Dessert is having a moment in Brisbane. Across the city, chefs and bakers are saving some of the best of their creativity for the end of the meal, from humble doughnuts to five-course dessert degustations. This is where to get your sugar fix in the Queensland capital.
Detour in Brisbane doesn’t simply sprinkle bee pollen over its just-set burnt honey panna cotta with honey and mead mascarpone (pictured) — nestled within the floral garnish is a dehydrated, edible bee. It’s a dramatic addition designed to highlight the critical plight of our insect friends.
Whether you’re in the city or sleepy inner suburban New Farm, make time to visit Dello Mano. Deborah and Bien Peralta’s decadent brownies aren’t cheap – a nine-piece box will set you back $41.80 – but the individually wrapped squares of rich Belgian chocolate batter are worth the outlay, especially the peanut butter variety. The brownies even have a legion of famous fans, with actor Ashton Kutcher once flying a batch to Paris for his birthday.
Messina blew into town with much fanfare in 2017. And rightly so, since this South Brisbane outlet is the Sydney-born gelateria’s biggest yet. It’s since become a slick late-night go-to for locals and tourists sifting their way down Melbourne Street from the cultural centre, which encompasses the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. End an evening with some perfectly turned white chocolate hazelnut or panna cotta with fig jam gelato.
Madame Rouge Bar & Bistro
There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Madame Rouge: low lighting, crisp service and an extensive menu of French classics. Still, order the restaurant’s five-course degustation if you want to get to its most famous creation: chef Gert Pretorius’s Valrhona mousse gâteau is so exquisite, you’ll hardly want to break the perfect chocolate sheen with your spoon. Take the menu’s advice and enjoy it with a glass of Valdespino Pedro Ximenez sherry.
A brilliant Bologna import, La Macelleria arrived in 2012 and quickly became a local haunt for authentic gelato. Popular flavours, such as fior di latte and Crema Bologna (featuring lemon peel and vanilla), are pleasingly rich but perhaps upgrade your choice by squishing a scoop inside some house-made brioche – one of the shop’s newer sensations. There are two outlets but the original in the old warehouse district of Teneriffe is the place to be.
This Brisbane go-to for Japanese inspired desserts is worth the 20-minute drive south of the city centre. Try one-of-a-kind creations such as kuro goma black sesame creme brûlée or hojicha mousse with dark chocolate crémeux and hazelnut praline. Sonder’s specialty, though, is its never-ending rotation of matcha-based specials. One night it might be a bright green matcha brûlée with crystal sugar glaze; the next a vertiginous parfait topped with fresh fruit and wafers.
Bacchus in South Brisbane does nothing by halves. That includes chef Massimo Speroni’s typically audacious dessert degustation – think coconut cheesecake with lime and butterscotch and Gianduja chocolate parfait. If nothing else, it’s a terrific excuse to settle into the restaurant’s luxurious chestnut dining room for an hour or two. Just be sure to plan ahead, as the five-course menu is currently only available Tuesday to Thursday from 5.30pm.
Flour & Chocolate Patisserie
It’s decision time: chocolate croissant or pistachio eclair? Pain au chocolat or almond cake with raspberries? There’s no time to hesitate – a long line is forming behind you. If you’re stumped, choose a flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake (if there’s any left) and a fresh fruit tart and make a run for it. We’re willing to bet you’ll soon be planning on a return visit to this Morningside patisserie, a much-loved institution among Brisbane southsiders.
There are plenty of excellent doughnut shops in Brisbane but Nodo doesn’t deal in your typical doughnut. Owner Kate Williams bakes (rather than fries) her menu of neat, luscious pucks. The result is something between a doughnut and a cake, with the entire range free from gluten and artificial ingredients. There’s also a selection of raw doughnuts in flavours such as chai white chocolate and cacao with sour cherries, which are sweetened with maple syrup and coconut nectar and dehydrated overnight rather than baked.
Stokehouse Q’s signature dessert, The Bombe, has been a menu stalwart since the restaurant’s opening in 2011. A lovingly sculpted take on the traditional bombe alaska, it features fresh strawberry sorbet smothered in frozen white chocolate parfait and a crisp meringue casing. It’s so beautiful, in fact, that it gives the diner’s brilliant riverside views of the Brisbane CBD some serious competition.
Top image: Gelato Messina