Where: 19 Keilor Road, Essendon, Victoria
When: 02.05.12; once in 2011.
This little French bakery first caught our eyes as we went by on the route 59 tram, and it's easy to see why. It's hard not to be enticed by the fresh white tables and chairs on the footpath, the old-style bicycle complete with a baguette in its basket, and most importantly, the luscious array of cakes on display in the window. Our first visit here in 2011 was flying, but I got to sample their famous almond croissant, which lives up to its well-deserved hype. It was buttery and sweet with just a little crunch on the outside, and incredibly fresh. I don't usually rave about sweets, but this is an exception. Anyway, I digress. We came here more recently for a sit-in afternoon snack, and it certainly delivered. Unfortunately, the Patisserie doesn't appear to have a website, so I'm not sure of the prices, but it was certainly reasonable for the quality of our food!
I'm always a sucker for fruit tarts, but they can so often be flawed - too much pastry and sickly custard are the main culprits. Thankfully, there was none of that in sight here. The pastry case was just right - thick enough to be substantial but thin enough not to overpower the filling. The custard was wonderful, delicate and sweet with vanilla, and not at all sickly. The strawberries on top were fresh and perfectly arranged. Another bonus point was that the top of the tart wasn't covered in the awful jelly-like glaze that commercial cake companies seem to be so fond of. The presentation was perfect, I could hardly fault it.
I had my usual mocha, which was perfectly good but nothing mindblowing. It was somewhat overshadowed by Ax's hot chocolate, which I shall come to soon...
Ax had the jam doughnut, and he polished it off so quickly that I barely had time for a bite, which I think is an endorsement in itself! I managed a quick nibble though, and found it was an exceptional doughnut. The dough was just perfect - slightly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and so fresh. The jam was of high quality too, not like the hyper-processed stuff you sometimes find in commercial doughnuts.
This hot chocolate was the star of the show! I've never seen anything quite like this. It came out on a silver tray in an enormous mug, with a small bowl of chocolate melts on the side. The drink was lovely and rich even without the addition of the chocolate melts, but stirring them in transformed the drink into something truly decadent. Unfortunately, Ax had to drink it very quickly due to being late for an appointment, but I don't think his enjoyment was too marred by this. The way I see it, it's an opportunity to come back as soon as possible!