will not be easy on your pocket – each slice costs $9 apiece, but I think it’s really worth it for the quality ingredients that go in, and the number of layers in each cake!
Some of the macarons I had were the kaya toast and the raspberry&white chocolate, as well as the salted caramel. I’ve to say that the latter two were not too memorable – of course the shells were the right amount of crispness and chewiness, and the fillings right on the money, but I very much preferred the caramel from Baroque and these combinations were just, well, run-of-the-mill. The one that left a really really deep impression on me however, was the kaya toast macaron. It’s an absolute treasure! The shell had little bits of toasted bread mixed into it, so you not only have the taste of having kaya with bread, you also have the mouthfeel! The house-made kaya is perfect too, tasting as delicious as the kaya that I usually have at home, with the right amount of pandan scent. On top of that, there’s a surprise bit of butter sandwiched between the cookies. Absolute heaven. I really felt like I was having kaya toast back in Singapore – the only thing missing was my teh.
So if you ever hop by Melbourne, do give these places a visit. I assure you that you will not regret any minute trying to get there.
Le Petit Gateau
Address: 458 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9944 8893
Opening hours: 7.30am-5pm, weekdays only.
Price: $ (cakes from $8)
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
Address: 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria 3141
Contact: (03) 9827 7060
Opening hours: 10am to 6.30pm everyday except Monday
Website: http://www.burchandpurchese.com/ and http://www.burchandpurchese.blogspot.com/
Price: $ (cakes from $9)
Address: 38 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Contact: (03) 9867 5888
Opening hours: 8am-8pm, Wednesday to Monday
Price: $ (cakes from $7. They also serve hot meals)