I'm a true believer in fusion flavours done right - from the more commonly seen Green Tea Ice Cream, to the Pork Floss Bun, to even something as wacky as a Kaya Toast Macaron...I'm all for trying it! It's also always nice seeing how cafe owners, chefs and restauranteurs are evolving Asian flavours through modern cooking techniques and shedding new light to more traditional flavours and ingredients. LuxBite were able to roast two ducks in one oven for me; impress me with their use of Asian flavours and convert me into becoming a macaron fan. Previously, I was most certainly not on the macaron band wagon; cakey almond meal met with an overload of sugar just didn't gel well with me. But almost a year ago now, I entered LuxBite on good advice and ever since, my faith in the traditional French pastry has been restored.
Even though LuxBite has a smaller real estate to work with compared to most of the cafes in the South Yarra area, it certainly still wins points for being able to draw a lot of traffic in throughout the day. The interiors are gorgeous, with their large windows providing a good amount of natural lighting, and even the option to dine al fresco on the small tables right outside the cafe itself. Their display cabinets are equally as beautiful, well light, bright...well stocked for your viewing and selecting pleasure. With so much on display, it's hard to not want to try everything - and if you're like me, and can't resist a good "tasting plate" option, I recommend trying their Tea Set for 2.
Coffee specs wise, LuxBite use Toby's Estate, whilst also offering Organic Decaffeinated and Chai Latte or Hot Chocolate options. They also use Tea Fortè tea and have a selection of Emma and Tom's Juices if you fancy. Personally, I couldn't go past having a macchiato to contrast with the tray of sweet treats; the coffees here are so good that beyond and after the devouring of the tea set, we actually ended up ordering a second round of lattes. It's an impressive sight when the tray of goodies is set down before you, it's hard to know where to start!
Of the two finger sandwiches, I actually preferred the one with the Earwood Mushroom (the square toasted number), it is definitely a very traditonal Chinese ingredient and I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went with a rich aioli and crispy toast. Ever intrigued by the black "rippled" burger too, I would say that these were probably the two most interesting and unique sandwiches I've ever had for high tea. The tea set is worth ordering for these two additions alone, but of course, there is more!
On my previous visit to Melbourne last year, I did manage to buy a big box of these and sample a variety of their flavours. Currently, they have Orea, Lemon Ginger & Pineapple, Pandan, Coffee Candy (Kopiko), Bamboo Oolong Tea, Mandarin Jaffa, Sour Strawberry, Ribena Lemonade, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Heilala Vanilla Crème Brûlée, Watermelon & Guava, Rose &Lychee, Salted Caramel, Green Tea Pistachio and Hazelnut. Last time, I swore by their Kaya Toast Macaron...it's hard to imagine that LuxBite were able to reproduce a macaron that tasted exactly like a slice of toast, complete with a pat of butter and a smeer of kaya...but they did! For the tea set, I picked my four favourites - Bamboo Oolong Tea, Sour Strawberry, Green Tea Pistachio and Peanut Butter & Jelly.
I think one of LuxBite's most iconic desserts is the Endless Love - a giant macaron, studded with fresh raspberries and a lychee and rose filling. The macaron has a perfect texture, and the dessert on a whole is not overly sweet due to the addition of the fresh raspberries. Whether you're a macaron fan or not, it wins props for being a delicious dessert and could definitely be the one to convert the non-believers of macarons!
The Meringue Monster is just genius - who would have known that beyond the perfectly blowtorched meringue shell, would there be the most unique and yet compatible combination of fillings? The green tea sponge has a solid matcha flavour that provides a great platform for the burst of sweet and sour flavours that arise from the respective layers of watermelon yoghurt and sour strawberry mousse. These aren't your average cake fillings, and each forkful still manages to remain cohesive and moreish. This is by far, my favourite cake that I've tried from LuxBite.
On a weekend, it's definitely hard to get a seat in LuxBite - a sure favourite with the locals and interstate visitors alike, they even have produced a small placard advising customers on how to safely travel with a box of LuxBite macarons. I love the concept and the vision behind everything that they create here; I'll be sure to come for brunch next time I'm in Melbourne - the fact that they can introduce Buckwheat and Mongolian Lamb into a breakfast menu is shockingly intriguing. This is fusion food done right, done creatively and done with a sense of familiarity for those customers whom still prefer their standard high tea selections. I'm just waiting for Luxbite owners Bernard Chu and Yen Yee to appear of Masterchef Australia; I think they'd surely set up a unique and whimsical dessert challenge! LuxBite into your Chapel St. shopping exploration itinerary, I guarantee that it will be a very worth while pit stop!
Opening Hours: Daily, 10:30am - 7:00pm
Edit: Since writing this review in April, Luxbite's Bernard Chu really did appear in a Pressure Test in Masterchef Australia Season 5! I look forward to trying their Lolly Bag Cake next time I'm in Melbourne!