688 Queensberry Street
+61 3 9090 7301
I have always had a sweet tooth but the ironic thing is I don’t like my sweets too sweet. One of my absolute favourite sweet places in Melbourne is Beatrix. Cakes here are done the old-fashioned way, with classic sponge and cream and chiffon being the most common. Other delectable goodies include brownies, tarts and cookies. Beatrix is not just a sweet-tooth’s paradise, the ciabatta sandwiches are to die for as well. A limited number of sandwiches are offered on a daily basis, and they are handmade to order. The ingredients are of top-notch quality and the sandwiches are stuffed to the brim, resulting in the need for fork and knife.
I visited Beatrix three times in two weeks. If I lived next door, I’d be in everyday (except Sunday and Monday, for that’s when she’s closed) and be the size of a house. Although the café is small and seats just a handful, there are a few tables and chairs scattered outside for warmer days. I love the tantilizing display and the aroma of sugar and butter.
I have tried a couple of sandwiches, the Beggbie and the Chairman. The former had sweet beetroot and apple aioli topped with a perfectly fried sunnyside-up and peppered with fresh roquette leaves. The latter consisted of a slab of soft fatty pork belly marinated in charsiew sauce and Sichuan pepper, topped with fresh green snow pea shoots and crunchy lettuce, all of which was bracketed by mayo-slathered ciabatta. These sandwiches, by golly, are worth waiting and paying for.
The desserts that I’ve tried so far are the lemon chiffon, orange chiffon, whoopee pie, lime tart and Anzac cookie. Yes, I finished every mentioned sinful item mar the Anzac cookie. No, I did not eat all of it in one sitting, although I probably could. Probably. The cookie was for the Angmoh, which he single-handedly devoured without offering me a taste. I had also gifted Fakebooo with a rhubarb tart which he undoubtedly enjoyed.
Amongst all the mentioned goodies, the lemon chiffon wins hands down. I love citrusy desserts and while the chiffon has fluffy insides, the edges and bottom are saturated with sweet tangy lemon juice. Mmm, yum. I’ve heard that Beatrix has produced many a lemon tart and I have yet to set my greedy hands on one, but I predict I won’t be too far along from satisfying this craving.
Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie
19 Keilor Road
+61 3 9379 3815
Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie is another place that I wish I lived next to. Thank the lord I’m more than a suburb away. It can be a tad troublesome to get there so I’ve only been a couple of times, during airport runs, despite my enjoyment of their products.
Situated amongst the wide traffic-confusing shopping stretch that encompasses two huge round-abouts in Essendon, Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie is rather easy to find once you get past navigating said round-abouts and turn onto the right road. It is identified by a bicycle, of which its basket nestles the iconic symbol of French bread, the baguette.
I have yet to sit in and dine in this little café but coffee, sandwiches and of course pastries can be enjoyed on site. My most recent takeaway stash consisted of the famed almond croissant and an escargot for The Angmoh.
The almond croissant is slightly bigger on average and is also a tad pudgier. It is generously stuffed with sweet buttery almond pate. The flaky layers of croissant are somewhat lost due to the moist filling but it still makes one hell of a wicked treat.
I have previously tried the vegetable brioche. It is tasty, buttery and goes against the mindset that everything vegetarian is healthy.
The next time you’re headed to or from the airport, take the longer route to step into this lovely café.
Cupcake Central Workshop
Level 2, Dining Hall
+61 3 9077 4542
Food fashions are like waves: they come crashing in, cause a lot of fuss and then fade out with a gentle evanescence. Melbourne has had many food ebbs and tides; there was the Mexican wave, the macaroon movement, the uproar on doughnuts and cronuts and of course the cupcake craze.
Cupcake chains shot up like wildflowers in a dung-laden farm in recent years. These little morsels are delicate, intricate and far too pretty to be eaten. They are basically sponge cakes prettied up by a hat of swirled frosting. Throw in some flavour, pile on the make-up and voila, a cupcake is made.
Cupcake Central has to be the pioneer and reigning queen of the cupcakes. While many a franchise have diminished, the original Cupcake Central holds court in Melbourne Central. Several factors contribute to her clout: the open window in which customers can watch the action is beckoning, as is the comfortable lounge sandwiched between her and Plantation. Furthermore, workshops are held for those interested to perfect their cupcake making and decorating skills.
But what about the cupcakes? The cupcakes, of course, are delicious. The sponge base is moist and soft and the frosting finger-and-lip-licking good. There are more than 15 different flavoured cupcakes to appeal to the masses.
I took away the chocolate mint, lemon and chocolate malted milkshake one day and also sampled a peanut butter one sometime ago. The flavours of each cupcake came were unmissable and the textures of both sponge and icing were perfect.
The bottom line is, if you have managed to hide yourself in some tiny dark well and have yet to open your heart to try one of Cupcake Central’s cupcakes, do yourself a favour. Get one of these babies and I guarantee, it’ll be hard to stop at just one.
254 Lygon Street
+61 3 9041 2927
One might wonder what a Patagonian ice cream shop is doing in the middle of Melbourne’s Little Italy. Although dotted with gelato bars aplenty, Helados Jauja is the only place I’d settle for ice cream on Lygon Street.
It combines real fresh ingredients with Patagonian techniques, lovingly handmade in Australia. Doesn’t matter how you go about eating your ice cream, be it taking a big bite and getting brain freeze or swirling your tongue to catch melting rivers, the taste of the ice cream is pure and true. The texture of the ice cream might not be as creamy but the unadulterated wholesome flavours more than compensate for it.
There are 2 categories of ice cream, classic and deluxe, with the latter a touch pricier. There are also a variety of sorbets to choose from. You pick the number of scoops you want and decide if you’d like to have it in a cup or cone. I normally go for 2 in a cone. So far, I’ve tried black sesame, peanut butter, mint, yerba mate, vanilla and rosewater. My favourites so far are the black sesame and mint.
Helados Jauja now does brunch on weekends and is currently having a promotion titled “A Date with Jaujas”. For $50, you get to sample all 24 flavours, enjoy 3 scoops of any choice and take home a regular pack of ice cream. The date is set for 9 Nov, so ice cream fanatics should book this one in.