Ever since that wild-eyed pastry chef gave everyone vertigo with his macaron tower on Masterchef, the world has gone a little bit macaron crazy. And there is a small cafe on Sydney Road that has achieved a little bit of glory by winning the title of Melbourne's Best Signature Macaron at the inaugural competition.
But for me, the yummy macarons aren't even the best thing about Choukette, 318 Sydney Road. The best thing is the feeling of being in Paris as soon as you step inside. The French pop music playing on the speakers, the dazzling array of cakes, all made on the premises, the incredible croissants, and coffee that hits the spot.
Another great thing about the place is the complete lack of hipster haughtiness-polished concrete-hot spot vibe that is the signature of a lot of other cafes in the inner North.
Have I mentioned the cakes? Chef Nans Wojtczak really knows his way around sugar, butter and chocolate. The multi layered chocolate royale is just scrumptious, the lemon tart might be the best one you've ever eaten, and the éclair has the ability to transport you directly to the streets of Paris. Plus there is ice cream, baguettes, pies, biscuits and pastries, all made in the cavernous kitchen out the back.
On the down side, there is no toilet. And you do need to be careful of the scavenger-like tow trucks waiting around the corner at 2.55 pm ready to take your car away from the Clearway. But if you ride your bike, while wearing your beret, with a baguette in the basket, this won't matter anyway.