The show-stopping array of gorgeous cakes – with glossy mirror glazes and wisps of gold leaf – transfixes everyone that enters Bibelot. It is a glowing tribute to high-end classic French patisserie, but with a modern twist.
If you can resist eating such perfection, the cakes would not look out of place as decorative elements in a stylish interior design. Which means that “bibelot” – the French word for an ornament or trinket – is a fitting name for this dessert café.
Bibelot is a spin-off from the popular breakfast/lunch café, Chez Dré, a few steps away from the South Melbourne market. Back in 2015 the patisserie part of the café moved into its own separate space. It’s all clean lines and very modern. Black walls and white marble, with only a few touches of colour – all the better to highlight the jewel-like patisserie.
But Benny and I were visiting Bibelot for its gelati.
Our visit on a grey and wet Saturday afternoon was at peak cake time, and we were very lucky to find a seat. Even the tables outside on the footpath were taken – the rain was not deterring those hardy souls.
Bibelot’s marble counter displays an awesome array of sweet treats – cakes, macarons, chocolates and biscuits – threatening to derail our gelato quest.
Everything – cakes and gelati – is made on site fresh each morning. Bibelot’s pastry chefs start work at 4am – definitely not a job for a night owl.
At the gelato counter, there are around a dozen flavours of gelato and dairy-free sorbets, served in cups or cones, or tubs to take away. For an extra indulgence, chocolate is on tap. Tastings are offered.
Benny could not resist the mandarin and yuzu sorbet. The combination of the two citrus – sweet from the mandarin and acid from the yuzu – was just stunning. He paired it with a great dark chocolate sorbet, made with Madagascar 64% dark chocolate.
My choices were passionfruit sorbet with a hazelnut crunch gelato. The latter was a beautifully smooth gelato with a hazelnut crumble mixed through. The passionfruit was simply outstanding.
Textures of all the gelati flavours were excellent – smooth and creamy, just as gelato should be.
After our generous servings of gelati, there was no way we could have squeezed in a cake. The obvious solution was of course to buy some to take home. But what to choose? Again the decision was obvious – the Gourmandise Board. Mini versions of six cakes, a macaron, two mini chocolate coated sable biscuits and a glossy chocolate, beautifully boxed in Bibelot packaging.
Every item was outstanding, tasting just as good as it looks. Extra special mentions for the citrus slice and the mandarin, coconut and yuzu petit gateau.
So when is the best time to visit Bibelot? According to our friendly server, weekend afternoons are the busiest times, so if you prefer a less frenetic experience, aim for weekdays or mornings.
285-287 Coventry Street
South Melbourne Vic 3205
T: (03) 9690 2688