In Melbourne for only a night, and parts of the days on either side, with a packed schedule taking up most of the time, I nonetheless wanted to avail myself of some of Melbourne’s excellent food. We knew from previous trips that Luxbite had consistently lovely treats. The South Yarra store was a bit of a jaunt out of the CBD, where the necessary activities were though. Fortunately, I was aware that they had also opened another outlet, T by Luxbite, in the city. This was certainly a more manageable excursion to squeeze in.
Located on Flinders Lane, it is a little way away from the bustling heart of the CBD, and tucked away with a few other shops in Katherine Place. The sign doesn’t jump at you from the street, but probably just has to conform with the signage style of the other shops there. The thin black text on white is hard to make out, but at least the decal on the glass is a bit easier to see, though again, you have to get pretty close.
As it turns out, T by Luxbite is purely a takeaway store. I had read that when planning the trip, but had hoped that there would at least a couple of counter seats to be able to stop and partake of the treats there. That was not the case. As a fallback plan, getting cakes to bring back to Brisbane and share was the alternative. (Sitting by the side of the road, eating their delicate desserts with fingers and face was a worse and quickly discounted alternative.)
There was a good range of their signature cakes available. As the person at the counter helpfully told me, if you want to be sure to be able to get a particular cake, if you let them know in advance (ideally by the evening before, and can be done via their website), they can ensure that it is there for you to pick up.
They do have seasonal specials, and though they looked interesting, it was hard to go past some of their signature ones that we had had before. I bought a couple of their Kuma tarts, and a couple of the Meringue Monsters. Much as I was tempted to buy more, I was also wary of how much we might be able to eat at one sitting, and ideally wanted to have the desserts just when they were fresh, rather than having more as leftovers.
I explained the plan to bring them interstate, and asked if they could be packed to travel. The lovely staff there, who I subsequently realised was Yen Yee, the co-owner, did as requested, and warned that the Meringue Monster, because of its composition, might not last as well, and advised getting it into the refridgerator as soon as possible after getting back, and giving it some time to chill before eating. Just in case it didn’t turn out as well as hoped at the other end, she also generously packed in a couple of slices of their Green Tea Cheesecake for us to have. The boxes were also secured to each other so they wouldn’t move around in the bag.
Much as juggling a suitcase, a carry bag, a jacket, and the bag of treats was a challenge, they made it through mostly intact. As predicted, the Meringue Monsters fared the worst, collapsing a bit after the hours of transit and transport. The Kuma tarts and Cheesecakes survived the journey fine.
Despite looking a bit squidgy and split in places, the Meringue Monsters were still pretty cakes. The browned meringue edges made precision-lined patterns of pinstripes on the sides, and a radiant floral burst on top, contrasting sharply against the clean white of the un-torched meringue. That outer meringue layer was sweet, and had a marshmallowy fluffiness. Beneath that, peeking out from some of those split sections like the Hulk bursting through a shirt, was the sour strawberry mousse (their description), tart and almost jelly-like in density. The green tea sponge had pistachio bits in it, giving some variety to the texture. The freeze dried raspberry on top, besides adding colour, gave further pops of tartness. Overall, it was a balanced dessert, actually a little more sour than sweet, despite one’s expectations.
The Kuma tart has been a popular one for a while, as much for its too-cute-to-eat face as its accessible combination of flavours. The caramel glaze that gave the bear its tanned look was sweet, but not too much so. The white chocolate milkshake mousse was light, and a good balance between density and airiness. Beneath that was the strawberry and banana cream, with a similar texture, carrying the perfumed flavour of banana more than strawberry. A chocolate tart pastry contained it all, but in the bottom of that, as if you needed more, was a chocolate chocolate chip cookie. We found the texture to be more cakey than biscuity, but it wasn’t an issue. There were some chunky chocolate chips in that, of course. Despite its components, the Kuma tart was only lightly sweet, rather than being cloyingly so, and the chocolate and banana flavours certainly carried through.
The Green Tea Cheesecake is their take with a twist on the classic French Opera cake. The almond sponge soaked in coffee, coffee buttercream, ganache, and chocolate glaze are changed to green tea almond sponge with Japanese rice wine, cream cheese, pistachio ganache, and a salted green tea crumble. This was quite a mild flavoured cake overall, and the focus was probably more about texture than flavour. The cream cheese and ganache sections were smooth. The sponge and crumble had a good crumb to them, without being grainy.
Luxbite remains on our list of dessert destinations when in Melbourne, for their detailed and carefully constructed creations. T by Luxbite makes their goodies even more accessible to those in the city, although you will need to have an alternative destination planned to actually eat your treats. Or pack your cutlery and a picnic rug..
Price point: Cakes $7.80 to $9.50.
Value: While not cheap, clearly a lot of work goes into them.
Address: 28 Katherine Place, Melbourne CBD
Phone: 03 9629 9662
Website: T by Luxbite