Adriano Zumbo Pâtisserie & Café Chocolat, 28 Oct 2009

After all the buzz that was generated from his Masterchef croquembouche and chocolate mousse cake creations, there are probably very few people in Australia who are not familiar with Adriano Zumbo’s name. Back in August, Kiki was nice enough to have brought some of his cakes over for us to sample and it really was a case of one-taste-and-you’re-hooked.

We managed to share the above cakes between four people! The ‘Tarte aux fruits de la passion' looked like a summer sunset and tasted oh-so passionfruity that it embodied a slice of tropical weather despite the winter cold. 'Amanda made the cut 6/11/81' was an absolute revelation to me with about seven layers of deliciousness melded into such a small cake. Looks can definitely be deceiving, and the layers included milk passion caramel mousse, passionfruit marshmallow, lime crème, coconut crunch and a brownie base.

A few months later I finally made it out there myself, for a lunch date with none other than beautiful Wifey. We lunched at the café before wandering across to the pâtisserie to pick up some cakes to go.

It is a beautiful sunny day and we seat ourselves at a table in direct sunlight before worrying about getting sunburn and moving to a table in the shade when one becomes available. Wifey enjoys a flat white while I sit back with a pot of Earl Grey that comes in a stacked teapot and cup set.

It’s lunchtime so Wifey decides to have the quiche Lorraine whilst I go for the baguette of prosciutto, bocconcini, tomato and pesto. Moments later I am told that the prosciutto has been substituted with salami that day and, as a lover of cured meats, I go along with it anyway. The quiche arrives first and has a wonderfully crumbly pastry as well as a creamy eggy filling that’s not too rich and is studded with plenty of bacon pieces.

My baguette is exactly what I expect, with its salty and slightly spicy salami, milky bocconcini, sweet tomato, fresh salad leaves and basil pesto to marry the whole lot together. The baguette has a very chewy crust however, and my jaw receives a thorough workout.

After lunch we ponder dessert options and decide to share the romantically named 'PARIS - La Vie en Rose' as rose and lychee are both high on Wifey’s favoured flavours list. When we place our order with the waitress, we also request some water for the table. What we do not expect is to receive the half bottle that has been left behind from a recently vacated neighbouring table!

Its saving grace is that the water is in a pink bottle that perfectly complements our pink hued dessert. 'PARIS - La Vie en Rose' is comprised of a coconut strawberry tapioca shake in a small carafe, and rose crème brûlée, raspberry sorbet, lychees and rose macaron in a glass dessert cup.

The tapioca shake is exactly like coconut sago but spiked with strawberry bits. And whilst I am used to eating sago with a spoon, this shake has a lower concentration of tapioca pearls and drinking it with the wide straw gives the illusion of enjoying a cup of Taiwanese bubble tea. We feel sorry for the rose macaron that has been bisected to adorn the other half of this dessert and are at a bit of a loss to identify the rose crème brûlée. Assuming it’s the creamy mixture at the bottom of the cup, we both find it more similar to melted vanilla ice-cream but it is delicious nonetheless. My favourite part is, of course, the tart and smooth raspberry sorbet.

After a bit of requisite girly chatter we move on to the pâtisserie where I purchase several things to take home and share with Monsieur Poisson. One is the ‘NY Cheesecake’, for which I cannot remember the description, that appeared to be coated in biscuit crumbs and flaked almonds. The innards also seemed to have nut slivers throughout but was not distinctly cheesecakey.

An ‘Opera’ was purchased with Monsieur Poisson in mind, although this was a reworking of a classic that featured coffee-soaked jaconde, coffee buttercream, liquorice ganache and passionfuit ganache. The liquorice flavour was subtle but evident, however the passionfruit was not and Monsieur Poisson said he preferred the classic classic over this one.

And for me was the ‘Tarte aux Fraises’ which had balsamic pepper sous vide strawberries, vanilla crème brûlée in a pâté sablé shell. The berries were not obviously peppery and were tender without being mushy like in jams. The pastry shell was buttery and crumbly as always.

I have yet to make a trip back although I really should soon. If you want to keep up to date with Adriano Zumbo’s ever-changing range of offerings, then Ooh, look… is a pretty efficient and reliable source.

296 Darling St, Balmain NSW
Tel: (02) 9810 7318

Opening Hours:  Mon-Sat  8am-6pm
                        Sun  8am-4pm

Shop 5, 308 Darling St, Balmain NSW
Tel: (02) 9555 1199

Opening Hours:  Mon-Fri  8am-4pm
                        Sat  8am-5pm
                        Sun  9am-5pm

Adriano Zumbo Café Chocolat on Urbanspoon

happy eating!


  1. Ahh yes the Masterchef craze made Zumbo a household name. His desserts do tend to be rich and I think they always taste better shared so you can dissect all the flavours and textural nuances together!

  2. I want to experience the revelation of 'Amanda made the cut 6/11/81'! I want to experience it with a tiny tiny fork!

  3. I still haven't had the time to come here! I'm a late starter. Hehe. Will have to soon though, as everything looks wonderful ....

  4. Hmm... I have read so many Zumbo posts but yet to visit his cafe. Great pictures!

  5. I keep meaning to go here, but never seem to make it!

  6. oh wow what an amazing place love the cappuccino and the macaron wow, happy new year great blog love the name


  7. I ordered the same baguette that you ordered when i visited one very early Saturday morning and they also didn't have the prosciutto and it was substituted with salami......but still tasty :P

  8. everyone in Sydney except me has been to Zumbo! AACKKKK!! i've tasted his creations from the goodness that is Trissa however I've never physically been to his cafe in Balmain! Must go there soon.

  9. i'm long overdue for a trip to zumbo's! your post has reminded me that i need to go again soon :)

  10. zumbo zumbo <3 <3
    every time i buy cakes form there i always feel broke LOL but i always say to myself "its worth it".

    I havent tried his latest collection and my god it looks gooood in your photos! I heard its fairly small in comparison to the previous collection?

    I havent been to adrianos cafe in a whilee I love all of his deserts soogood brings back memories

  11. My partner is a huge coconut sago eater, not sure he'd approve of the strawberry in it! We made it with watermelon once ala the Women's Weekly recipe. I wasn't a fan.

  12. I tried the passionfruit tart when I last visited and I loved it as well. It helps that it's also beautiful to look at :)

  13. love the desserts there, that guy's a genius!

  14. Hey Helen! In a way it's great that mostly his cakes are small, because they're so complex and can be rich - definitely something to dissect in small doses.

    Hey Conor, 'Amanda' was so great! At first I thought the flavour combinations would be weird but they really coexist well together.

    Hey Joey! Don't worry, with his ever-changing range you can keep going back and be surprised again and again =D

    Hey Ellie, both the café and pâtisserie are lovely. Do visit sometime!

    Hey missklicious, never fear - plenty of chances once you're settled in Sydney =)

    Hey Rebecca! Thank you so much for dropping by and pleased you like the name =) Check out his website to see more beautiful creations - he's esp known for his macarons.

    Hey Mistress, lucky we both like salami, hey?!

    Hey Trisha, you're definitely not the only one who's never been!

    Hey Panda, I'm going to try and make more regular trips =)

    Hey Leona, thanks for leaving a comment =) You just need to remind yourself it's quality over quantity! And the latest range does seem a tiny bit that you mention it.

    Hey Fiona, I've only ever had coconut sago plain or with honeydew melon, taro or mango. Not sure how well watermelon would work with all its juices but, maybe surprisingly, the addition of strawberry was ok!

    Hey Jacq, oh passionfruit! Apart from the taste, it looked like a cocktail in a tart =D

    Hey ladyironchef, and welcome to my humble blog =) He really is one creative guy!

  15. I can't WAIT to go to Zumbo when I finally make it up to Sydney

  16. Ack! I really need to try the other things there. All I seem to eat are the cakes...! :P My friends love the sausage rolls there and the quiche.

  17. Hey Shellie, don't worry, I had a long list of places to visit on my last trip to Melbourne!

    Hey Lorraine, the cakes are great but the café has pretty good savoury dishes. I've also heard the croissants from the pâtisserie are quite good too.


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