So you think dessert is a universal language? Reconsider that attitude with these 24 dishes you can find only in Melbourne.
Gin and Tonic Tart at Burch & Purchese
It’s not that kind of G&T – pastry whiz Darren Purchese combines a vanilla tart shell with fizzy white lime chocolate, lime curd, gin-and-tonic jellies and juniper-and-lime marshmallows. Probably not safe for kids…
Burch & Purchese, 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Pear and Burnt Butter Cruffin at Lune Croissanterie
The croissants at Lune have been dubbed the best outside Paris by Rachel Khoo, but super-patissiér Kate Reid also likes to get busy with a croissant-muffin hybrid, this one with pear, apple and burnt-butter custard and a pear gel.
Lune Croissanterie, 119 Rose Street, Fitzroy
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X.L. Fortune Cookie at Ricky & Pinky
A fortune cookie, made from a classic tuile, that’s actually worth eating? Stop the presses!
Ricky & Pinky, 211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Banana Tarte Tatin at Donovans
The classic French recipe – made with rum’n’raisin caramel and finished with sour cream ice-cream – goes tropical at this beachside favourite.
Donovans, 40 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
Image credit: Daniel Pout
Emu Egg Sabayon at Attica
There’s never a dull moment at Melbourne’s top restaurant, including the sabayon with sugarbag honey and Daintree chocolate sorbet, served in an emu egg.
Attica, 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea
Turkish Delight Soufflé at Camus
Pretty pink, light-as-air soufflé + copper pot = dessert almost too gorgeous to eat. Our advice: quickly Instagram, then get stuck in.
Camus, 61 High Street, Northcote
The Bombe at Stokehouse
Melbourne has no particular attachment to the Bombe Alaska, and yet… there’s no match for the Stokie’s signature dish, an unimpeachable cross-section of strawberry sorbet and white chocolate parfait covered in a quiver of toasted marshmallow and eaten overlooking St Kilda beach.
Stokehouse, 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
Sutlac at Tulum
One of many surprises at this most modern of Turkish restaurants, the sutlac is a rice pudding made with thyme, Jerusalem artichoke and cinnamon. Guaranteed to cure whatever ails you.
Tulum, 217 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Tipsy Cake at Dinner by Heston
The pineapples conspicuously roasting on a spit in Dinner’s open kitchen can only mean one thing: delicious, delicious Tipsy Cake (a sort of pudding-like scone) topped with the caramelised fruit and brandy sauce. dinnerbyheston.com.au
Dinner by Heston, Level 3, Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Lamington Jaffle at Bad Frankie
A concept never before seen in polite company but thrilling the punters is the jaffle-tastic treatment of jam-filled chocolate sponge, dusted in coconut and served with vanilla cream at this Fitzroy bar.
Bad Frankie, 141 Greeves Street, Fitzroy
Image credit: Tom Goldner The Fox Darkroom & Gallery
Any dessert at Syracuse
Why? Because the Queen of Desserts, Philippa Sibley, is reigning at this glam city bolthole and anything she touches is beyond our mortal ken. Look out for wonders such as her famed Snow White, Rose Red, a burnt-butter frangipane with rose geranium ice cream and rhubarb.
Syracuse, 23 Bank Place, Melbourne
Ice-cream Sandwich at Higher Ground
Banish thoughts of Eskimo Pies and instead get glam with the Pedro Ximenez ice-cream sandwich with chocolate brownie and Earl Grey syrup.
Higher Ground, 650 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Madeleine at Cumulus Inc
You can get madeleines elsewhere, of course – the so-Frenchy, so-chic petite shell-like cake – but where else are they made to order, with a lemon curd centre and served warm straight from the oven – for breakfast? Mais oui, the stuff of reveries.
Cumulus Inc, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Sticks & Stones at Om Nom
Hit the Adelphi Hotel’s designated dessert bar for an environmental extravaganza of chocolate bark, charcoal passionfruit pebbles, chocolate soil and hazelnut custard finished with crunchy chocolate twigs.
Om Nom, 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Soft Serve at Supernormal
It’s soft serve, but not as we know it: try vanilla, miso and popcorn on for size, and wonder why no one’s done it before.
Supernormal, 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Panqueques at San Telmo
South America’s answer to Nutella, dulce de leche’s sweet, spreadable caramel makes beautiful music with the rolled ginger crepes at this gaucho hangout.
San Telmo, 14 Meyers Place, Melbourne
Hot Jam Doughnuts from American Doughnut Kitchen
Some dishes are all about the setting (see also: fish and chips on the beach), so any hot jam doughnut - dusted in finger-lickin’ sugar and with a core to rival lava – is 100 per cent better when ordered from this van, proudly plying its trade at the Queen Victoria Market since 1950.
American Doughnut Kitchen, Queen Street, Melbourne
Turkish-Delight Doughnuts at Maha
Cute orbs of fried dough filled with molten Turkish delight and drizzled with rosewater honey – they’re chef Shane Delia’s tribute to the American Doughnut Kitchen. maharestaurant.com.au
Maha, 21 Bond Street, Melbourne
Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream at Lucy Liu
A dessert that’ll spark you up rather than wind you down, this caffeinated confection gets its carb on with a fried Chinese doughnut.
Lucy Liu, 23 Oliver Lane, Melbourne
Hazelnut Dacquoise at Kisumé
Visually stunning, the glossy pink orb hiding an interior of chocolate mousse and Frangelico cream is the stuff of artistic reveries. kisume.com.au
Kisumé, 175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Banana Spring Roll at Dandelion
Neat and petite, this two-bite spring roll with longan and a drizzle of honey summons memories of backpacker days on Bangkok’s Khao San Road.
Dandelion, 133 Ormond Road, Elwood
Torta di Formaggio at Il Bacaro
The dessert signature of this sleek Italian is an agave-sweetened cheesecake. The maximalist cake comes with crystallised violet, crème fraiche, pop rocks, blueberry sorbet and fairy floss.
Il Bacaro, 168-170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Quince Terrine at Neptune
Well, we’re calling it a terrine – layers of poached quince and Chinotto jelly covered in a snowdrift of burrata granita.
Neptune, 212 High Street, Prahran
Chocolate Croissant at Smith and Deli
Another croissant? Ho hum. But at this always-pumping New York-style deli everything on the menu is vegan. Digest that for a moment, then reassess the chocolate-oozing pastry that sends Melbourne’s growing tribe of plant-based eaters into paroxysms of delight.
Smith and Deli, 111 Moor Street, Fitzroy
Main image: Sticks & Stones at Om Nom