Cafes

Bibelot | The Verdict

By Sarah Willcocks - 12 May 2015

Gluten-free, paleo and clean eaters may want to look away now (as should 5:2 eaters if you happened to click through to here on your fast day). The rest of this post may prove to be torture. Sweet, sweet, torture. Happily, this means more left over for the rest of us at Bibelot. Pronounced bib-loh, Bibelot is a brand new dessert parlour and high tea salon from the evil geniuses behind Chez Dré. Its location also neighbours the cult South Melbourne patisserie boulangerie (which will now focus more on the cafe side of things).

The name Bibelot is French for “a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity”. In this instance, the curiously beautiful small objects are macarons, biscuits and tiny cakes from the mind and kitchen of pastry chef Andrea “Dre” Reiss. Walking though the door at Bibelot, I feel as though it’s possible to passively contract a sugar rush.

On one side of the weighty marble bar that makes up sucrose central at Bibelot is an ice cream and sorbet station. Choosing between softened scoops of chocolate and peanut caramel or caramel and sablé breton ice cream is a no-win situation. Here you’ll also find rivers of dark and milk chocolate, quite literally, on tap. It gets drizzled over the frozen stuff and hardens to form a shell similar to an upscale version of Ice Magic.

Turning the corner are dessert display cases calling out to visitors like something out of an old-school British children’s book. Row upon row of glossily iced pastries make your now-hungry eyes gleam just as much as they do. Éclairs, gateaux and other petite sweet treats are topped with garnishes as posh as gold leaf or as down-home nostalgia-inducing as chocolate crackles. Next to this is where the cookies, biscuits and chocolate bon-bons live. But not for long if my dangerously rumbling tummy has anything to do with it.

Bibelot will soon be offering high tea sessions in a dedicated space marked by monochrome mosaics and plush green velvet banquettes (no doubt a shout out to the more-masculine versions of these seats and tiles next door at Chez Dre, also courtesy of designers Breathe Architecture). I thought I was over Melbourne’s collective penchant for high tea, but Reiss’s fastidiously crafted petit fours may just have lured me back in. Savouries, including Chez Dre’s spot-on breads, will keep my fellow salt-tooths satiated.

Don’t worry about overloading the senses in a single visit—they do take away, perfect for stocking our secret stashes at home with selected artisan products. Squirrel away honey by Maya Sunny, tea by Hand Pickers and Particle’s lovely cinnamon. Slabs of single origin or couverture chocolate will be my go-to, accented with ingredients like green tea, caramelised sesame seed or crispy freeze-dried raspberries. Plus, Bibelot has a (buyable) library of dessert-focussed cookbooks to feed your mind too.

Do put this fancier version of Chez Dré at the top your must visit/must scoff list. And count on fixing up a green salad for dinner.

Bibelot | South Melbourne

Image Credit: Sabine Legrand for The Urban List

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