Pidapipo Gelateria, Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria © Josie Withers Photography
Melbourne's best dessert bars
Indulge in la dolce vita at Melbourne's newest sensation, the dessert bar. With this guide you are sure to find the sweet spot.
By Sue Gough Henly
Melbourne has seen an explosion of dessert bars in the last couple of years and every neighbourhood now has a selection of groovy spots that might serve gelato or soft serve ice cream, elaborate cakes or bespoke chocolate, cutting edge croissants, macarons or delicate tarts.
Where: City centre, Carlton and Flinders Lane locations
Brunetti is an old school Roman pasticceria (Italian pastry shop) that has been owned by the Angele family since 1991 (Giorgio Angele first came to Melbourne as a pastry chef for the Italian Olympic team during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics). Enjoy an Italian coffee from the bar, a lemon tart or crunchy cannoli from the pasticceria, or something savoury from the paninoteca and watch the parade of locals coming to collect their cakes for special occasions.
Where: 119 Rose St, Fitzroy
It is a minimalist pastry temple and The New York Times has said that it makes the world’s best croissants. Lune Croissanterie is the vision of former aerospace engineer Kate Reid who trained with Christophe Vasseur at Paris boulangerie Du Pain et Des Idèes. Today she makes croissants, pains au chocolat and other delectable pastries in a temperature-controlled glass cube. Stand in line to see the day’s offerings presented like jewels on a custom-moulded cement countertop.
Where: Inside Adelphi Hotel, 187 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
The world’s first dessert hotel is at the strikingly modern Adelphi Hotel on Flinders Lane. Om Nom Kitchen and Dessert Bar has carpets patterned like cakes and liquorice all-sorts stools. Try its theatrical smoking rosemary caramelia cigars, served inside a cigar box. If you have time, book in for the full high tea experience.
Where: Inside QV Melbourne, 16 Red Cape Ln, Melbourne
Aqua S is the perfect Instagrammable soft serve ice cream dessert bar complete with puffy clouds on a blue sky wall. Try their signature aqua sea salt soft serve ice cream topped with a cloud-like halo of toasted fairy floss dotted with sweet popcorn, popping candy and a grilled marshmallow. Two other flavours change every two weeks and might be lemon-squash, pandan, mint tea, mocha or lemon cheesecake.
Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio
Where: 647 Chapel St, South Yarra
Come to Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio for Chef Darren Purchese’s extravagant sweet creations that balance flavour and texture by combining jellies, sponges, mousses, cream, crumbles and spreads, layer upon layer, to create works of sweet art. An absolute must-do for any visitors with a sweet tooth.
Where: Inside Royal Arcade, 335 Bourke St, Melbourne
Chocolatier trailblazer Koko Black employs the talents of Bruges chocolatier Dries Cnockaert to create ganache chocolates from the finest European couverture blended with natural ingredients such as leatherwood honey, single malt whisky, and local walnuts. Enjoy a hot chocolate with their delectable chocolates at the Royal Arcade café.
Where: 8 Degraves St, Melbourne
Pidapipó is a one-woman homage to Italian gelato. Lisa Valmorbida learned from the world’s best at Italy’s Carpigiani gelato university before opening her own pretty pastel pink and yellow gelateria using the finest ingredients handmade each day and stored in stainless steel pozzetti. She only serves a few flavours at a time to ensure maximum freshness, but expect flavours like key lime pie, raspberry swirl and chocolate topped with Nutella.
Where: 237 Smith St, Fitzroy
Gelato Messina has made a name for itself around Australia for offering some of the most impressive gelato in the country. More than 30 permanent flavours are churned onsite daily, along with five rotating specials. Flavours like macadamia crunch and panna cotta with fig jam mean you'll likely need to come back more than once.
Monsieur Truffe and East Elevation
Where: 351 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Sharing a chocolate factory and retail space in the heart of Brunswick East, Monsieur Truffe and East Elevation Café are both worth a long, lazy brunch. Here, you'll find Melbourne best hot chocolate, and you can watch the masters at Monsieur Truffe make chocolate right in front of your eyes as you enjoy the seasonal menu at East Elevation.