Thursday, 26 June 2008

Adriano Zumbo at Balmain

I first read about Adriano Zumbo over at Not Quite Nigella. The more NQN wrote about him, the more smitten I became. I had no idea where Balmain was in the scheme of things in Sydney, and I know DD was a little concerned about the traffic driving across town, but I was very hopeful he would agree to go. He did agree to go, wonderful boy that he is, although he did want to leave the house very early so we would get through the city before the traffic really started to kick in. We left at 6am and the traffic updates on the radio were already reporting delays.

We found Adriano's tiny little pattiserie on Darling Street in Balmain, very close to the Woolworths. The store is very narrow, but one long side is lined with masterpieces of cake and pastries.

The staff there are fabulous, the gentleman who served us was only too happy to talk about the range, food blogging, great food sites in Sydney, Kitchenaids, you name it! He even made some market recommendations on our second visit, telling us that we had to try the bacon and egg roll at the Orange Grove Markets (more on that later). He was also very nice when I asked if I could take a photo, but he asked me to make sure the cakes looked good. I hope my photography is worthy of them. Trust me, they look even more amazing in person.

We visited twice. The first time I chose a selection to try.

Almond croissant: this was heady with what I think was amaretto in the centre filling. The croissant was lovely and flakey with a gentle sweet glaze. It was also huge!

Macarons (peanut butter and lemon curd): I have never tasted a true macaron, even though I have tried my hand at making my own. These were fantastic. They were light with a perfect filling to outside ratio. The peanut flavour was pure and true and the lemon curd was divine.

Piste as she goes: I really really liked this one. There was just so much contrast to the textures between the layers. Piste as she goes is praline riz souffle, milk chocolate mousse, cinnamon ganache and pistachio mousse. It was flavourful in almost a spicy way. The textures were my favourite though, from the crunchy crackly base to the silky smoothness of the mousses.

Chocolate sacher: This is layers of chocolate sacher cake and dark chocolate ganache layers. It was decadently rich and pure chocolate heaven.

Chocadz: We were also given a chocadz to try, as the guy serving said that it was his favourite in the entire shop. The chocadz is a base of hazlenut meringue, salted caramel ganache, milk chocolate and rolled in nuts. I had never tasted salted caramel before, but after one bite of this I was hooked. The entire centre of this little tower is pure salted caramel ganache, and when you take a bite your teeth just sink into caramelly goodness. The meringue base is a wonderful counterbalance to the thick salted caramel. I had to agree, this was one of my favourites too.

Cloud 9: While we didn't try Cloud 9, I had to take a picture of it. It, like all the other cakes in the store, is a pure work of art. Almost too good looking to be eaten. Almost.

We returned later in the week for a second visit. The same guy was serving and even remembered us. That could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it, hehe. This time I had promised DD I would be quick, so I chose a selection of macarons.

Macarons (lemon curd, peppermint, passionfruit, rose and I think orange was the last one): I love these delicate little macarons. Lemon curd is my hands down favourite, but I also enjoyed the passionfruit. The other three, while beautifully flavoured, just weren't flavours that I enjoy so it's entirely my issues that stopped me from enjoying these beauties.

In addition to the macarons, I also bought every possible thing in the store that had salted caramel in it. That meant more Chocadz, a salted caramel chocolate and this:

I can't remember his name or what he was or what was in him apart from salted caramel, but he was the most delicious, delectable thing I have ever tasted! The crisp layers had a gorgeous toffee crunch to them which mixed beautifully with the creamy filling. I did share these cakes with DD's mum, and this one was by far our biggest favourite. I wish I wish I had taken more notice of what he was when I bought him.

Update: he is a salted caramel mille-feuille (thanks bowb!)

I hope that everyone at Adriano Zumbo, including the great man himself, knows how much pleasure his creations bring to everyone who tries them, because seeing these wonderous cakes and tasting these amazing flavours was an experience in itself, and I am very glad that I had the opportunity.

Adriano Zumbo Patissier
296 Darling St
Balmain, NSW
Ph 02 9810 7318


  1. your mystery cake is the salted caramel mille-feuille, and i agree, rather good! ;)

  2. Thanks bowb, I felt so bad not being able to give him a name