The epitome of café decadence, French Fantasies will fulfil your wildest pastry dreams. Glass cabinets display their contents like priceless museum pieces, with flaky pastries, smooth custards and creamy chocolates, the mere sight of which would make most sweet tooths weak at the knees.
The French are known for their dessert making skills and one often hears of the glory of French pastries. Unfortunately, some companies have decided if you label it French, it must be so and more often than not, pastries claiming to be that mythical French delight can be very disappointing. But I have found that ever-elusive pastry perfection at French Fantasies in South Yarra.
French Fantasies is made up of two sections: the bakery, and the café. The café is a place you can relax, unwind and experience a little taste of fresh French indulgence. The mille- feuille that I encountered had crisp, flaky puff pastry, the kind you know has been hand made, and silky smooth custard wedged in the layers. The chocolate royale had a light mouse that dissolved the moment it hit my mouth.
You would expect to be sick after so many sweets, but I found they had not been supersaturated by sugar. There are savoury options if you choose, but you will need an iron will to go past the cake display. Then again why choose? You could start with one of the mouth-watering breakfast or lunch options and finish with something a little sweeter.
If you are conflicted with indecision when confronted by magnificent displays of desserts, you may want to make your visit on a Saturday. On Saturdays, French Fantasies make tiny bite sized versions of all their indulgent desserts, so you won't face the daunting (and potentially impossible) task of picking one.
The bakery next door is where all the action happens. The little shop that contains it, sells a variety of French smallgoods in addition to the fresh baked breads. Through a window in the shop, you can see the bakers and patisserie connoisseurs at work on their masterpieces.
French Fantasies has captured that thing many places can only mimic, the true art of pastry making. Needless to say, the ham and cheese croissant I purchased as a memento had somehow vanished in the time it took me to reach the car and the only trace I could find were some flaky crumbs by the roadside.