A mix of white and black walls and dapper furnishings, punctuated by stripes of candy colours, Luxbite has an air of grown-up sophistication, and a touch of playfulness. This is perhaps representative of what is on offer here in terms of the cakes, creative and whimsical in terms of the colours and flavours, but underpinned by some serious pastry skills. The high ceiling (takes in the second floor) makes the eating area feel luxuriously spacious, and gives voices here the slightly attenuated echoing quality of a more cavernous space. The skylight illuminates the room, giving everything a radiant glow as it bounces off the white walls.
Music best described as chill out plays in the background at a non-invasive volume. The large front window must be double-glazed, as absolutely none of the traffic noise from bustling Toorak road gets through when the door is closed. It is very much like stepping into a sanctuary as you cross the threshold.
The Kuma tart is frequently photographed, probably due to its cuteness. Making that first cut into it is difficult, as those little eyes stare up at you.. It has a more real than artificial banana taste, and that perfumes the tart rather than being overwhelming. The caramel layer isn’t too sweet. The white chocolate milkshake mousse is very smooth. The chocolate biscuit base provides a bit of crunch, though not jarringly hard. There was supposedly strawberry in it as well, but we didn’t find it.
The E’ternity tart is a special for Valentine’s day (though given we were there late in the month, they have probably extended the festivities). The matcha mousse tastes properly of matcha, instead of being just green colouring. The condensed milk panna cotta is creamy, but not too sweet. There are pockets of red bean paste in it, rather than one big mound in the middle, which makes it more evenly distributed as you eat. The pastry is soft, more like a sable biscuit than shortbread. The chocolate E is, of course, perfectly tempered, shiny and crisp.
In the past, we have tried the Meringue Monster (green tea sponge, pistachio, watermelon yoghurt, sour strawberry mousse meringue), the Endless Love (lychee ganache, rose cream, lychee, fresh raspberries), the Lollybag Cake (banana lolly joconde, freckles crunch, mandarin jaffa ganache, musk mallow, spearmint leaf buttercream, Redskins glaze), and another limited edition special (the Bersih). All were excellent.
The Endless Love Iced Tea (earl grey tea, rose water, lychee syrup, dried raspberry) tasted like a mild lychee syrup, and didn’t really have any of the Earl grey flavours. The dried raspberry bits were pretty, but predictably very sour. If you like lychee, it will work. If you want tea, it probably won’t.
The coffee was deemed to be very good.
Staff were lovely. Friendly, ready to explain more about any of the cakes, and patient with our indecision (that must happen quite a bit).
We had been disappointed by Om Nom and the 2am: Dessert Bar. Of the places that have received a Masterchef boost, few have lived up to hopes. This certainly has.
Luxbite is definitely one of the best dessert places in Melbourne, and a very nice place to spend some time with some cakes. Extra points as well for the motto on the front window: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
Price point: $8 to $9.50 for individual cakes. Larger cakes..more.
Address: 38 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Phone: 03 9867 5888