A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
A hedonistic, hyped sugar land, bypass the macarons but not the cake-desserts.
The first of a new generation of contemporary patisseries that have recently launched in Melbourne in the last two years or so, Luxbite opened in late 2010 to rave rave rave. A refuge from the humdrum of South Yarra, it’s housed in a small space possessing a minimalist white aesthetic with occasional blobs of popping primary colours.
Beyond the compact white tables and chairs, one does not know where to look first — the partly concealed kitchen with pastry chefs toiling away but always chatting and laughing, or the show-stopping counter display exhibiting round discs of intensely neon-coloured macarons, or a mirrored cabinet illuminating technicolour cakes lined up like legions of sentinels on a march to death by sugar. Is there any better way to go?
Take MoMo & Coco’s advice and bypass the macarons that have been written about and talked about ad nauseum. Yes, interesting flavours may be found — the likes that fascinate because they are different, Creme Brulee, Kaya Toast, Pandan, P&J, Oolong Tea — but unfortunately, they are thwarted by great inconsistencies. Too soggy and sticky in texture on more than one occasion, too dry and crunchy on another, and almost always sugar overpowering flavour, overwhelmingly saccharine even for the insatiable sweet tooths writing this dessert-only journal-blog. Ah the pity…
Bypass the macarons but don’t bypass, MoMo & Coco besiege you, the cakes at Luxbite. Over a number of visits, MoMo & Coco have sampled the full repertoire of Luxbite’s cake range, of which we shall photograph and describe a little below. No boring traditional cakes, no mousse-only things.
For pret-a-porter, LuxBite’s goodies come packaged in a sturdy, white hand-carry-able box that can fit up to four sweet goodies at one time. No extra charge unlike some other parsimonious patisseries/specialty sweet boutiques (see eg here).
Let’s start simple and sweet. The Caramel Cravings ($7.50) is a nicely sculpted rectangular brick of…sugar — the caramel centre is fudge-like and requires less sugar and more burn. It sits on a splendid lightly-infused coconut biscuit base, spread over with a luscious sticky chocolate ganache layer — the two great components of this cake. It’s embellished with two miniature macaron that tend to have too salty an inclination.
Better is the Chocolate Cravings ($7.50), though this too could be much better if less sugar, and/or darker chocolate was used. Special mention to its chocolate orb filled with a silky, strongly salted caramel that is reminiscent of our favourite chocolate bite from London’s Paul A Young. It’s this little orb, rather than the cake itself, that MoMo & Coco have cravings for.
Now, let’s turn to a more artisanal cake. The Stoned Meringue Monster ($8.50) is an absolute work of art, an absolute pleasure to eat. Do not share. We overlook the somewhat overly gelatinous meringue cloak for the striated inside of pistachio sponge, raspberry yoghurt cream and light apricot cream. Flavours that project rather than vaguely whisper. A MoMo & Coco favourite.
For mousse-cake lovers, there’s a recent addition to Luxbite’s cake-dessert range for your consideration. The Chocolate Cherry Mousse ($8.50) is faultless — light yet creamy cherry-flavoured mousse centre blanketed with a chocolate layering. A satisfying classic with a twist.
Where Luxbite’s normal-sized macarons fail, its larger macaron cake-desserts succeeds — their slightly crunchier texture provides the ideal textural counterbalance to the respective sweet, soft components of each macaron cake-dessert. Don’t miss these macaron cake-desserts at Luxbite. First up to show you, the Summer Love ($8.50) — a slightly bubble-gummy-accented watermelon macaron that verged on sickeningly sweet, an issue ameliorated by an addictive filling inflected with discernible tones of green tea, coconut and a refreshing endnote of peppermint. This wrapped around an exquisite centre of hard lychee jelly cubes. Lovely.
Following the macaron theme, the Endless Love ($8.50) seemed liked a copy of a signature Laduree macaron cake-dessert that MoMo & Coco remember sampling some time ago in Paris and London. It’s very pretty, but errs on an overwhelmingly sweet side, with the characteristic tartness of raspberries barely imparted amidst a sugary sugary pinkness.
Arguably the cake-dessert that launched Luxbite’s profile, the Oriental Love ($8.50) seems to be now a seasonally-available creation. It’s a step up from the preceding two macaron cake-desserts because it’s less sugary and more flavoursome. Stumps of banana are well-caramelised, though on our most recent sampling, they were overly mushy. Ooops! They encircle a centre of passionfruit curd shaped liked a solar against a pale green dawn of pandan cream, the latter which flickers with pandan and therefore requires a more powerful flavour infusion. Exotic, usually excellent, could be better.
The Supersized Love ($8.50)…well, it’s truly something. It’s that rare type of dessert that repeatedly, and deservedly, elicits an “OMG.” Sandwiched between two brown meringue discs, a thick fudge chocolate wheel embedded with nuts is consistently blessed with a mellow hazelnut tone that lingers. A MoMo & Coco favourite, we only wish it was bigger because it’s actually about the same size as the other small-ish macaron cake-desserts!
Having captured the hearts of many since opening, Luxbite has confirmed itself — in MoMo & Coco’s opinion also — as a bastion for creative contemporary patisserie work, supported by some of the loveliest service staff that one can hope to experience in Melbourne. Although MoMo & Coco would dissent from the masses and declare that its macarons are not one of the finest iterations available, we do concede that Luxbite is blessed by some very delectable cake-desserts that tease the eyes and tastebuds. They are fine examples of cake artisanship — the best being the Supersized Love, Chocolate Cherry Mousse, and Stoned Meringue Monster cake-desserts. However, on each subsequent sampling, MoMo & Coco have increasing concerns with regards to the seemingly higher-than-usual sugar and food dye content. Mono-dimensional sweetness is not rave-worthy. Reduce the sugar, tone down the colour, project rather than bury the flavours. Only then can Luxbite’s current motto “Eat dessert first” be “Eat Luxbite first.” Luxbite certainly deserves that…to become the hedonistic sugar land bringing dessert-love to many many more sweet tooths.
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: LuxBite, 38 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Vic 3141.
- Budget: $-$$.
- Sweet irresistibles: Cake.
- Must-eat: The “Meringue Monster” mousse-cake.
- The short and sweet story: A hedonistic, hyped sugar land, bypass the macarons but not the cake-desserts.