It's amazing that pastry, at its simplest, is just flour, lots of butter, sugar, and maybe an egg or two. Yet Melbourne's best bakeries and patisseries have crafted a diverse range of treats from these raw ingredients, from what could be the best croissants in the world, to old-school cakes you want to take home to your grandmother.
Melbourne's best patisseries
Their pastries fly out of the shop by noon most days, but does Lune really cut the mustard? In short, yes. Created in a climate-controlled lab, Lune croissants are almost mathematically perfect: crisp and golden with visible layers of delicate pastry. Come early to nab the lemon curd cruffins, piped to the gills with a tart curd and sprinkled with citrus sugar.
If croissants are the benchmark of a patisserie, Agathe Kerr’s clears it with ease. She leaves them out for 24-hours to allow the dough to rest the yeast to ferment, and the butter to develop a flavour like cultured butter. Don’t go past her special edition croissants if they’re available, like the fragrant green pandan-infused one.
In the cake world, Bibelot’s pastries and confectionary are couture. The gleaming chocolate bonbons look too pretty to eat, and so do the individual-sized pastries. Try the Hazelnut-Praline Crunch a grown-up take on the classic Ferrero Rocher sitting atop a cake made of layers of smooth mousse and crème.
This bakery is best known for their sourdough loaves, but you’d be a fool not to sample their savoury pastries. The beef pies are chunky beasts with plenty of tomato-infused gravy and nicely crimped edges; and the spinach and cheese pastry parcels packed with salty feta, dill and pine nuts dipped in the tart house-made kasundi make a great portable lunch.
It feels like your birthday every day at Beatrix. This corner café in North Melbourne makes towering bundt and layer cakes daily, as well as sweet tarts. Local favourites are the Red Velvet and the pistachio and lemon curd cake, but you’ll want to buy a slice if it happens to be Bakewell tart day on your visit.
LuxBite’s cakes and pastry are textbook French when it comes to technique, with not-so-classic flavour pairings. You’ll find green tea and Japanese rice wine in their version of the Opera cake, and seven layers of nostalgia in the Lolly Bag cake. Try the Kuma tart, which looks like an anime bear’s face, and hides a white chocolate milkshake mousse and banana and strawberry crème within.
Cobb Lane’s bombolones are legendary, which is why they’re a regular at Melbourne’s ludicrously popular bake sale Flour Market. Flavours like orange blossom and blueberry, and the Jaffa-like chocolate custard and mandarin marmalade, are sophisticated and go amazingly with the house filter coffee.
On their window, Monarch Cakes claims to be “Exquisite since 1934”, and they’re not lying. There’s an old-school charm to this St Kilda cake shop, the kind that no amount of climate-controlled, Parisian pastry precision can match. The bundt chocolate kooglhoupf, a marble cake with stripes of melted chocolate throughout, is the kind of cake you want to take home to your mother. Get a slice of the Polish baked cheesecake while you’re there – it’s dense with creamy cottage cheese, made from a century-old recipe.
His Zumbarons may have made him a household name, but Adriano Zumbo Patisserie’s packed cabinets are where it’s at. The passionfruit tarts with passionfruit curd and decorated with an airbrushed sunset finish are still a tropical dream long after they were debuted.