HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 8 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Brunswick Street Fitzroy is saturated with eateries, but it’s only till recently that it’s gotten its own wine and cheese bar. Bienvenue Shifty Chevre!

The French-themed cheese haven opened late last year but only recently got its liquor licence. The licence means it can now serve cheese with its natural partner, wine, and they have started opening evenings. I was invited to sample their dinner menu.

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 3 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Shifty Chevre has been opened by three young friends who decided to build a bar entirely based around cheese and make it the key ingredient to everything on the menu. The front counter displays a rotating selection of around 25 local and imported cheese, with the best-selling being brie. They also stock crackers, pastes, and cheese accessories (who knew a Jesus Grater existed?)

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 2 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

What they’ve built is a country-chic eatery in what used to be a clothing store. The natural tones, dim lighting, comfy couches and cute courtyard are an extension of your favourite friend’s home.

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 6 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

In summer you can order a cheese takeaway box and take it for a picnic at nearby Edinburgh Gardens. But personally I think the winter is the more perfect time to visit Shifty Chevre because everything on the menu is based cheese that’s been baked, grilled or melted (there’s no stove in the small kitchen).

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 4 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

They even have a raclette on the menu, an item I haven’t eaten since visiting the French Alps. If you love cheese then this a must-try dish! Melt the oozy cheese over charcuterie, potatoes and bread and you’ll be set for the night.

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 5 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

The tartiflette, another Savoie dish I haven’t seen in a while, comes bubbling out of its ramekin. This comforting combination of baked potato, onion and bacon dish with melted French cheese will warm you from the inside out.

Sadly I didn’t have room for dessert but I’m told the tiramisu is excellent. Other sweet options include a cheesecake and pannacotta.

Just one last mention of the stunning bathrooms. It’s one of the few times I’ve taken my camera to the loo because this changing room transformed into goat mural/fernery has to be seen to be believed!

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 7 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Shifty Chevre will be the stuff of my (cheese) dreams this winter. Who am I to dis a brie?

Shifty Chevre 375 Brunswick St Fitzroy 1 HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 0423 694 763

Wed    12pm – 11pm

Thu – Fri 12pm – late

Sat        9am – late

Sun       9am – 11pm

minilink HOT: Shifty Chevre, 375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

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: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

Le Jolie 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 10 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 9 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 8 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 3 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 6 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 2 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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 438 Gaffney St Pascoe Vale 11 HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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        
minilink HOT: Le Jolie, 438 Gaffney St, Pascoe Vale

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: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

Persillade 150 Wellington Parade East Melbourne 1 HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

Despite its proximity to the CBD, Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood, East Melbourne is a bit of a never-never land when it comes to dining out. Persillade will challenge your preconceptions about skipping past East Melbourne when looking for good food.

Persillade 150 Wellington Parade East Melbourne 3 HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

Housed underneath an apartment building, this smart bistro and cave a manger (wine shop with food) offers all day dining, 7 days a week. Their wine bar provenance is emphasised by the empty wine bottles acting as pendant lights over the high communal table. The overall look is streamlined and neat while being comfortable.

Persillade 150 Wellington Parade East Melbourne 6 HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

I’ve tried Persillade‘s breakfast and lunch dishes  to great satisfaction and peeking at the dinner menu I’m pretty certain that the same high quality would be maintained.

Persillade 150 Wellington Parade East Melbourne 4 HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

The daytime menu is split into breakfast and lunch but you can in fact order a lunch dish at breakfast and vice versa. Ostensibly French in focus, I don’t see much of a French influence on the menu, but no matter. I’m very happy with my crispy round of jasmine rice hash, chunks of smoked trout, tangy kimchi and softly yielding 63 degree egg ($18).

Persillade 150 Wellington Parade East Melbourne 2 HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

From the lunch menu I try the bbq lamb ribs, sweet bell peppers with a fresh and zesty corn salsa and a slice of sweet spongy corn bread ($26). The ribs come in a hunk drizzled with a barbecue sauce that’s full of smoke and fire and not sweet at all (my pet hate with barbecue sauce). There’s also a puddle of creamy garlic aioli to smooth out the spiciness, while the salsa lends lightness to an otherwise heavy combination of ingredients. The balance is just masterful.

Persillade 150 Wellington Parade East Melbourne 5 HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

For dessert I try the lemon posset, a rainbow fruit salad and biscuit crumbs ($14). It is creamy, light and cooling but I’m not wowed by it. My savoury dishes have set such a high standard that it’s hard to beat.

Persillade is the perfect neighbourhood eatery, with a clever and interesting menu all day and friendly staff who will welcome munchkins with a kids menu. But even if you’re not a resident of East Melbourne its a cafe/restaurant that’s worth the travel.

Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne (03) 9078 4056

Mon 7am–4pm

Tues to Fri 7am–10pm

Sat 8am–10pm

Sun 8am–3pm

minilink HOT: Persillade, 150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne




HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

Brother Nancy 182 Essex St West Footscray 2 HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

Hidden deep within residential West Footscray is a small cafe called Brother Nancy.

Owner Leigh is a WeFo local who was travelling east for work. With a two year old and another child on the way, he decided for lifestyle reasons that he needed to work closer to home. Plus he knew that the area needed a cafe like Brother Nancy.

Brother Nancy 182 Essex St West Footscray 4 HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

This location, formerly a butcher, fish and chip shop and lately a tax office, has been completely stripped and rebuilt by Leigh . He made the benches, he made the tables, he made the shelves. He even installed the new kitchen.

Brother Nancy 182 Essex St West Footscray 6 HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

Leigh’s brother isn’t actually called Nancy (he’s Jason) but the name of the cafe is a charming, kid-brother ribbing of his sibling. I love it!

The menu is small and surprising. Firstly everything is under $16. This is a town where I fully expect to pay close to $20 for a cafe-quality dish.

The classically-trained chef Jordi Boyer is French so there are some slight French leanings in the menu. For instance, for breakfast you can order a savoury crepe with mushrooms spinach, cheese and bechamel ($10.50), a French breakfast of poached eggs, spinach and hollandaise on sourdough ($12.50) or a Chapin breakfast of pan fried plantains, scrambled eggs, cheese and black beans on sourdough (the most expensive item on the menu at $16).

The lunch menu is headed ‘midday’ but I was able to order from it at 11am – so maybe it’s available all day? There’s a fish and chip burger ($14.50), gazpacho ($9) and even steak tartare. I don’t think anyone expects to see minced raw meat in a suburban cafe menu but the Brother Nancy version is quickly becoming a signature dish according to Leigh. One customer even drove all the way from Balwyn to try it!

Brother Nancy 182 Essex St West Footscray 1 HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

I ordered the grilled sardines on toasted sourdough with black olive tapenade and marinated capsicum ($13.50). Lots of sunny, salty Mediterranean flavours shone through the dish, with a cool sluice of tomato, watermelon and capsicum summer soup for some palate contrast. The only element I wasn’t expecting were the cold sardines. I emphasise that the lightly fried then brined sardines weren’t bad – it was more that I was expecting freshly fan-fried fish as you see in other cafes.

Brother Nancy 182 Essex St West Footscray 5 HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

For dessert I had the French toast. It was a delightful arrangement of eggy sourdough toast, fresh berries and berry jam, a dollop of vanilla creme fraiche and a sprinkling of pistachios. And the price? A measly $12.

Brother Nancy 182 Essex St West Footscray 3 HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

To go with your tea (leaves from Tea Drop) or coffee (beans from Proud Mary) try one of the house made sweets. On my visit the chef had made individual tart tatins and an apple and almond tart, but my heart was sold to the chocolate chip cookies made by Leigh’s wife ($3). The perfect thing for nibbling on my cycle ride home!

Brother Nancy is a really welcome addition to a relatively cafe-starved neighbourhood. It’s clearly a labour of love for Leigh and his family too and I’m always drawn towards ventures where the passion and enthusiasm of the owners are evident in everything you see, touch and eat. A bientot, Brother Nancy!

Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

Mon, Wed – Sun 7am-4:30pm

minilink HOT: Brother Nancy, 182 Essex St, West Footscray

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: 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

HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd Essendon 1 HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie is a slice of French deliciousness wedged in an unlikely pocket of suburban Essendon.

The cosy two room shop is simply decked out in French provincial white with a few French artworks and fresh flowers. Today you won’t be able to miss it because the flags are out for Bastille Day! And the staff are decked out in cute Breton stripes and berets.

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd Essendon 6 HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

Given I have no personal or professional affiliation with France, for me celebrating Bastille Day is just an excuse to eat pastry. Parisian is more patisserie than boulangerie (I couldn’t see any loaves for sale other than brioche) which means there is lots to tempt a sweet tooth. All the pastries are baked fresh daily on site.

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd Essendon 2 HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

They have no hot menu so for savouries I chose a cheese brioche ($5.90). It was a cheese scroll fancied up with not one, not two, but three cheeses melted between layers of swirling soft brioche.

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd Essendon 4 HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

I also tried an almond croissant which was not as flaky as their plain croissants ($3.90) but they sandwich a large amount of sweet almond filling in its buttery, almost cakey centre. The heavier brioche base is apparently more authentic for almond croissants but personally I like my croissants as light as light can be.

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd Essendon 3 HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

The tricolore macarons ($2.50) are available today only and were excellent quality – no chewy bits, no air pockets, the right proportion of biscuit to ganache.

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd Essendon 5 HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

And if you have room don’t miss the chocolate eclair, a fat tube of choux pastry dissected by some silken vanilla creme patisserie and topped with chocolate and dried raspberries. Parfait!

Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon (03) 9379 3815

Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sat: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

minilink HOT: Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 19 Keilor Rd, Essendon

HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne


Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 3 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

I feel that everything that needs to be said about three-hat Vue de Monde has already been said.

So instead of describing at length each of the ten courses of the degustation at one of Australia’s best restaurants (and having to take notes during my lunch), today I’m going to leave you with a photo essay of what the full Vue de Monde experience looks like.

First off, the view at 55 floors.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 2 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

The restaurant itself is quite casual for a fine-dining establishment. They use quietly expensive crockery, furniture and artwork in the space but it’s not in any way intimidating. Plus the staff are professional and friendly without being snooty. Sometimes the kitchen staff present the dishes they have made, complete in aprons and clogs, which I think is a particularly lovely touch.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 5 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

One of Vue de Monde‘s signature cocktails is their version of the Old Fashioned, using Leatherwood honey. An Old Fashioned may have become a bit of cliche with the advent of Mad Men, but when it comes served with a huge ball of ice (so it doesn’t melt as quickly) in a cut crystal tumbler then you know it’s high end. Just be aware it costs $25!

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 14 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

The restaurant has a whole ‘classy cave man’ theme happening which means the tables are covered in kangaroo hide, some of the chairs have (faux?) fur backs and food is sometimes presented on rocks and sticks which brings to mind scenes of a Neanderthal bonfire. It may be considered gimmicky but I don’t mind of a bit of theatre when it’s backed up by incredible attention to detail in the food.

First up on the rocks – carrot (some poor sod had to fashion these to look like twigs?), smoked eel, white chocolate and caviar, salt cured wallaby and Truffle marshmallow (not pictured).

 

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 21 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 24 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 22 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne
King prawn (including the crispy head), seaweed salted duck yolk and some wasabi snow spooned over the top at the last moment.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 27 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne
Melbourne onion soup – the liquid was siphoned through a coffee filter and poured over roasted and pickled onions.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 8 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 25 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

A perfect sous vide marron, sweetbread, lamb floss.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 16 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

The butter for the bread arrives with almost ridiculous ceremony – spooned out from a huge tub of imported Beurre Echire.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 9 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Duck yolk, pear circlets, truffle and crispy saltbush leaves.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 26 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne
An interactive palate cleanser of wood sorrel doused in cloudy liquid nitrogen and crushed to a powder with your pestle. A spoon of cucumber sorbet was then added on top.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 10 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 17 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne
A juicy fillet of barramundi with nettle puree and young garlic.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 20 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Flinders Island lamb, olive, Australian anchovies, mustard

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 18 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Blackmore Wagyu, smoked bone marrow, saltbush

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 12 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

After seven savoury courses you can choose to have three desserts or an assortment of cheeses, bread and jams plus two desserts. The wooden cheese trolley is a large structure which is quite a sight to behold.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 11 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne
My alternative dessert was of buttermilk, malt cream, hay.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 15 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Rhubarb, white chocolate, coffee

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 23 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

A Vue de Monde classic – the most perfect chocolate soufflé I’ve ever had in terms of consistency of texture. This shows off the kitchen’s classic French techniques to perfection.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 19 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

If you make a booking for the first lunch sitting at midday then be aware that you’ll need to vacate your table for the second sitting at 2:30pm. The transition is impressively smooth and well-organised – there’s no unceremonious shunting you out the door but instead they set you up at the bar (with a glorious window view) to enjoy your selection of petit-fours at your leisure.

The petit fours were all ‘Australiana’ inspired – miniature chocolate mousse lamingtons, chocolate pippi shells, bourbon jellies shaped like two-up coins and eucalyptus ice cream balls.

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 6 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

And to extend your Vue de Monde experience you go home with a goodie bag of brioche, honey, tea, cookies and granola for the morning after!

Vue De Monde Level 55 Rialto 525 Collins St Melbourne 4 HOT: Vue De Monde, Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne

Vue de Monde offers some of the most inventive and decadent dining in Australia. At $250 a head for the ten course degustation it is certainly a special occasion restaurant – but if you appreciate artistry in food and wine in stunning surroundings then save your pennies and book ahead.