On one of the more temperate days of our week off, Michael and I cycled over to the new dessert cafe, LuxBite, at South Yarra. They'd only been open a couple of weeks but already been covered by several food bloggers (see links below). This might be explained by the pedigree of the chefs involved, their smart online engagement and/or the tendencies of Melbourne's food bloggers to pounce on anything new! And their speciality is macarons, the dessert fad of 2010. We were more impressed that they were open in the quiet Christmas-to-New-Year period, said so clearly on their website, and that they sent us a friendly tweet with their opening hours after we'd mentioned them on twitter. LuxBite's web presence is off to a good start.
Their in-store presence was equally welcoming. With only a few customers to serve at that time, the staff were generous with their attention, giving us a mini-tour of their display cases and modus operandi. (It's possible they made a special effort for us after our twitter exchange, although none of us referred to it specifically.)
The neat rows of macarons next to the register are LuxBite's drawcard; they nominate their kaya toast one as their signature flavour. Actually, Michael and I were more interested in their eat-in desserts. The staff make whatever takes their fancy each morning so the selection is a lottery for us customers, with diminishing returns as the day goes on and the desserts sell out.
The apple crumble (pictured above) looked very much like Michael's kinda thing. And it was a fine rendition - two parts gently spiced apple, two parts thick custard cream, one part sweet crunchy topping.
The mangos had arrived over-ripe that morning, we were told, so their mango and passionfruit pavlova was being served in a glass instead of in its usual spectacular manner. Thankfully this layering didn't seem to adversely affect the textures - meringue, mango, passionfruit cream and flaked almonds all held their own. We liked the controversial addition of a few coriander leaf slivers.
We're really not macaron connoisseurs (though we were privileged to sample some of Duncan's specimens at early food blogger get-togethers) but it seemed silly not to try the menu item that these chefs were most proud of. We took a few home and enjoyed them very much.
But it's not the macarons we'll return for. Nor is it the shop fit-out, the neighbourhood or the urban groove soundtrack. It's the daily dessert rotation and the friendly service that will definitely lure us across the river again. And I reckon they'll be luring a lot more customers besides in the coming months.
Luxbite has already appeared on the blogs bellygood, 12 onions, the indolent cook, and Mmmm, Sugar.
38 Toorak Rd, South Yarra