Melbourne's Top 10 Desserts, 2012
It’s that time of year, where bloggers and the media compile their ‘best of 2012’ lists. The standard of eateries in Melbourne never ceases to amaze me, and it’s only on the rise. I put together a list of some of my favourite dishes of 2012, which you can read on Sharking for Chips and Drinks. But for Poppet’s Window, I decided to pick my top 10 desserts in Melbourne and share them with you. Some are fancy, some are affordable, but they were chosen because they all left an impression. Here are the sweetest things about Melbourne in 2012.
1. Cooked Caramel Cream @ Trocadero
If you read the paper, you would have already seen this Trocadero dessert mentioned a few times. It lived up to the hype. Presented in a glass, you don’t know whether to plunge your spoon into the sugary layers or to stare at it with your jaw hanging open. The light cream base was topped with a layer of sticky, honey cooked pear and chocolate ganache. The glass was then filled to the top with crumbs of salty popcorn. Let’s not forget the sugar coated petals, either.
2. La Mela di Murano @ Grossi Florentio
This dessert scored second place because it was more than just a dessert; it was an edible work of art. The technique involved in creating the green sugar ball – which was paper thin and cracked at the slightest touch of the fork – appears more complicated than the Murano glass blowing in Venice. The sugar ball is carefully filled with apple bells, apple sorbet, white balsamic foam and shortbread crumbs. It’s then placed in a shallow pool of tapioca pearls, painted with edible silver and finished with purple flowers.
3. Coffee parfait, pistachio crumble, dark chocolate @ The Press Club
This beauty was part of the mid week ‘Kerasma’ $50pp sharing menu, available for lunch on weekdays at The Press Club. Creamy coffee parfait on a stick was coated in dark chocolate, rolled in pistachio crumble and zigzagged with caramel. It put Magnum ice cream to shame. To top it off, it was surrounded by chocolate soil, chunks of chocolate clay and soft squares of brownie.
4. Hotdog sundae @ Phat Brats
The hotdog sundae at Phat Brats (also known as the dessert dog), has popped up in the newspaper a couple of times recently and has had an incredible response from bloggers, which must mean that my opinion of its greatness isn’t tainted by bias (you could say I know one of the owners better than most). At $6.50, it’s ridiculously good value and completely unique. The hotdog ‘bun’ is in fact an elongated doughnut, while the sausage is a double chocolate ice cream bar. In place of mustard and tomato sauce, you’ll find whipped cream, crushed pistachio nuts, flakes of coconut and raspberry coulis.
5. ‘Gingerbreads’ @ Claremont Tonic
After sampling almost all of the desserts at Claremont Tonic, I was surprised to discover that the best one was the least impressive to look at. The ‘gingerbreads’ dessert consisted of a warm rectangle of spiced carrot cake slathered in salted caramel, sesame ice cream and pistachio.
6. Homemade kulfi Indian ice cream @ Horn Please
Newcomer Horn Please has become known for their authentic curries this year, but it was the traditional Indian ice cream that stole the show. It’s some of the best ice cream I’ve had in Melbourne – not quite what you’d expect from a Fitzroy North Indian joint. A wonderful combination of sweet and spicy, the dense ice cream arrived at the table in narrow metal tubes with pointed ends. We lifted the skewers our and tada! Kulfi ice cream on a stick – just like they serve it in India. Choose from cardamom, honey and pistachio or cinnamon, clove and honey.
7. Mince tart test tubes with eggnog @ Café Rosamond
Just in time for December, I visited one of Pierre Roelofs' Dessert Evenings at Café Rosamond. Famed for his test tube desserts, the mince tart version we were served did not disappoint. The different layers when sucked up in one mouthful tasted exactly like a mince tart. Washed down with a shot of glossy eggnog, it was an interesting take on the Christmas classic.
8. Salted caramel panna cotta @ Ladro
Now I’m not a panna cotta kind of gal, but the salted caramel panna cotta with spiced poached pears and toasted almonds at Ladro was enough to turn me into a panna cotta addict. It was the consistency of thick custard and the salted caramel – well – I would have drank it with a straw if I could.
9. Philippa Sibley’s lemon tart @ Albert Street Food and Wine
I sampled Philippa Sibley’s lemon tart, which is usually served at Albert Street Food and Wine, at this year’s Taste of Melbourne. It was the highlight of the food festival for me: cookbook perfect, a buttery base and sweet citrus curd with a touch of tang.
10. Whoopie Mac @ The Meatball & Wine Bar
Although this dessert may not have flavours as interesting as those mentioned above, sweet treats don’t get much more fun than the whoopie mac at The Meatball & Wine Bar. Choose from coffee, burnt orange, vanilla or chocolate ice cream sandwiched between a giant macaron (either coffee, berry, pistachio or chocolate). After taste testing them all, I can say with confidence that you absolutely must order the chocolate mac with coffee ice cream. No ‘buts’ about it.
White chocolate dumplings @ David’s Restaurant
These mouthfuls of ecstasy come in sets of three with vanilla ice cream. Each glutinous ball of rice is filled with melted white chocolate and sprinkled with peanut and coconut praline. Just try and stop at one.
Salted caramel doughnut @ Movida Bakery
If you haven’t yet tried Movida’s salted caramel doughnuts, get off your ass and get down to South Yarra. They are truly divine.
Peanut snow ice with black sesame and crushed peanuts @ Dessert Story
Not one for everyone, but definitely one for me. Dessert Story’s light and airy mountain of peanut snow ice was sprinkled with black sesame powder, crushed peanuts and generously drizzled with condensed milk. It’s an absolute treat on a hot day. Actually, it’s a treat any day.
Hot chocolate fondant with milk ice cream @ Virginia Plain
This dessert proved that keeping it simple works. My favourite part of my dining experience at Virginia Plain, the cooling ice cream mixed with the hot liquid centre of the fondant, catching the biscuit crumble and raspberry coulis in its path and making for one hell of a mouthful.
*Please note the above desserts were all available at the time I visited each restaurant in 2012, but it is recommended you call and check they are still on the menu before making a special trip.