HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 20 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

If you like high tea then shoot down the rabbit hole into the Adriano Zumbo-created dessert wonderland called Fancy Nance.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 18 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Fancy Nance is this famous patissier’s new high tea salon that’s named after his mother, Nancy. It occupies the site behind his eponymous patisserie on Claremont Street and is the former premises of George Calombaris’ Mama Baba and Manu Fiedel’s short-lived Le Grand Cirque.

Can another celebrity chef make a go of this site?

Based on the spectacular high tea I tried today, I hope so. This is high tea unlike anything I’ve tried in Melbourne.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 4 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

The setting is quite unique. The space is cavernous and the industrial framework can be quite cold (literally and figuratively). But the designers have carved up the centre into cosy plush booths to give it a bit of warmth. There’s a sleek brass cocktail bar with chic brass detailing once the venue opens in the evening.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 5 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 16 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 6 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Both ends of the room are book-ended by exuberant, psychedelic Alice-in-Wonderland inspired street art and you can watch the long open kitchen at work preparing your delicacies.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 15 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

There’s no traditional three-tiered stand. Instead, you’re given three choices – $65 for twelve course degustation of sweets and savouries, $45 for seven mini savoury and sweet courses or scones with jam plus tea, coffee or hot chocolate for $15.

The courses come one after the other…and dessert comes first. I don’t have a problem eating dessert in any order during a meal but I did think it was curious…so I asked a waitress why the topsy-turvy approach. Apparently it’s just the way Zumbo likes to do it and in a traditional three-tier stand going from top to bottom you’d start off with sweets.

The ingredient combinations and attention to detail in presentation is quite stunning. Not everything was too my taste but 10 points for creativity!

To give you a rundown of the current menu:

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 1 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Linzer cake with vanilla chantilly, grapefruit with white chocolate ganache, olive oil and shizo and a tube layered with passionfruit curd, lemongrass pannacotta, lime tapioca and coconut espuma.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 3 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

Choux bun covered  in freeze-dried cherries and filled with…tarragon ice cream.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 7 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

The dish is an wow-inspiring colour bomb but I can’t say I loved the savoury, anise flavour of the filling.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 8 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

A deconstructed apple pie with a cinnamon marshmallow and sorrel leaf plus Zumbo’s signature macarons (or as he calls them, zumbarons).

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 9 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

There’s a reason these macarons are famous – the texture is just perfect, with a crispy-shelled but still moist biscuit sandwiching a not-too-sweet ganache. It also comes nestled on top of a WHOLE BOWL of chocolate beads which you can dig into at leisure!

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 10 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

The one concession to tradition – the scone – was perfect too, fluffy and light. [spoiler] What no one warned me about was that one of the jams was capsicum! I actually quite liked the unexpected peppery flavour and I worked out that one of the ‘creams’ was actually a whipped ricotta. The other jam is sweet (cranberry) and you can pair that with double cream…or cheese if you so wish!

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 11 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

The pastries are a segue into the savoury courses, with a petite pain au chocolat, a raspberry and coconut danish and a tartlet with caramelised olives and topped with smoked ricotta.

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 13 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

The traditional smoked salmon finger sandwich is turned into a cured salmon, crunchy rye, slices of fresh apple and creme fraiche. The other ‘sandwich’ is melting pork rillette inside a salt-flecked pretzel turned into a bun shape!

Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 14 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

The final course is a cube of osso bucco decorated with delicate pea shoots. 
Fancy Nance 21 Daly St South Yarra 19 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South YarraI really enjoyed my high tea at Fancy Nance. Their version of high tea is a playful take on an old tradition and you’ll be surprised at every turn. Given the menu changes periodically I can’t wait go down the rabbit hole again! Later the small space at the front will become a cafe and patisserie called ‘Little Frankie’.

Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra 1800 858 611

Wednesday – Sunday 11am-6pm

No reservations, walk-ins only

 HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 4 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

High Tea on the Rails was a one-off fundraiser organised by Elysian Afternoon Teas for McAuley Community Services for Women’s May High Tea Appeal.

Elysian Afternoon Teas is a vintage high tea business run by Therese Slee which offers small groups of 2-12 people the experience of high tea without the mess or the fuss.

Therese delivers high tea to your home by bringing her stash of vintage china (including a large collection of unique souvenir teaspoons), linen and table decorations. All the catering is done from her home kitchen. Some of the recipes come from the Ritz in London, some are treasured family recipes and some have been created by Therese.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 5 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

The location of this event was at the Newport Railway Workshops, which once used to be the largest industrial complex in Victoria. I never knew this place existed! The original 1880s workshops are now occupied by railway preservation groups Steamrail Victoria, Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association Victoria and R707 Operations and used by the Department of Infrastructure for the storage of disused trams and other rail rollingstock. The Australian Railway Historical Society Railway Museum is located south of the workshops.

I’ve eaten a lot of high tea in Melbourne, but never before in a vintage railway carriage! For this occasion we were very lucky to use the historic Avoca Dining Car, which was built at the Newport Railway Workshops and used for the Royal Visit of the Duke and Duchess of York on their visit to Australia in 1927. It was on loan from R707 Operations which charters locomotives, carriages and trains for private tours, corporate events, tours and filming across Victorian rail network.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 7 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 2 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

Our high tea began with a flute of bubbly or home made ice tea in the spectacular Art Deco interior of lounge car 708, which was built in the 1940s and further decorated with some items from Seddon vintage shop Once More, With Feeling.

IMG 1035 1024x1024 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

We were then ushered into the snug dining car. Each gorgeously decorated table held a plate of traditional crustless sandwiches and scones with home made jam while pots of Madame Flavour teas were brought around.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 14 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

 

The sandwiches were not terribly exciting to be honest as the bread was too soggy and thin. The traditional fillings included chicken paté and lettuce, cucumber and egg.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 12 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

The cake trolley was my highlight, filled to the brim with excellent home made treats. I dived into the moist Lemon Cheese Cream Butter Cake, a crispy hazelnut meringue filled with chocolate ganache and a tart with a hazelnut base and spiced apple butter filling.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 1 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

The ginger fluff sponge was simply amazing, like eating puffs of cloud sandwiching light whipped cream.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 13 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

From the hum of conversation a grand time was had by all as we dined to our fill in unique surroundings. Best of all, $10 of each ticket went to McAuley Community Services for Women, which provides much needed services for women and their children who are escaping family violence and for women who are homeless.

If you’re interested in the works of R707 Operations they restore and maintain heritage locomotives and carriages and can provide tours by appointment. They also regularly provide comfortable family friendly and affordable vintage rail travel day train trips to regional centres in in Victoria.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport 

HOT: Bibelot, 285 – 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 2 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot is a dessert boutique, artisnal paitisserie and gelateria that’s just opened in South Melbourne thanks to the creative team behind Chez Dre.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 11 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot is located next door to its sister cafe, with entry from Coventry Street. From the plain glass outside it’s hard to imagine all the amazing sweet things but once you step inside the room expands out into a Alice in Wonderland/Willy Wonka fantasy of chocolate, cake and ice cream.

I was invited to the preview night and returned on Mother’s Day of my own accord to try their high tea.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 21 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

It’s hard to know where to start. On the right there’s a whole wall of artfully presented chocolate bars, packages of enrobed fruit and nuts, buttery biscuits, preserves and coffee and teas.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 22 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

On the left is the gelati station, with a changing rotation of house made gelati and sorbets housed in pozzetti tubs – plus TWO chocolate taps.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 4 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

I highly recommend the pistachio gelati, which is creamy, flavoursome and studded with real nuts.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 5 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Top it with some dark chocolate sauce that crackles as soon as it hits the cold and you’re onto a winner.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Head along the patisserie for delicate and beautifully presented jewels of cake, rows of pastel coloured macarons and hand made chocolates.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 6 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 3 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 7 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 1 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 9 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 20 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 10 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

At the back of the store is the ‘high tea salon’ though you’re welcome to sit for a drink and a cake there as well. The plush emerald velvet banquettes and armchairs and matching greenery give it an opulent yet inviting air. If there’s no space left in the salon then you can still enjoy your treats on the outside tables or standing by the narrow bench, European style.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 12 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot’s Mother’s Day high tea offering was a test run for their future high teas, which will start Thursday to Sunday from June. For $95 (kids under 7 are free) I received a platter of gourmet savory treats with a bread basket filled to the brim, a mixture of French and Australian cheeses, Istra charcuterie and Mt Zero olive tapenade.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 13 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Next up was a pretty strawberry pot au creme then a quick roll into a platter of petits gâteaux (miniature versions of what’s available in the cake cabinet) and curiously flat miniature scones.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 15 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 16 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 17 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 18 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

To end, two handcrafted bonbons plus throughout there was tea, coffee and a glass of champagne.

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 19 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

I was bowled over by the quantity and quality of the food – but at $95 I thought it was expensive compared to other high teas around town which are equally fancy. Other than the price my only other misgiving is that high tea at Bibelot is not a quiet, restful experience as the salon is at the back of the busy shop.

Bibelot brings the sensibility of a French patisserie to South Melbourne and it’s my new favourite destination for all things sweet. Judging by the roaring trade on Mother’s Day, it may already a favourite for other Melbourne sweet tooths (teeth?).

Bibelot 285 Coventry St South Melbourne 8 HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Bibelot, 285 – 287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

Open 7 days, 10am – Late

minilink HOT: Bibelot, 285	– 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne

HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie 4 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie is a sweet little cake shop and bakery in Hawthorn. While the store is humble in size (there are only a few tables and chairs tucked inside and on the pavement), the cake, pastry and  confectionery spread certainly is not.

Humble Patisserie 3 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

I love the super-cute fit out, with Orla Kiely wallpaper behind the counter and riotously up the ceiling and a large storybook rabbit wielding a baguette and wallpaper matching scarf.

Humble Patisserie 2 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

It’s the kind of place where it’s impossible to choose just one thing to eat. Everything is baked fresh daily on site. They are justly famous of their pastries, especially the almond croissant, and their homage to classic Australian biscuits and sweets such as the Wagon Wheel and coconut ice.

Humble Patisserie 1 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

If you have to whittle down your choices, I highly recommend the Kingston and one of their mini tarlets, a buttery biscuity crumb filled with creamy lemon curd or a rich peanut butter and chocolate ganache.

Humble Patisserie 140 Auburn Road Hawthorn HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie wholesale to a few other cafes in town but I suggest you make a trip to visit this nostalgic little bakery for a sweet treat and a coffee using Axil beans.

Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn (03) 9818 2463

Mon to Sun 8am – 4pm

minilink HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne – Mother’s Day Sunday 10 May 2015

Afternoon tea at The Hotel Windsor 111 Spring St Melbourne 7 The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne   Mothers Day Sunday 10 May 2015
Sunday 10 May is Mother’s Day and Melbourne’s restaurants and cafes will be busy organising special events for the day. Here’s a round-up of high teas in Melbourne and surrounds, some of which are special events just for Mother’s Day.

Melbourne High Tea Reviews

Over the years I’ve reviewed a lot of afternoon tea locations – some great, some not so great. Here are the ones which are open for Mother’s Day.

DSC04960v1 The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne   Mothers Day Sunday 10 May 2015

Langham Melbourne – one of my favourites in Melbourne for the quality of the food and the ambience. The closest to the ‘London afternoon tea’ experience I think, minus the all-you-can-eat ribbon sandwiches!

Intercontinental – For coffee lovers rather than tea sippers.

Cinema Nova – watch a film and enjoy high tea.

Jam and Cream – this little cafe with a pink vintage caravan is as cute as it comes as a setting for afternoon tea.

LuxBite Tea Set for Two 38 Toorak Rd South Yarra 7 The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne   Mothers Day Sunday 10 May 2015

LuxBite – The Tea Set for Two gives you a little taste of the decadence available at this South Yarra dessert patisserie.

Bursaria at Abbotsford Convent – High Tea in the lovely surrounds of Abbotsford Convent.

The Tea Salon – Do some shopping at Emporium then relax with a high tea accompanied by tea, sparkling or champagne.

The Hotel Windsor – Enjoy this iconic building by indulging in freshly baked scones are served with jam and cream and exquisite pastries sit above delicate finger sandwiches.

DSC02865 The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne   Mothers Day Sunday 10 May 2015

Westin Melbourne – a highlight for the pastry lover.

The Waiting Room – decadent sweets, sorbet, scones, sandwiches and hot savouries at Crown Towers.

Collins Kitchen at Grand Hyatt Melbourne – sub-par pastries and a bun-fight at the buffet. Not relaxing.

Sofitel Melbourne – pretty average with rock hard scones.

Other High Tea in Melbourne and surrounds

CBD/ DOCKLANDS

Marriot Melbourne Hotel Cnr Exhibition and Lonsdale St, Melbourne. Child (under 12yrs): $28, Teen (12-18yrs): $49, Adult: $65. Bookings: Book online or call 03 9660 1176

28 Skybar Lounge at Crown Melbourne $85 per adult $50 per child. Bookings 9292 5777.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms 282 Collins St, Melbourne. $50. Bookings: www.hopetountearooms.com.au/reservations 48 hours notice required.

Wonderland Spiegeltent 120 Pearl River Rd, Harbour Town Docklands. Cost: Child $35, Adults $39.50. Bookings: Telephone 03 9602 1311

Vue de Monde  525 Collins St, Melbourne. $250 person. Bookings: (03) 9691 38888

Hotel Lindrum26 Flinders St Melbourne. $55 per person including a glass of sparkling wine. Bookings:  03 9668 1111.

Om Nom at Adelphi Hotel 187 Flinders Lane Melbourne. $65 per person. Bookings: (03) 8080 8827

Stamford Plaza Hotel 111 Little Collins Street. Cost: $69 per adult $34.50 per child 4-12 years. Bookings: +61-3 9659 1000

Myer Mural Hall  Lvl 6, 314-336 Bourke Street. Cost: $70 per person, children under 3 free. Bookings: +61 03 9661 1546

Hazelbark Patisserie at Blue Diamond 15/123 Queen Street. $50 per person. Bookings Hazelbarkpatisserie@gmail.com.

Afternoon tea at The Hotel Windsor 111 Spring St Melbourne 1 The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne   Mothers Day Sunday 10 May 2015

NORTH

Mamor’s Chocolate 153 Johnston St, Collingwood. $75 per person.

Melbourne Zoo Elliot Ave Parkville $65 adults $30 children. Bookings (03) 9285 9440.

EAST

Beau Monde International 934 Doncaster Road, Doncaster East. Child (4-12yrs): $35, Adult: $70. Bookings: 03 9660 1176

Mossgreen Tea Rooms 926 High St Armadale. $52 per person or $68 with champagne. Bookings: Call 03 9508 8850 or email tearooms@mossgreen.com.au

SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE

The Vincent 111 Victoria Ave, Albert Park. Child: $25, Adult: $65. Bookings:  Call (03) 9682 6444 or click here to reserve your table.

Ganache Chocolate 250 Toorak Rd, South Yarra. $45 per head or $60 per head with a glass of sparkling. Bookings: Call 9804 7485

WEST

Cocktails and Canvas Puckle Lane, Moonee Ponds. $82.50 high tea ‘Sip & Paint’.

The Tea Salon Shop 2041 Level 2 Emporium Melbourne 295 Lonsdale St Melbourne 5 The HOT List: Afternoon Tea in Melbourne   Mothers Day Sunday 10 May 2015

MELBOURNE SURROUNDS

Chateau Yering Historic House Hotel 42 Melba Highway, Yering. $60 per person. Bookings: Call 03 9237 3333 or email functions@chateauyering.com.au

Marybrooke Manor 10 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke. Adults: $40 Children $17.50. Bookings: Call (03) 9755 2755

High Tea at Yarra Valley Lodge 2 Heritage Avenue, Chirnside Park. Cost: $45 per adult and $27.50 per child (3-12 years). Bookings: Call 9760 3355 or email dining_atbella@yarravalleylodge.com

Coombe Restaurant 673-675 Maroondah Highway Coldstream. $55 per person. Bookings (03) 9739 0173

HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

It’s about time there’s a dedicated place for non-coffee, chocolate drinkers like me. Hooray for Mork Chocolate Brew House, a specialty cafe in North Melbourne brought to us by a Swedish chocolatier and her Australian partner.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 11 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 12 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate was previously only sold wholesale and you would have seen their cardboard canisters stocked in cafes and shops all over Melbourne. I’m such a fan that I even own one of their tea towels!

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 2 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House is a shop and 18-seater brew bar that only serves hot and cold chocolates, with a few house-made sweet nibbles on the side.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 1 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Yes you read right. It’s a cafe with no coffee.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 15 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

The beautiful space is a light yet warm haven, with brass and wood finishes and curved benches and taps. Even the water taps for still and sparkling water are beautifully moulded and the carafes are miniature and super cute.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 5 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House serves hot chocolates of the likes you’ve never seen before and some of them are only available dining in. The classic chocolate and milk drink is available with 50%, 65%, 70% and 85% cacao ($5). The 70% cacao is their original and signature blend.

Or you can try a water-based chocolate, where the delicate notes of the 100% pure cacao Venezuelan chocolate really stand out ($5.5 for hot, $8 for a chilled chocolate soda).

But I think the drink to try is their selection of signature chocolates ($5.5-$8) where the chocolate is mixed unusual ingredients such as oat milk, warm custard…and smoke.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 6 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

For pure theatre you must try the Campfire Chocolate ($8). It’s a porcelain beaker of hot chocolate served with a caged glass of beech wood smoke, a sprinkle of smoked salt and a house-made pillowy marshmallow, also smoked.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 17 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

 

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 9 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

You lift the glass, inhale the fumes then pour your chocolate inside while stirring it with the marshmallow skewer. You then finish it off with a sprinkle of salt.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 7 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

The liquid is silky smooth with a hint of smokiness and the ritual lends a tea-ceremony delicacy to the drink, with a little bit of cheekiness thrown in.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 14 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 4 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

For little people you can order a chocolate foam, effectively a babycino ($1) or a mini Junior (50% cacao) hot chocolate with a marshmallow ($3). It’s served in the same fragile Japanese porcelain that’s been imported from Arita, Japan, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain – so do be careful with little ones!

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 3 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

The small sweet delicacies are either made in house or made off-site with Mork’s recipes. The canele ($4) had a egg-shell like crunchy shell on the outside, though not quite airy enough within to count as an absolutely perfect canele specimen.

Instead for $4 I recommend trying one of the delicate and moist financier cakes, either hazelnut or lemon on the day of my visit.

mork chocolate brew house 150 errol st north melbourne 2 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 18 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

The most substantial offering is the brioche with chocolate spread ($6.5) which comes buttery warm and with a generous pot of Mexican chocolate. There’s enough spread to share between two brioche so be prepared to order extras (or you could just eat any leftovers straight with a spoon!).

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol St North Melbourne 10 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

Mork Chocolate Brew House is currently open during the day only but they will be shortly introducing some early evening hot chocolate tasting flights for those interested in chocolate education. Keep a lookout on their Facebook page for when those classes launch.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol Street, North Melbourne +61 (03) 9328 1386

Tue-Sat 8am-5pm

Sun 9am-5pm

 HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 12 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Shannon Bennett, chef-restaurateur and perennial entrepreneur, is developing heritage-listed Burnham Beeches into a a biodynamic farm and self-sufficient village in Sherbrooke in the Dandenongs.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 11 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Phase 1 of the 22 hectare site is the Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, the commercial bakery which supplies all of the bread and pastries for Bennett’s many restaurants, including Cafe Vue at Heide, Bistro Vue and Vue de Monde.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 14 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Unfortunately we chose a very wet day to visit Burnham Beeches which meant that indoor tables were in scarce supply. Luckily we snagged one of the remaining available wooden/marbled ended benches at 9:30am (it opens at 9am). Yes it’s that busy even on a wet Sunday morning!

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 9 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

We found the former pigsty and barn quite cold and its high ceilings and polished concrete surfaces meant that it got really loud once the tables filled.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 15 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

The breakfast menu mixes between cafe standards and some of the Vietnamese influences found at Jardin Tan. There’s a lot of pork on the agenda, an apt choice for a place named the Piggery Cafe.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 7 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 18 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

We tried the house made banana bread with whipped honey butter ($7) which was really just glorified cake, the bircher muesli with bircher muesli, poached fruit and Schulz yoghurt ($12) and the BBB – a brioche bun slathered in sweet tomato relish with bacon, a slab of slow-cooked pork and a fried egg with a sunny, runny yolk ($16). All of the food was delicious but I did think the servings were on the measly side.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 16 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Luckily it meant more room for dessert and it would be remiss to drive all this way without trying one of the amazing cakes (even though it’s only 10am).

DSC05464 540x408 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

The lemon tart ($9) was my favourite, with a rippled short pastry crust housing a soft but not runny lemon curd filling and perfectly burnished squiggle of meringue tinted with flavours of honey. The meringue perhaps was a little bit too soft but it was probably due to the damp conditions.

The caramel slice ($8.50) was not too sickly sweet (the reason I tend to avoid caramel tarts) and was adorned by a cute little quenelle of chocolate mousse.

We also particularly enjoyed the springy canele ($3), which contained surprising Green Goblin hued centre of pistachio encased by a sugar-coated crust.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 13 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

The kids loved their shortbread piggy biscuits ($2) dipped in chocolate ‘mud’ and babycinos with a chocolate on the side ($2). There’s plenty of room to park prams and several high chairs available.

From the bakery we took home a loaf of golden, buttery brioche. Note that it’s $6.50 at Burnham Bakery, $7 at Jardin Tan and $8 at Cafe Vue at Heide (yes we buy it everywhere we go!).

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 17 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

If it gets too busy or the sun is shining you can get sandwiches and sweet things to go and laze around the lawns instead. I’m told the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens next door are particularly spectacular but it was freezing and wet on our visit so we had to miss them.

Burnham Beeches is lovely short trip from Melbourne and the Piggery Cafe is a foodie destination if you’re not only after cream teas and crochet. The 2 and 3 course lunch menu looks particularly appetising and seems more adventurous than the breakfast fare.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke 03 9021 2100

Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

Sat-Sun 9am-5pm

minilink HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop in Ascot Vale an awesome organic vegan bakery for non-vegans. The magic that they create with their baked goods without the use of eggs, milk, butter or cream has to be tried to be believed.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 1 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

The quirky, retro-tastic cafe has seating along the window and one side of the wall, while the other length of the room is a looong cake cabinet. Breathe in the aromas of cinnamon and cake-baking and settle down for a sweets session.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 2 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 5 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

For lunch there are a few savoury options – a savoury scroll and bagels filled with vegan ingredients. I tried the ‘chickpea tuna’ bagel which believe it or not really did taste like tuna, although the texture wasn’t as easily replicable. It was a pretty tasty sandwich, despite being squished down to a hard pancake with the over-enthusiastic use of the sandwich press.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 9 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

But really the main reason you go to Mr Nice Guy is to eat sweets. To be precise, you’ve got to try one of their fluffy chocolate, vanilla or cinnamon based cupcakes in out-there flavours such as ‘Zombie Brains’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ ($4.50). Followed by one of their large sticky scrolls in traditional cinnamon or coffee or the PB&J with lashings of chunky peanut butter folded inside the swirls and a dab of strawberry jam on top ($4.50). Maybe even go for one of their chocolate-infused Polish babkas ($4.50).

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 6 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

It’s all good. Most importantly, the texture of the cakes is incredible and you could easily fool a non-vegan with these treats.

Mr Nice Guy will have you exclaiming ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter!’ as you scoff into their cupcakes, doughnuts, slices, brownies and cakes. They cater for lots of different dietary requirements, from kosher to soy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, corn-free, fructose-free and low gi! It’s so hard to choose from just one visit that you will just have to keep returning, and returning.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 7 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale 0416 848 610

Mon to Fri: 9am – 6pm

Sat + Sun: 9am – 5pm

minilink HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

Agathe Patisserie Rear 97 Chapel St Windsor Entry via Artists Lane and Prahran Market 163 Commercial Rd South Yarra 2 HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

You know the reason why I could never be (willingly) gluten-free or sugar-free? Because I’m a pastry FIEND. And I love discovering French patisseries in Melbourne, with my newest find being Agathe Patisserie in Windsor.

Agathe Patisserie Rear 97 Chapel St Windsor Entry via Artists Lane and Prahran Market 163 Commercial Rd South Yarra 5 HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

I have been stalking and drooling over Agathe Patisserie on Instagram for a while and finally had the opportunity to visit Agathe at her little artisan stall at Prahran Market, where she sets up on Saturdays. The rest of the week she bakes in a pop up store/lab in Windsor.

 

When I threatened to buy one of everything I wasn’t kidding. It was really, really hard to choose what to buy (with a major case of FOMO given I don’t get to Prahran very often) so what the heck!

Agathe Patisserie Rear 97 Chapel St Windsor Entry via Artists Lane and Prahran Market 163 Commercial Rd South Yarra 1 HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

In the bag went a plain croissant, a salted caramel brioche/croissant ball, a croissant square with  almond cream, raspberries and pistachio, a chocolate croissant, an escargot, an almond coated croissant with chocolate inside and a canele.

Of the selection my choices were the almond croissant, with its beautifully flaky centre and sticks of dark chocolate, and the plain croissant.

Agathe Patisserie Rear 97 Chapel St Windsor Entry via Artists Lane and Prahran Market 163 Commercial Rd South Yarra 4 HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

Just look at those airy layers – it was so buttery and light that I ate it unadorned. Didn’t want any jam weighing it down!

Agathe Patisserie Rear 97 Chapel St Windsor Entry via Artists Lane and Prahran Market 163 Commercial Rd South Yarra 3 HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

I had high expectations of the canele but I found mine just a little bit too dense, though the outside was beautifully caramelised. Given other people have rhapsodised about them I’d give them another go (twist my rubber arm!).

Agathe Patisserie make her cakes to order and her items are only stocked in a few select locations at the moment. So set aside some time in your diary to make a visit and don’t miss out!

Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane )

Friday and Saturday from 8 to 12

Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

Saturday 9 to 4 (or until sold out)

 HOT: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 5 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

By Josephine is a Brunswick patisserie and cafe straight out of a Paris salon.

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 3 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 2 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

The pressed ceiling and all-white walls present a luxurious feel to the little daytime cafe, which specialises in macarons, pastries and savouries made on premises. The only thing that’s brought in is the bread and ultra-flaky croissants, both from Cavallini in Clifton Hill.

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 1 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

The owner of By Josephine (named Josephine), is French and she made her name from hand-making macarons and selling them to various restaurants and cafes around Melbourne before setting up her store. They are the raison d’etre for the shop so you must not miss them!

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 7 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

The macarons at By Josephine ($2.50 each) were of a very high quality, with the light, crispy-shelled biscuit sandwiching just the right proportion of ganache or flavoured buttercream.

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 4 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

On our visit we also sampled some of the other sweets – a buttery sable with quite salty dollops of salted caramel ($5), a perfect chocolate moulleux ($6) dusted with raspberry powder and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a few miniature meringues, a melt-in-the-mouth raspberry marshmallow ($1) and finally an excellent ham and cheese croissant.

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 6 HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick

For drinks the cafe serves Coffee Supreme coffees, French Kusmi teas and variations on iced chocolate. We had an iced praline ($5) with globs of chocolate mixed with ice and milk plus caramelised nuts garnishing the top.

By Josephine is a beautiful place to indulge your sweet tooth and is a little bit of France in Brunswick. Next time I really want to try the high tea at By Josephine which includes a selection of mini treats and savoury delicacies for $42.

By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick 0420 276 361

Wednesday to Saturday: 9am – 5pm

Sunday: 10am – 4pm

minilink HOT: By Josephine 365 Sydney Road Brunswick