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Review: Pâtissez

Michelle Brotohusodo

With the number of new eateries in Canberra steadily increasing, it can be hard to keep up with what’s opened, and where. Thankfully, the ‘berra has a number of dedicated food bloggers who collectively cover the bases. So it was that I found out about one of the newest additions to the café scene, Pâtissez, through Food Porn Journal’s Instagram page. There was one item that I was particularly keen to try, and you’ll see why later on.

I’d arranged a catch up with a friend last Saturday, so used that as my excuse to go check out Pâtissez, which had only been open for three weeks. Arriving at about 1.45pm, it was clear that word had got out, as the café was packed both inside and out.

A busy day at Pâtissez.

A busy day at Pâtissez. 

While waiting for my friend, I took the opportunity to look over the menu and ogle the sweets in the counter cabinets. If you’ve ever read the Magic Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton, you might remember a land at the top of the tree called the Land of Goodies (if you haven’t read these books, you should, they’re a lot of fun—but get the original series not the new, politically corrected versions). To me, the cakes, pastries, and other delights at Pâtissez looked like someone had gone to the Land of Goodies and brought them all back to Canberra.

Just some of the magic in Pâtissez’s cabinets.

Just some of the magic in Pâtissez’s cabinets.

By the time my friend arrived, I’d somehow managed to snaffle a table, and we decided we’d order our savoury food and drinks first, then go back for dessert. I was charged with ordering, but as I waited in line it became apparent that I might have to make a snap decision on desserts, as half the sweets had already disappeared from when I first arrived, and I was worried there’d be nothing left!

So after dutifully ordering our meals, I quickly decided on a slice of Enchanted Forest and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Éclair, which the staff kindly kept in the fridge for us until we were ready to eat them (I saw quite a few other people using this tactic as well). Given how busy the café was, it was really nice to see all the staff being friendly, calm, and polite, and all the customers being patient and understanding.

Love this feature wall in Pâtissez.

Love this feature wall in Pâtissez.

Knowing that I had some serious sweetness to come (and being still a bit full from a six course suckling pig banquet the night before), I opted for a ‘lighter’ meal, The Field: Portobello mushrooms, poached eggs, goats cheese, shaved truffle, toasted pinenuts, and balsamic reduction, on crusty bread. This was delicious. The mushrooms were hearty, the eggs were poached properly (i.e. they passed the runny egg yolk test), the pinenuts added a nice contrast in texture and the balsamic was nice and sweet. I don’t really like goats cheese so ended up putting it to the side of my plate, where my friend happily pinched it and said you could tell it was really good quality.

The Field: Mushrooms and truffles and eggs, oh my!

The Field: Mushrooms and truffles and eggs, oh my!

My friend had chosen the Cheeky: slow cooked beef cheeks with black eyed beans, and poached eggs, with crusty bread and kale pesto. I got to try some, and we both agreed the beef was very tender and flavoursome and we liked the combination of everything. I thought it was a perfect winter dish. I didn’t try the bread and pesto but my friend said it was really nice, and she liked that the kale pesto was different. She also commented that the serving was quite generous.

Cheeky: Slow cooked beef with eggs and beans.

Cheeky: Slow cooked beef with eggs and beans.

While we had ordered cakes, it was impossible not to also order shakes after reading the descriptions. So we did. I’d known what I wanted to order for a week, after seeing it on Food Porn Journal’s page: the Nutella and salty pretzel shake. The description on the menu is luscious: Cold Nutella shake with lashings of Nutella, whipped cream and crushed salty pretzel. Now I’ve tried it, I can honestly say it tastes as good as it looks.

The now famous Nutella and salty pretzel shake.

The now famous Nutella and salty pretzel shake.

My friend chose the Nutty Pât, a warm salted caramel shake with pecan pie and cinnamon whipped cream, decadence in a mason jar. I thought this was also really nice, but my friend LOVED it. To quote her, “How do you make salted caramel better? Make it warm!”, “This is the best thing ever”, “If you like salted caramel, this is heaven”. She also said the pecan tart was really nice, the pastry was perfect and the caramel was great.

The Nutty Pât: warm salted caramel shake with pecan pie.

The Nutty Pât: warm salted caramel shake with pecan pie.

After doing the best we could with our shakes (I had far more of mine than I probably should have—but the pretzels on the outside were just so convenient for scraping off the Nutella from the jar to eat it), we thought it would be remiss of us not to try the cakes as well. As I said before, I’d quickly decided on an Enchanted Forest and Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Éclair, half based on descriptions and half based on appearance (seriously, just look at them!). When I went back inside to pick them up, as predicted, the cabinets were almost empty, so yay for foresight.

The Enchanted Forest and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Eclair.

The Enchanted Forest and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Eclair.

The Enchanted Forest was made up of layers of chocolate sponge, chocolate parfait, crème brulee, nougatine, berry coulis gel, and dark chocolate glaze, topped with a mini meringue and raspberry.  It sounds indulgent, and it was. Just incredible. My friend particularly liked the berry coulis gel, and said it tasted like it had been made with fresh berries (which we assume it had) and she could have eaten a bowl of it on its own. I loved all the different layers and textures together. But boy was this rich. While it’s not big, it’s probably one to share (apparently it also sells out every day, so if you see it in the cabinet while you’re there, get it!).

I also really enjoyed the Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Éclair—whoever first decided to combine peanut butter and chocolate was a genius—and my friend, while not a big fan of peanut butter, said the éclair’s pastry was great and a good density, not too heavy and not too light. There was a mini meringue on each dessert so we had one each and were both pleasantly surprised. My experience with such toppings is that they’re usually an afterthought, added for decoration and usually don’t taste very good and are hard (and possibly stale). These were the opposite. They had a nice light flavour, were soft, and tasted fresh.

Pâtissez seems to have hit that balance of great savoury and sweet food, with good and pleasant service and a nice atmosphere. The weekend I went was their biggest weekend to date, so I think they’ve put a few improvements in place since then, such as moving to table service and taking people’s names when they arrive so tables are allocated in order (they don’t take bookings). My advice would be to go hungry, get there early, be patient, if you see what you want in the sweets cabinet order it right away so you don’t miss out (remember that they can hold it for you to get later), and remember that they also do takeaway. And if you want, bring a picnic blanket—there’s lots of nice grassy space to sit on in front and nearby, so why not rug up and enjoy? I loved Pâtissez and I will definitely be going back.

The essentials
The place: Pâtissez
Where: Shop 2/21 “The Lawns”, Bougainville St, Manuka
When: 7am-4pm, Monday to Sunday
Food: Pastries, desserts, gourmet all day breakfast savoury dishes
Drinks: Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, shakes
Contact: Call 0423 637 777 or visit their website.

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author

  • Jessica McGrath

    Brilliant review! We missed out on many of the goodies by the time we arrived (we were hanging out for babycinos with home made marshmallows!), but the staff were exceptionally nice so we look forward to going again! Thanks Michelle!
    -Jess @cinobambinos

    • Michelle B

      Thanks Jess! I was really impressed by the staff as well – they were great with kids (as you would know – I have to say it again, MM and Zazi are so cute!!), really friendly and polite, and I also saw one staffer helping an older lady with her walker into the cafe. Nice change from some of the attitude/arrogance other places have a reputation for.

  • Gosh this just looks so amazing. I may die. Great review Michelle!

    • Michelle B

      Thanks Alex! Hope you make it out there soon, it’s great!

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