Patience is a virtue. Three months into 2013 and our long-awaited overview of Melbourne’s best dessert trends and desserts of 2012 is hereby announced. Here’s a toast to a past year of sugar highs and a new year of saccharine debauchery!
The dessert trends and best desserts of Melbourne 2012
Click on the images or hyperlinked name to direct you to the respective full reviews. Note that we have not yet published reviews on a few venues because we either failed to take photos or because we have recently re-visited and are in the process of updating. Yes terrible, we know. Note also, that this selection of the best new desserts in Melbourne 2012 are drawn from venues which commenced or relaunched operations in 2012 only. For the best new desserts of 2011, see here.
- Popping dessert – Burch & Purchese “Explosive Chocolate Bauble,” Henry & The Fox‘s “Strawberry Pannacotta”
- Savoury dessert – Pei Modern‘s “Caramelised Tomato,” The Bohemian‘s “White Chocolate & Blue Cheese”
- “From a different world” dessert – Circa‘s “Hibiscus Lemon Aspen Pavlova,” sweet baozi becoming mainstream via Chef’s Gallery, BaoNow and WonderBao
- Dessert collaboration – Cioccolato Lombardo & Melbourne Rooftop Honey’s “Bee Box,” LuxBite & Crumbs novelty macarons
- Dessert degustations – Mr Hive‘s dessert bar, Shaun Quade @ Duchess of Spotswood
- Dessert trolleys – MFWF’s Adrian Zumbo Yum Cha-style High Tea, Epocha
- Home-sweet-home cake-oriented cafes – Jam & Cream (review to be published soon), Candied Bakery
- Themed event afternoon teas – Le Style French High Tea
- Most long-awaited dessert opening: Macarons by Josephine
Other Melbourne desserts reviewed in 2012
- Restaurant dining – Huxtable, Henry & The Fox, Hare & Grace, Omah’s, Jamie’s Italian, Xanthi, Chef’s Gallery, Bistro Guillaume, Stokehouse, Mr Hive, Pei Modern, The Bohemian, The Moat, Gramercy Bistro, Albert St, The Sharing House, Trocadero, Sake, Circa The Prince, PM24, Quanjude, David’s, Lim’s Nyona Hut, Claremont Tonic, Ladro, Mama Baba, Lupino.
- Cafes – Three Bags Full, Demetri’s Feast, Auction Rooms, Proud Mary, Babka.
- Specialty sweet boutiques – Phillipa’s, Chocolate Secret, Xocolatl, Sisko, Cafe Creasion, Luxbite, Shocolate, La Tropezienne, Wonderbao, BaoNow, The Whoopie Pie Bakery, Beatrix, Chez Dre, Almost French, Brown’s Bakery, The American Doughnut Van, Movida Bakery.
- Afternoon teas / high teas – The Hotel Windsor’s Boston Tea Party, The Intercontinental’s Honey Rooftop Afternoon Tea, Afternoon Tea with Stephane Bour, Adriano Zumbo Afternoon Tea, Fortnum’s Devonshire Tea, Labassa Manor Mother’s Day High Tea, Le Style L’heure du The, The Langham Hotel Tickled Pink Spring Racing Afternoon Tea.
- Special dessert reviews – Melbourne’s Best Doughnuts, Melbourne’s Best Lemon Tarts, A Guide to Yum Cha Desserts, and a range of Christmas dessert reviews.
How did Melbourne’s dining landscape change in 2012?
In the last month of 2011, we listed a number of aspects of Melbourne’s dining landscape that we would have loved to see go far far away. Have they?
- No bookings policy? We are still queuing for food as our parents/grandparents did for war rations.
- Timed booking policy? Two hour bookings have become mainstream for especially Friday and Saturday evenings…everywhere. This means Antacids for entrees.
- Bistro chairs and industrial décor? Finally, out of favour. However, Melbourne has fallen in love with white-washed Ikea, otherwise known as hospital café décor.
- Bad service? A plague.
- $45++ mains? Has been replaced with baristas charging a similar rate for a 5 minute brew as barristers charge for 5 minute counsels, booking/cancellation fees, stratospheric wine lists, and bar food at restaurant food prices. Notice the trend? Dining venues are evidently taking cues from government practices of pinching pennies.
- Silly labels? “New wave Chinese” used by critics to describe several thousand year old regional Chinese cuisine. Dulce de leche used by restaurants to describe any brown sweet sauce concoction whether authentic DDL or not.
- Celebrity chefs? Virulent. About as enjoyable as white noise.
- Ignorant professional restaurant critics? One can never teach an old dog new tricks.
- Disrespectful bloggers? One can never teach an old dog new tricks.
We also made wishes about what we would have loved to see make a bigger presence in Melbourne. Have any of them come true?
- Return of fine dining? To some extent, a more refined casual dining experience can now be had in many places.
- Return of fine dining a la carte instead of only degustation? Not evident yet.
- The use of non-white plates? With décor shifting to white palettes, plates have gone black and grey.
- Hospitable service? As rare as Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott making good policy.
- Introduction of dessert bars/degustations? BOOM! We would love to see/visit more, but asking prices are soaring towards the $100 mark per person. Compared to overseas dessert bars, it’s unjustifiable arrogance.
- Thoughtfully executed afternoon teas? Two extremes: exorbitant excellence or mid-priced mediocrity. One reason why we haven’t published a high tea review in some time, despite visiting quite a number.
- The evolution of BRIC cuisine? South American-inspired ventures continue to impress, those dipping toes into China are more aspirational than inspirational, and Russian/Eastern European and India continue to be overlooked.
- The amalgamation of food trucks into a centre? Yes, it happened several times. Next up, dessert van please!
- Experimenting with Australia? Incidental patriotism only, with a more pronounced leaning towards the Americas (North and South) and an embrace of Scandinavian modernity/foraging style in 2012.
We hope that you will continue to join us on our sweet irresistible adventures in 2013.
Dessert Correspondents, MoMo & Coco