Burch and Purchese had been high on my to do list (or to taste list) for quite sometime. Darren Purchese had previously been featured in Masterchef Australia and B&P’s dessert combinations are one of most enticing and creative desserts in Australia.
Finally I found time to travel to South Yarra to take a look-see, and was surprised at how close it was (near the Como Building) and was so closeby to my old high school.
Being someone who just has to try a bit of everything, and especially if there is nuts involved. We had to pick up this Peanut, Raspberry, Caramel and Chocolate dessert. Layered with peanut chocolate brownie, chocolate wafer, roasted peanut cream, raspberry compote, salted caramel, peanut
butter mousse and raspberry jelly. Raspberry and peanuts isn’t a combination I’ve tried before, and let me tell you it’s amazing. I love the nuttiness, with the tart raspberries and that rich and delectable salted caramel. Yum! This dessert also comes in a cake which will be my next
Layered with raspberry cream, raspberry marshmallows, raspberry compote, choc chip cookie crumb base, raspberry & milk chocolate mousse and chocolate popping candy. It has become one of my favourites. That choc chip cookie crumb base is incredibly delicious and again the light chocolate mousse with the tart raspberry flavour works well together and then you get this little popping on your tongue. Memorable for sure.
Now I see why B&P is held in such high regard. You can also definitely see the amount of work that goes into making one of these desserts with so many layers and I would assume a plentiful of processes before it’s complete. B&P was well worth the trip down, and my only regret was not trying it sooner!
Anyone who has ever watched Masterchef would probably know of the name Zumbo. Known for his intricate and complex desserts and in particular the V8 cake and the Zumbo Macarons Tower, he has certainly made a name for himself all across Australia.
Zumbo Patisserie has finally reached Melbourne, and it picks a hot spot too in South Yarra. Conveniently located minutes walk from the South Yarra railway station and in between newly develop(ing) apartments and Toorak Road. South Yarra has become the dessert place to be with the likes of LuxBite and Burch & Purchese.
The Zumbo store is smaller than I expected, and yet they manage to showcase a variety of their larger cakes, mini cakes and desserts, macarons and pastries.
From top left: V8 (8″), Apple Fields (8″), Non Che Nudo Ka, Lemon Meringue, Secret Carrot’s Business
From bottom left: V8 (6″), Dr Dot, Apple Fields (6″)
From left: Orange & Coconut, Decorated Fondant, Mylo Sacher Cyrus, Capsicum & Peanut
From left: (Minis) Dr Dot, Secret Carrot’s Business, The Annoying Orange Cake, Non Che Nudo Ka
From left: Lemon Meringue Tart, Tart Aux Fruits De La Passion
Macaron Flavours on the day (Subject to change): Pandan & Sticky Rice Pudding, Yoghurt & Passionfruit, Francesco Brownie, Salted Butter Caramel Toast, Toasted Marshmallow, Ghana Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Pancake, Caramel, Apple Pie, Fingerbun, Passionfruit & Basil, Meat Pie (Movember)
During November, all the Macaron boxes were in support for Movember as well as the very interesting Meat Pie which I didn’t have a chance to try.
Assortment of pastries and the Zonuts
I managed to (barely) bring back a few cakes and macarons. You can see they are a little bit travelled. We have here the Annoying Orange Cake, Apple Fields and Dr Dot as well as the macarons with the flavours listed below.
From left to right we have Apple Pie, Salted butter caramel on toast, Salted butter popcorn, Blueberry pancake, Fingerbun (fruit bread like), Pandan & sticky rice.
The Pandan & sticky rice macarons was something I was very keen to try. I found the pandan flavour to be too mild, very subtle. The texture of the slightly hard sticky rice makes it interesting to eat but with the pandan flavour lacking it didn’t really work as well as I hoped it would. It also goes without saying for all the six macarons that the shells are some of the best in Melbourne. Just enough bite to shell and still moist with the almond meal inside but not too much air in the shells’.
The Salted butter caramel on toast was also superb, the salty caramel filling that is just salted enough to complement the sweetness of the caramel and the slightly viscous nature of the caramel both sticky yet still retaining enough bite was just perfection.
Salted butter popcorn was, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown. You can see it very much looks like popcorn, but the flavour of the filling just tasted like whipped butter. The flavour of just popped buttered popcorn was almost non existent.
The Apple Pie was quite the delight to eat, packed full of flavour in the filling. It really does remind you of eating a apple danish of some sort. Excellent in every way, the freshness of the apple filling really makes it top notch.
The Fingerbun wasn’t something I was very familiar with but after trying this it definitely reminded me of a fruit cake. I checked what the Fingerbuns were and my assessment of what it was (sweet bread with sultanas and icing) seemed to be roughly on point. Flavourwise, I liked it but not being much of a fruit cake/bread fan it’s not something I’d immediately order again.
Lucky last was the Blueberry pancake macaron. Again, a milder tasting blueberry flavour but enough sweetness and slightly tart.
Overall the macarons I found weren’t overly sweet but with macarons they are basically packed full of sugar so that’s expected.
The annoying orange cake is made of flourless chocolate cake, orange caramel, olive sable, chocolate & clove mousse, orange & white chocolate jam. It reminded me of the Jaffa lollies because of the chocolate and oranges. The chocolate cake was very light and the orange flavoured caramel, and jam complemented the cake well. The orange zest also gave it a boost of orange which I found to be very pleasant on the palette.
The Apple Fields cake made of malt shortbread, sunflower praline crunch, honey cremeaux,sunflower chiffon cake, roasted apple jelly compote, apple mousse, was delicious. The apple flavour just oozed out of the compote (jelly) along with the mousse. Very distinct layers all complementing each other well, with none overpowering one over the other. Soft, sweet and bursting full of apples. Lovely
The Dr. Dot is made of chocolate sable, white nougat, roasted cocoa hib, creme brulee, raspberry vinegar jelly, gianduja mousse, dark chocolate glaze all in their distinct layers surrounded by the mousse and glaze. I absolutely adored this cake, probably because of the chocolate and raspberry working stupendously well together. I love a good raspberry jelly and this was one of them. Smooth but still retaining the essence and texture of raspberries and the nutty nougat gives it a bit of crunch. I thought it had hazelnut flavour in it too, but that seems not to be the case. The mousse is super smooth and ridiculously light. Even looking at the photos again makes me want to taste it again.
Although the impressions of many Melburnians seemed to have mixed feelings about the quality of the food here, I still think it has earned its place. Not everything hits the mark, and the prices lean on the more expensive side of things but for special occasions I think it’s reasonable.
The very complex V8 cakes were surprisingly expensive but after much thought realised of how much work would go into these cakes (the 6″ is $70, 8″ is $125) with all the different layers.
LuxBite and Le Petit Gateau does cakes and macarons well as well and I found them to be on average cheaper for what you get. More variety of patisseries the better I’d say though!
12 -14 Claremont St
South Yarra VIC 3141
A La Bouffe on Toorak Rd, South Yarra is one of the many French restaurants around these parts of town. I was trying to pick a good one for a special occasion and was deciding between France Soir and A La Bouffe but saw a string of negative comments surrounding France Soir lately. Not particularly due to the food itself but the service being subpar. With A La Bouffe also offering a Lunch Specials menu where you can order two courses (a pick of Entrees, Mains and Desserts) for $27 or $35 with a glass of wine and coffee it seemed too good to pass up.
A La Bouffe is a small, stylish restaurant that feels cosy yet sophisticated. Their menu is extensive and although the lunch specials menu opts for a smaller selection from their menu, it offers a diverse range of meals to cater to all.
Feeling a bit lucky we ordered the Soup Of The Day (Soupe Du Jour), on the Sunday that we dined on they served an Asparagus Soup. Creamy, but more so subtle taste of asparagus that lingers on the tongue. A pleasant soup, and with a sprinkling of black pepper it makes it pop. The asparagus pieces still have some bite to them which adds texture. Some may prefer it to have a bit more salt seasoning on it, but I find that sometimes withholding salt makes for a very nice starter.
The Huîtres de Coffin Bay aka 3 Natural Oysters from Coffin Bay was fresh, and tasted like the sea. What appears to be a vinaigrette of some sort or a balsamic vinegar in the little cup isn’t something I’ve tried with oysters before. Interesting taste with it but probably wouldn’t do that again.
The Saumon De Tasmanie or otherwise known as Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Potatoes & Pesto Vinaigrette was a lovely main course. I adore Pesto, it’s a fantastic marinade, flavouring, sauce etc because it’s just so fresh and having it with salmon always goes down a treat. The slight downside to the dish was I found the salmon to be a bit overdone, it was cooked all the way through. I definitely prefer my salmon to be a bit undercooked so the inside can slowly cook whilst you’re eating and then it won’t taste as dry. On the bright side, the salmon skin was extra crispy which was lovely. A fresh dish that was unfortunately let down by the salmon.
A La Bouffe’s Hachis Parmentier (French Sheppard Pie) comes out straight from the oven, steaming hot with a side of salad. I couldn’t quite tell what’s the difference from an English Sheppard’s Pie or any other countries version. The fluffiness of the mash potatoes was certainly the highlight, along with the cheesy top. The mince meat deep inside was flavourful, maybe a tad under salted (a bit of pepper would be great too). Very filling I must say.
The waiter recommended the Poulet Basquaise which is basically chicken cooked in a tomato, capsicum and garlic sauce served with a side of pesto mash. The tomato based soup was fantastic, packed full of flavour that worked so well with the chicken. I could really have that sauce on anything it was so good. Again, unfortunately it has a big downside, the chicken was definitely overcooked. I know sometimes restaurants like to be safer than sorry and especially with poultry but I don’t remember a time when I’ve ordered a piece of chicken that had been so dry. Luckily they were generous with the sauce as it was definitely needed to complement the chicken but it really shouldn’t happen in a place like this.
The pesto mash was stunning. Creamy, buttery and that pesto flavour just exploding in your mouth. A mash that I would like to find a recipe of because it was cooked to perfection.
For dessert we ordered the Crème Brûlée A L’orange & Cointreau. Translation, Crème Brûlée with orange and Cointreau that is torched on your table for that extra effect. For $15, it’s asking for a lot but it feels worth its price. The custard base is so silky smooth and creamy with the hint of orange flavour and the nice crunchy sugar topping gives it a nice crunch. One of the best Crème Brûlée’s I’ve tried but that’s not really saying much as I haven’t ordered that many before!
A La Bouffe’s dishes are tasty and might be worth it’s price for the lunch specials. Points are knocked off for the overcooked salmon and chicken. I could overlook one overcooked dish but two were definitely way over which was a bit disappointing. I’d like to say we dined on an off day as many diners have had better experiences that we have had but I really don’t know. The flavours of the dishes are highlights for me. Would I dine again? It’s a maybe for now.
I heard so many good things about LuxBite that I had to force myself (not too hard, obviously) to make my way to their South Yarra location. LuxBite serves primarily sweet desserts and confectionary, but they also serve coffee, breakfast and lunch too! What makes LuxBite slightly different is that they have a slight Asian influenced to some of their desserts, for example one of their macarons has a Kaya filling. Kaya is a Malaysian term for Coconut Jam and homemade Kaya is absolutely delicious.
Their store is quite close by to South Yarra station, so it makes it convenient for those without cars or car-averse.
In the above picture, hopefully you can see their selection of macaron flavours. There are your popular flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut have more interesting flavours like Rose and Ribena Lemonade.
Their store has quite a number of sweet delights to choose from, with many having that French flair ala Elcairs as shown at the bottom of the image.
It was really hard to choose a couple of desserts to try because they have so many on offer! We were still heading towards the city for the day so I couldn’t choose anything that needed to go to the fridge quickly so that helped.
As shown above, we chose the Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron. It’s this plus sized macaron with chunks of hazelnut pieces and a hazelnut and chocolate ganache. I quite enjoyed the macaron, it’s as you would want from a macaron. Crispy, slightly chewy and sweet. The hazelnut flavour of the chocolate and nuts really helped blend everything together. A real treat.
We chose the interesting Lemonade Ribeena and Kaya Toast macarons. The Kaya Toast macaron has kaya as it’s filling. I think it’s homemade, but their kaya was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. I would even have preferred the Kaya jam jars you can buy from an Asian grocer with pandan. Even that jam is less sweet. For those that haven’t tried Kaya before may like it though but for me it lacked the coconut flavour and was way too sweet to be enjoyable.
The Lemonade Ribena on the otherhand was very interesting. It has this cream based lemonade flavour filling but inside there is what I believe (or remember) a small Ribena jelly cube. The Ribena jelly was delicious and made that macaron one of my favourites because it had such a pleasant flavour and was different to things I’ve tried before.
Last on my list was LuxBite’s Lychee Raspberry Macaron. I love all things Lychee too so I couldn’t help to be intrigued by a Lychee and Raspberry Macaron, plus it looked amazing.
Inside this macaron, there is a whole lychee, but the salmon pink filling as you can see in the image was also slightly Lychee flavoured. The combination of the sweetness of Lychee along with the sourness of the icing sugar dusted Raspberries worked a treat. It melded together really well as the freshness of the Raspberries cut through that sweetness of basically everything else. A joy to eat.
LuxBite impresses with its well crafted pieces that look amazing and taste great too. It’s no wonder people keep coming back for more. I really do recommend giving LuxBite a try.
38 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141