Those who know me would know that I love desserts, but don’t really have a sweet tooth. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach when it comes to desserts which is a shame.
A few months ago, I visited Burch & Purchese in South Yarra which is famous for their beautiful dessert creations by talented pastry chef, Darren Purchese. Darren has worked with some of the greatest chefs in some of the greatest restaurants around and it’s no surprise that his joint ‘sweet studio’ with Ian Burch has been so well received since its opening in early 2011. Darren was also on Season 3 of Masterchef Australia and I absolutely loved that episode and his masterclass.
When I walked into Burch & Purchese I felt like I had entered a fairytale land where meringues and chocolate lollypops were used as lampshades and ingredient jars lined an entire wall as if it was wallpaper.
That wasn’t even the best thing about the shop. The most fascinating part was at the back of the shop where the ‘science lab’ or kitchen is. That’s where all the wonderful pieces of art are born and the open nature of the kitchen means curious people like myself can sneak peaks at what goes on in there.
The little cakes in the counter were glistening and colourful, beckoning me for a taste. It was a hard choice which ones to buy, it really was.
After agonising thought, I settled for the ‘coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint’. It’s great that Darren has put the ingredients of the dessert all on a piece of paper because with so many layers and dimensions, it was very difficult for one to distinguish what is what.
Darren is known for his quirky and interesting blend of flavours. Yuye and I both found the dessert to be quite delicious, although a tad too sweet for our not-so-sweet-teeth. I loved the coconut mousse layer as well as the curd but my favourite part has to be the salted oat and ginger crumble. Yes, yes I know you’re meant to eat the layers together, but separating each layer and identifying the ingredients was half the fun. I do admit though, the macaron was a bit soggy perhaps due to condensation or the moisture from the bottom layers so I didn’t quite like that.
We were lucky enough to have come across a reasonably new addition to the dessert family at the time – ‘wild strawberry, pistachio, peach’ which really looked like a sprouting plant (perhaps a strawberry) from the ground. It wasn’t as peachy as I’d have liked and was again a bit too sweet for us but I loved how clean the layers were and really how beautiful the dessert was.
The macaron was again a little soggy, but I still liked this one more than the coconut.
Although I must say that the desserts were a bit too sweet and rich for Yuye and I, they were still no doubt created with love, passion and a lot of good skills. I really admire Darren’s creativity and hope to see more of his art in the future. Maybe another masterclass on Masterchef perhaps? 🙂 The desserts at B&P are forever changing so head over for a taste before some of them disappear from the menu!
A note, I took the photos of the purchased desserts on the white tables in the food court just across the road as B&P doesn’t have any tables for patrons to sit down. The photos turned out a lot better than I thought.
Apparently while I was overseas, B&P had teamed up with Langham Hotel for a special afternoon tea menu offering. There’s only one session left and that is June 1, 2012 from 10:30am to 4:30pm. Visit http://melbourne.langhamhotels.com.au/restaurants/burch-and-purchese.htm for more information, although I’m doubtful that there’s any space left.
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
Phone: (03) 9827 7060
647 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141