A Melbournian who wonders as I wander. I have spent a lot of life colouring in moments and take great pleasure in creative expression of experience. Interested in Design, Art, Film, Photography, Painting and all things French.
Located in Clairemont St, Sth Yarra next to the popular cafe Two Birds One Stone is a shot pink chocolate box of Zumbo creations.
Zumbo Style If you have ever checked out Adriano Zumbo's book - The Zumbo Files from the library you can see that the Alice In Wonderland, electronic style that reminds of lolly wrappers is a signature theme.
The location used to be wedged beside another building, which created an alleyway that tunnelled your vision into the Zumbo Kitchen Window. Dessert shops love to display their craftsmanship and people love to have insight into the moment of creation.
This ambiance has been recently altered. The building next door was knocked down and this has let a bit more light into the musky Zumbo interier. The filtered light gives a sense of drama which is supported by fluorescent globes. It is as you would expect the interior of a chocolate box to be, dim and lit only by the wrappers' metallic glow.
The door is heavy but, unfortunately, it does not trap warmth in. The priority here is the cakes' shelf life, not the customers. You can shiver a bit, it sharpens your powers of perception when surveying possibility. The central feature is a long glass display case, just like a jewellery store. This is a very French-inspired presentation of the wonder of dessert. It places the expectation in your mind that what you choose is special and should be appreciated.
Visual appeal Every one of Zumbo's desserts is colourful and intricate. The offerings change with seasons. Like a magical box of chocolates, every time you peek inside there is something new and different along with a few standard favourites. Going here is like the excitement Charlie must have felt when he went to the lolly shop with his savings. You may not find a golden ticket here, but perhaps something decorated with gold leaf.
Zumbo's diverse offerings are designed to satisfy cravings for salty or sweet.
Pastry These are reasonably priced. A traditional croissant is $3.50, making it the cheapest good-quality example on offer in the area. The internal structure of this croissant is impressive, it fans out with flair. It is not too buttery and has a crisp external texture, internally reminiscent of soft white bread. There are also pretzels, almond croissants and Danish pastries,
Donuts Zumbo's donuts have the nostalgic appearance of the donut you would buy from a roadside van as a kid. These sugary treats are filled with jam, Nutella or custard. Zumbo also has the Zonut. This appeared around the time it was popular to play around with the boundaries of pastry definition. It is a cross between a croissant and a donut and has interesting fillings like Tiramisu. It reflects the Zumbo signature of deconstructing the flavours and textures of traditional dessert. You get the same pleasure from a new perspective.
The selection is rounded out by limited loaves of bread.
A rainbow of macarons is set further from the door.
Cakes & Tarts
Closest to the decorated walls are elaborate cakes which the interior architecture complements. They gleam.
At present featured are
The traditional Italian lemon meringue tart
At $9 it is well worth the commitment. Your tongue and nerves zing. The meringue feels a cross between marshmallow and heaven tufts. It dissolves into the creamy, lemon curd richness and finally a shortbread that has a short, crisp, baked butter texture. It's a balanced rhythm of taste.
Very Vanilla V8
Another choice is imaginative layered vanilla. Aptly named, it looks velvety, but is more highly priced at $11.
The Passionfruit tart
At $8 is the least expensive option. Speckled with tart, fresh passionfruit it is a shot of summer orange.
You can order from the Zumbo website full cakes. It is possible to order online and pick up in store. Otherwise you are at the mercy of your indecision when faced with the reality of the temptation.
A Zumbo dessert satisfies far more than just your tastebuds. It is a full sensory experience from the moment you have your packaged cake handed to you like a wrapped present.
Zumbo offers a creamy sweet chai that has a condensed milk quality to the flavour and pairs well with the dessert. The coffee is made with skill and the cup is a good size to satisfy, keeping the drink warm and accentuating the crema
The Sth Yarra store has flexible opening hours. You can stay til 7pm later in the week. This is very helpful if you want to have coffee and dessert before a film or wind down with a treat at the end of the working week.