Dessert Trends in Melbourne – Cakes – Vol. 2

Continuing to trace the evolution of dessert trends in Melbourne.

Last year, we surveyed the evolving landscape of dessert trends in Melbourne (see here, for that previous review).  On a trip back to our hometown earlier this year (just before Covid! :O), we have observed that one of those trends — “mirror glazing” — has gained even more popularity across more and more Melbourne patisseries.  In this review, we feature two other patisseries that have indulged in this trend.  For our long-time followers in Melbourne, we hope you can enjoy these as the current lockdown eases up.  Bon appetit!

Bibelot is the younger sibling of Chez Dre, albeit not quite as hidden and certainly, with a different feel.  With its street-facing shopfront, and black-white monochrome decor, it exudes a more Paris-chic vibe.  Because apples never fall far from their branches though, Bibelot continues its love for mousse-cakes, in the same way as Chez Dre did close to a decade ago when we first visited the latter.  In 2020 however, the mousse-cakes at Bibelot reflect less the powdery or pebbly surface of mousse-cakes from previous years, and more the glistening and boldly-coloured facades typical of the “mirror glazing” patisserie technique.

On our visit, we sampled three of Bibelot’s mousse-cakes.  The first was a burst of sunshine yellow.  In the “Mango, yuzu, coconut dome,” you could discern a caramelized coconut centre, layered with yuzu cream, and surrounded by mango mousse.   The second mousse-cake from Bibelot that we sampled was the rather subtly-flavoured “Jasmine & lychee” — a pale lilac cake with a heart of lychee cream and compote, enveloped with a jasmine tea mousse, and with a teardrop-shaped sake jelly on its surface.  Being the most strongly-flavoured, the third was probably our favourite:  here, the tangy edge of the passionfruit curd and jelly perfectly offset the rich bitterness of the dark chocolate tones in the “Chocolate & passionfruit” mousse-cake.  The “yolk” of passionfruit that sat on the cake’s surface was an eye-catching finishing touch.

Another Melbourne patisserie that is engaging in the “mirror-glazing” trend, is Glace, albeit also with a trompe-l’oeil element too.  Glace has two shopfronts, one in Windsor and one in the CBD.  We visited the CBD venue, and purchased cakes for our home-bound trip.  Please forgive the slightly smashed appearance of some of the cakes, that was due to our clumsiness on the trip home.

Glace’s “Green Apple” was shinier than the usual Granny Smith, and certainly sweeter.  No twang of sourness here – rather, within a white chocolate and vanilla mousse ball, you discover hints of lime, the warm spice of cinnamon and cloves, and apple, of course.  The “Blackforest Cherry” was lovely as well – two spheres with a dark chocolate cake centre, enlivened by cherry kirsch syrup and grigottine jelly.  And the “Raspberry Mushroom” made for a very memorable centrepiece to our afternoon tea dessert platter.  It did not taste like mushroom at all, so don’t fear.  It was instead, comprised of raspberry mousse, lemon mousse, rosewater raspberry cake, and lychee jelly.

Curiously, for all its modernism, NYC — with its predilection for home-style American baking (i.e. huge spongy iced cakes) and stolid Italian and French patisseries trapped in the yesteryear — could learn quite a number of things from the arguably, more dynamic, more creative, Melbourne patisserie scene.

Dessert adventure checklist

  1. ☑ Dessert destinations:
    • Bibelot, 287-287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, Vic 3205.
    • Glace, Level 1 Emporium, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000.  (Also, in Windsor).
  2. ☑ Budget: $-$$.
  3. ☑ Sweet irresistible: Specialty sweet boutique.
  4. ☑ Must-eat: Cakes.
  5. ☑ The short and sweet story: Continuing to trace the evolution of dessert trends in Melbourne.


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