HOT: Adriano Zumbo Patissier, 12-14 Claremont St, South Yarra

zumboSome days when I’m feeling blue, I thank god for Adriano Zumbo. His eponymous patisserie in South Yarra is a Willy Wonka riot of mirror, neon and cake and the long pastry cabinet never fails to lift my spirits.

When faced with so many fantastical desserts it’s hard to know where to start. But if you go on Tuesday I have a tip for you – for the foreseeable future you can buy one tart get one half price as part of ‘Two Tart Tuesday’.

zumbo

With that in mind I order the precisely swirled lemon meringue tart and the luxurious ‘Me So Nutty’ with gianduja caramel, milk chocolate gianduja soft ganache and topped with golden hazelnutszumbo

I also can’t resist a ‘Zonut’ with flavours that change every week. So popular are Zumbo’s version of the croissant/donut hybrid that customers are limited to only four at a time.

zumbo

As I bite into one I can understand why! The outer crust is so crisp and light I create an explosion of pastry crumbs with every mouthful, and the filling is so smooth and rich with  a Mexican dark chocolate – whipped ganache with hints of cinnamon and chilli. The topping? More chocolate and marshmallows!

For other treats I have also been known to queue for Zumbo’s macarons (Zumbarons) on occasion and they are one of the best I’ve ever tried due to their consistency and precision in texture. There is also hand-crafted ice cream or savoury pies, sausage rolls and quiches.

There are a few small tables and chairs inside the bakery where you can enjoy your coffee and cake on the spot, though during busy period it can get crowded so it’s more of a takeaway place. Taking one of the distinctive orange boxes out on the street will bring a spring to your step, I promise!

Adriano Zumbo Patissier is a joyride for Melbourne sweet tooths and if you enjoy those treats make sure you visit Fancy Nance around the corner, Zumbo’s new high tea salon which turns afternoon tea on its head.

Adriano Zumbo Patissier, 12-14 Claremont St, South Yarra 1800 858 611

Open 7 days 7am – 7pm

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HOT: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra

SONY DSC

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

fancy nance

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

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

fancy nance

fancy nance

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

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

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

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

fancy nance

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

fancy nance

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

fancy nance

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

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

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

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

The final course is a cube of osso bucco decorated with delicate pea shoots. 
fancy nanceI 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

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

bibelot 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 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 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 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 south melbourne

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

bibelot 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 south melbourne

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

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot 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 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 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 south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

bibelot south melbourne

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

bibelot 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 south melbourne

Bibelot, 285 – 287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

Open 7 days, 10am – Late

Bibelot on Urbanspoon

HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

humble patisserie

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

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

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

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

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

Humble Patisserie on Urbanspoon

HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

le jolie cafe

Get your waffle on with Le Jolie, a French cafe hidden in a small shopping strip in Pascoe Vale.

Those in the (waffle) know may have heard of Waffle Jolie, wholesalers of Belgian style waffles that sold out time and time again at Flour Market Fitzroy. Le Jolie is the permanent retail operation for the Waffle Jolie crew.

Before you say anything…yes, it’s not spelled the grammatically correct way ‘La Jolie’ but is Le Jolie because it’s an extension of Le (Waffle) Jolie.

le jolie cafe

Le Jolie serves breakfast and lunch with a French twist. Prep starts at 4:30am and all the items are made on site, with exception of the buttery flaky croissants which are bought in par-baked then baked every morning. The simple menu includes sweet and savoury tarts, tartines and daily lunch specials such as casserole and quiche.

le jolie cafe

The setting is just very charming. Inside is warm and cosy with dark timber floors, a nook of leather couches and a fireplace.

On a sunny day head out the back (past the small doorway to the hairdressing salon) and settle into the bucolic courtyard, with its lush canopy of vine leaves, a babbling fish pond with goldfish and wooden pallets turned green wall.

le jolie

I tried the Croque Monsieur with a rich bechamel sauce made with roasted garlic and fresh herbs from the garden pots ($13). It’s served with a rather limp leaf salad which could be made more interesting.

le jolie cafe

Make sure you leave for waffles – in fact, order them when you order your main meal. On our visit all the waffles had sold out by midday and we were lucky to get the last one because we’d ordered it with our lunch.

The waffles are made with a secret recipe of 10 ingredients and are Belgian style, meaning they have a lovely caramelised sugar crust and are denser than American waffles. Le Jolie’s waffles are almost biscuity in flavour and texture and not so dense that you couldn’t maybe fit in two…I also recommend not drowning your waffle in too many toppings – the simple house-made chocolate sauce is enough, or even plain to really appreciate the texture and flavour.

le jolie cafe

For other sweets I also highly recommend the pistachio croissant, a croissant slathered in pistachio paste inside and out and studded with raspberries and almond flakes.

And don’t miss their French hot chocolate ($4.50) which is a frothy whisked couverture concoction rather than a thick, gooey, Italian-style hot chocolate.

le jolie

Coffee is from the award-winning Melbourne microroaster Bambaleros and Le Jolie serves the No 6 blend.

Le Jolie is a lovely neighbourhood cafe which hits all the right notes in terms of food, setting and ambiance. The husband-and-wife owners work in the kitchen and on the floor and it’s obvious that they really care about their customers. The waffles alone are worth a visit!

Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale (03) 93799886

Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 7.00 am – 3.30 pm

Sat-Sun 8.00 pm-3 pm  

Closed Wed        
Le Jolie Cafe on Urbanspoon

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

windsor hotel afternoon tea
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.

Chocolate Indulgence Afternoon Tea, Aria Bar and Lounge, The Langham Melbourne, 1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank

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

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.

 High Tea at Lobby Lounge, The Westin, 205 Collins St, Melbourne

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.

windsor hotel afternoon tea

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’.

tea salon melbourne

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

FREE Food Tours of Melbourne’s West – with me!

Maribyrnong City Council regularly run ‘Westside Discovery Tours’, a series of FREE tours for locals and visitors to introduce them to the secrets of Melbourne’s west side. (Read about some of their previous tours here and here).

New tours are available for booking from today.

Westside Discovery Tours May 2015 (1)

I will be leading a cycling tour with The Squeaky Wheel to discover some of the Westside’s best pastries, cakes, desserts and sweets. Free tastings too!

The Sweet Cycle

When: Sat 9 May, 1.30 -3pm

Where: Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 10 places

Doughnuts

If you have kids I will also be leading a Culture Mamas tour of family-friendly Footscray. It’ll be a 1.5 hour walk covering some of my favourite places to take kids to eat, shop and play in my neighbourhood, with tastings en route.

Family Friendly Tour of Footscray

When: Mon 4 May, 10 – 11.30am

Where: Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 8 places

To book email susie.wickes@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au with your full name, street address, contact number and selected tour. Only one tour per person and not available for group bookings of 4+ people. For more information click here.

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

mork chocolate

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

mork chocolate

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

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

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

mork chocolate

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

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

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

 

mork chocolate

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

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

mork chocolate

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

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

mork chocolate

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

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

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HOT: Like Minded Projects, 41-49 Smith Street, Fitzroy

like minded projects

Like Minded Projects is a stunning cafe on Smith Street that specialises in vegan, gluten-free and raw food.

It’s a combined operation with three different like-minded businesses – coffee roaster Coffee Supreme, raw and whole food kitchen Fred Gets (which includes in its collection Pana Chocolate’s raw organic desserts) and Ace raw cookies and nut milk.

like minded projects

The decor is head-turning, with a long glass frontage beckoning you inside the whitewashed and coolly chic interior. The light room is enhanced with shiny surfaces and pops of colour from the ceramic planters and the vertical green wall at the entrance.

The three suppliers each have their own distinct section highlighted by neon signs. Coffee of course comes from Coffee Supreme and how can you avoid a coffee machine that instructs you to ‘Get Some’.

like minded projects

like minded projects

If you’re after food then Fred Gets  supplies vegetarian salads, open sandwiches, juices, muesli and other gluten-free dishes.

like minded projects

 

like minded projects

Just load up an enamel bowl ($11.50 for large), get a squirt of your housemade dressing on top and draw up a stool by the expansive people-watching window.

For lunch I chose half-and-half of two healthy salads, two croquettes and a fritter. The just-toasted croquettes were surprisingly fluffy though with the amount of salad I had I could have just had one. The fritter was on the dry side and I’d do without next time.

like minded projects

For dessert I browsed Ace’s raw cookie collection and must admit I didn’t particularly enjoy my taste test. My small morsel was tack-hard and rather dry – basically, what I’d expect a cookie without butter to taste like. On the Ace side is also a stock of coconut-based ice-creams by Zebra Dream which I’ve enjoyed before. I recommend his mint choc chip!

For sweets I steer you instead towards the brass-trimmed cabinet filled with healthy treats from Pana Chocolate, a raw chocolate and dessert retailer in Richmond. I liked the humorous references in all their dessert names – twists on well-known chocolate bars and sweets!

like minded projects

What makes raw desserts different to your bog-standard Snickers bar, for instance, is that a small morsel really fills you up. After my lunch I thought I’d like to try a couple of the sweets from the cabinet as I couldn’t decide, but after my modestly sized Vespa Wheel (their take on the Wagon Wheel) I simply couldn’t eat any more.

like minded projects

I took some of the desserts home as I was assured that they would freeze well. Over the course of a few days I nibbled on various sweets and I concluded that my favourite was the raw lamington. With other items I found either the texture wasn’t quite right or the raw chocolate was too rich for me.

I like that the food at Like Minded Projects is wholesome but it’s provided with a sense of humour. Along with the uber-stylish space, the cafe is one pretty package for advertising the virtues of clean-eating.

Like Minded Projects, 41-49 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Mon-Fri 7am-5pm

Sat-Sun 9am-5pm

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HOT: Il Melograno, 76 High Street, Northcote


SONY DSC

I am a gelato snob. Nothing gives me more joy in a gelateria than seeing a row of gleaming metal pozzetti tubs – because it’s the best indication of good quality gelati without actually tasting it. As soon as I walked into Il Melograno (‘The Pomegranate Tree) in Northcote I knew that I was in for a treat.

il melograno

Gelati made the traditional way contains real fruit and nuts, high quality cream and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. It disintegrates quickly and the metal containers help preserve the gelato in its best condition. An Australian gelateria that takes the time and expense to import pozzetti from Italy cares greatly about the quality of its product. And they’ve imported a Sicilian gelato maker to boot!

il melograno

I tried the pure milk fior di latte, the vibrant pink strawberry with crushed pips still evident and the exotic sounding Iranian pistachio and hazelnut, nubbly with crushed nuts. They were all fresh-tasting and had a fluffy lightness in texture that comes with being just-churned. Plus you can even eat the cups!

The gelati was so good I knew I wanted more of it…but I thought I’d probably better have lunch.

il melograno

I found a sunny nook in their narrow Italianate courtyard, complete with a lemon tree, and settled down in inspect their mostly Italian inspired breakfast and lunch menu.

il melograno

The sandwiches come on super-crusty loaves and traditional fillings such as melt-in-the-mouth San Daniele proscuitto, buffalo mozzarella, tomato and rocket ($14).

il melograno

I also tried a bowl of their hand-rolled fusilli, thin cigarillos capturing a creamy sauce of swiss brown mushrooms, pancetta and rocket ($17).

il melograno

For dessert instead of gelato again I compromised with the oven-baked pancake which came with a dollop of gelato. This was a rather dense and wet cake and while flavoursome probably not one of the better whole-pan style hot cakes I’ve had in terms of texture.

il melograno

If you’re still in the mood for sweets then a family friend of the owner makes all the authentic Italian cakes and pastries on the counter top. The coffee comes from the wood bean roaster housed inside a glass room.

Il Melograno is the perfect Italian pit-stop enroute to Westgarth Cinema but it’s so good that it’s worth a special trip. It’s one of my Top 10 places to enjoy gelato in Melbourne, check out the rest of the list.

Il Melograno, 76 High Street, Northcote, 9482 2092

Tue to Sun 11am–10.30pm

Il Melograno on Urbanspoon