Say bonjour to a spell-binding gateaux range guaranteed to stretch the dessert-loving du jour à la nuit.
Popping up most unexpectedly on a CBD street more commonly frequented by raucous theatre-goers or local Chinese citizens popping out of a myriad of cheap and cheerful eateries, L’apres Midi is a new French-style patisserie. Peeking through a glass windowed frontage, one doesn’t see much — a bright white neon sign spelling out the shop’s name and a black black black wall. Stroll inside, and behold, a glaringly colourful, meticulous cake display guaranteed to make your eyes boggle and your blood scream for sugar. L’apres Midi caters equally for sweet fiends eager for a take-away option, as well as for a sit-down rendezvous in an adjacent red retro lounge area.
The beautiful things from L’apres Midi are packaged in some of the most fabulous parcels of any patisserie in Melbourne — sturdy black boxes are embossed with a silver foil cameo and open like mini treasure chests. Cakes are reasonably priced, at the mid-range of around $7-$8.50 a piece. Having visited a number of times to sample most of the cakes on offer, we feature our top picks below.
The columnal cakes are L’apres Midi’s forte. The signature cake is known as the “L’apres Midi” ($9.00), an indulgent chocolate log with chocolate ganache alternately layered with a creamy chocolate mousse before ending in a feuilletine base.
Don’t however miss the “Praline Passion” ($8.50), a creation layered with milk chocolate, passionfruit, coconut and hazelnut. The cake base is a touch wet, arguably under-cooked, though.
The “Vanilla Berry” ($8.50) is a perfect summer treat, and one of MoMo & Coco’s favourite cakes from L’apres Midi. Almond joconde, raspberry gelee, and a gelatin mousse layer studded with a trio of plump berries.
The “Millefeuille” ($7.00) at L’apres Midi is constructed in a contemporary manner — crispy pastry are cut into laser thin slices, layered most carefully in a stack, and sandwiches a pillowy bed of vanilla cream droplets.
The “Tiramisu” ($8.50) is a little duller in comparison. The coffee-flavoured component ought to be more pronounced.
Special mention to the Eclairs ($7.00). They replaced the typical vanilla custard cream centers for chocolate ganache or other flavoured cream to correspond with the eclair flavour chosen. It makes for a more powerful flavour experience, certainly. Pictured below are the “Pistachio Eclair” and the “Chocolate Eclair.”
Special mention also to the Strawberry Cheesecake ($8.50), which was a recommendation by one of L’apres Midi’s staff members. Far from the sometimes heavy New York or Continental cheesecake style, it reminded us of the Chinoiserie version of cheesecakes found in East Asia. This one was a particular delight. An exceedingly light but still creamy texture imparting subtle but true tones of strawberry. The cheesecake is layered on a cake base, and also comes accompanied with a pipette squirter of strawberry puree. A must-eat.
We will quickly mention that L’apres Midi does offer macarons ($3 each), but they did not find favour with us. In fact, they didn’t last half a day from the time of purchase, disintegrating into a sticky, lurid mess. Such a pity. It might have just been that batch that we bought, but we would recommend skipping the macarons and focusing your attention on the cakes.
L’apres Midi also offers little savoury bites for $4-$6 a piece, thus an ideal way to start or round-off a decadent afternoon tea. As a patisserie first and foremost though, be forewarned that the savoury bites are by comparison, underwhelming.
Notwithstanding that it is a relative newcomer, L’apres Midi clearly has a working patisserie repertoire. We love it especially because its sweet things suits all different tastes, rather than merely and only focusing on the mousse cakes that are all the rage at new patisseries such as Chez Dre and Burch & Purchese. Sugar we love, but gelatin just leaves a bad taste in our mouths. The western end of the CBD has long satisfied itself with the likes of Le Petit Gateau, and the central end with the more tourist-focused Laurent and Brunetti. For the eastern end of Melbourne’s CBD, say bonjour to L’apres Midi, a little wonderland of delightful cakes.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: L’apres Midi Patisserie, 169 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD, Vic 3000.
- ☑ Budget: $
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Cake.
- ☑ Must-eat: Vanilla Berry and Strawberry Cheesecake cake log.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Say bonjour to a little wonderland with a spell-binding gateaux range guaranteed to stretch the dessert-loving from jour à la nuit.