296 Darling Street, Balmain, NSW 2040
Brace yourselves for some hardcore food porn as I take you on a brief visit to the Adriano Zumbo’s flagship store in Balmain, arguably Sydney’s definitive patisserie.
A 1 metre-wide corridor runs between the glass display of treats and a solid wall.
Be prepared to jostle past patrons gazing in wide-eyed wonder to place your order!
The amalgam of butter, caramelised sugar and layers of exotic flavouring agents was nothing short of spectacular.
It was honestly difficult to choose within the limits of our collective budget and appetite for everything looked so amazing.
The quirky array crammed into the tiny shop was pretty mind-boggling...
There was – to my surprise – quite a number of savoury things on display.
Not to mention staples like bread, so Zumbo certainly covers all the bases.
I, however, resisted the urge to be sidetracked and focused on my initial purpose: the sweet stuff.
Don the Pandan Man ($9) captures Zumbo’s passion for all things Southeast Asian with a robustly flavoured yet light pandan financier slipped into a sheath of coconut cream and yoghurt. Kaffir lime accents in the crispy base lingers subtly at the edge of one’s palate for a delightful finish.
Macrons ($2.30 each) are perhaps what Zumbo’s most famous for and we snatched at least one of each flavour available.
Black Sesame, Licorice and Lime has a crisp outer shell and chewy interior. The dominant, almost peppery Licorice makes for an interesting experience. A warning though, this is a confusing taste profile.
Pandan surprises with a subtle, transient hint of glutinous rice followed by banana before the full-bodied screw pine comes through.
Mint and Chestnut possesses a strong flavour that one either loves or hates, I loved it.
Satay illustrates how Australians have yet to realise peanut butter and lemongrass is no substitute for the real thing.
Chocolate has a beautiful bittersweetness and richness but comes across as too chewy and dense. Perhaps an attempt at mimicking fudge?
Vanilla has the best texture, perfectly blending crisp delicacy and melt-in-your-mouth chewy pliancy. A mildly salty buttercream base forms the perfect stage for rich but not overpowering vanilla from visible vanilla beans.
Japanese Mayonnaise is a risk that pays off in spades. Actual savoury mayonnaise at its centre juxtaposes the sweet shell for an undeniably pleasurable experience. The tiny smear of the stuff renderd it a little on the dry side though.
Coconut and Black Rice triggered an intense bout of nostalgia in me as it is the perfect occidental take on Pulot hitam; perfectly rich and salty-sweet.
Samsung Honeycomb and Gingerbread develops on the tongue, honeycomb first then lingering gingery warmth.