Monday 23 February 2009

Sydney Gastronome: Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat

View from N&N's balcony, Milson's Point

As I mentioned the other week, I spent last weekend up in New South Wales. I went up with the family to Newcastle to join in the celebrations for the milestone birthday of the mother of my new aunt-in-law.

We'd flown up to Newcastle, but the flight back was from Sydney so on the Sunday morning we drove down to Sydney, my uncle driving his brand new car, an Aston Martin DB9 (aka the car from the latest James Bond movies). The car was pale blue. It was outrageous. And sexy. And outrageously sexy.

It rained the whole time, which was slightly surreal for us bushfiery Victorians.

When I'd found out the week before that I'd be in Sydney for six hours on Sunday, I'd started planning my afternoon. I'd known from the start that I'd want to visit Adriano Zumbo's new cafe, and I was very keen to spend a few hours swanning around Surry Hills, taking the walking tour designed by Lucy of The Design Files fame. I'd emailed Sydneysider friends J and D, asking whether they were free to catch up for lunch or coffee. The charming J joined me for lunch despite feeling somewhat tender the day after Good Vibes, but as for D... he hadn't surfaced post-Vibes. What a piece of work.

Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat
Shop 5, 308 Darling Street, Balmain (map)
(02) 9555 1199
Open 7 days, 7am-6pm

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie

I stumbled upon Adriano Zumbo's pâtisserie last time I visited Sydney, and was happy to subsequently discover that A.Zum has quite the cult following amongst Sydney food bloggers. So when I read Not Quite Nigella's review of the Chocolat Cafe that he was opening a few doors down from his pâtisserie (plus NQN's extended interview with the very dishy A.Zum himself) I knew I HAD to visit.

I got down to Balmain a little early so went to check out the pâtisserie first. The girl serving was an absolute sweetheart (they're blogger-friendly, this lot) and was very happy for me to take photos of the cakes. I actually didn't end up buying any of the cakes but if I had, I would've gone for the Maxiadz, the Cloud 9 or that scandalously rich-looking Millefeuille.

Adriano Zumbo mogadorAdriano Zumbo cherry cherryAdriano Zumbo cloud 9Adriano Zumbo wheely good
Adriano Zumbo barbadosAdriano Zumbo Ed Knocked Me UpAdriano Zumbo millefeuilles à la vanilleAdriano Zumbo maxiadz
Adriano Zumbo scuroAdriano Zumbo fleur d'fraiseAdriano Zumbo odeonAdriano Zumbo da bomb

I DID however buy one of those vibrant passionfruit tarts to share with Mum, plus one of every flavour of macaron they had in the place to take home to Melbourne to share with housemate DJ. And yes, they're "macarons", not "macaroons". Those wanting to know more about macarons vs macaroons should read what Melbourne's foremost macaron expert has to say on the subject here.

Adriano Zumbo citron tartsAdriano Zumbo tartes aux fruits de la passion

And on to the cafe itself! It's down a little shopping arcade, with tables out the front and only one large table and a few couches inside. At the counter, there was a selection of chocolates (including the notorious Cameltoe chocolate, named for its shape - !!) and a few more macarons.

Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat

Cute, cosy interior. The dark, varnished wood reminded me of a ski lodge. I ordered a coffee and then kicked myself for not ordering a hot chocolate instead - J had a dark chocolate one and from the sip I had it was divine, natch.

Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat

J and I both decided to cut to the chase and just order sweet desserty things for lunch. I ordered a dish called "It's a Macaron not a Hamburger!!!" ($13.50), which is a big chocolate macaron filled with dulce de leche gelato served on a bed of banana caramel rice pudding and topped with "chocolate soil" (cookie crumbs). Very rich (couldn't finish it) but delicious, and nice textures.

My lunch: "It's a macaron, not a hamburger"

J went for the "Paris - La Vie en Rose" (also $13.50): rose crème brûlée, raspberry sorbet balls, fresh lychees and petit rose macarons, served with a coconut strawberry tapioca shake. And rose petals! It really was an extremely pretty dish.

Joel's "Paris" lunch

He didn't much fancy the shake, but J liked the brûlée a lot. He gave me a quarter of a petit rose macaron - it was fabulous.

Adriano Zumbo Cafe ChocolatJoel's "Paris" lunch - detail

Afterwards, we shared a cab to Surry Hills and I embarked upon Lucy's walking tour. I saw some gorgeous stuff, thanks heaps for posting the map Lucy!

Loved the interior of the Object Gallery and their exhibition Abundant: Highlights from the Australian Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

"Abundant: highlights from the Australian Pavilion at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale" at Object Gallery, Surry Hills

Seen in Foveaux Street.

Foveaux Street, Surry Hills

Cute mobiles in Spence and Lyda.

Spence & Lyda, Surry Hills

Back at uncle and aunt's apartment in Milsons Point, about to split the passionfruit tart with Mum. The tart was TO DIE FOR.

Zumbo passion fruit tart

And here are the macarons!

Adriano Zumbo macarons

In descending columns in the photo below, from left to right, we have: chocolate; vanilla; cherry coconut with chocolate filling; pistachio, rose; citron; orange with chocolate filling; passionfruit; orange; earl grey; coffee; rice pudding.

Adriano Zumbo macarons

I would like to report to you that they were all delicious... but unfortunately DJ, best-friend-K and I only got through half of them on the Sunday night (highlights included the citron and the earl grey). Returning home from work on Monday night I was aghast to discover that I hadn't properly sealed the container I'd put the rest in, and they were infested with ants. Giant space ants. Bloody drought, driving all the ants inside! We hates them, my precious!!

Bushfire haze over Melbourne

Bushfire haze on the flight back to Melbourne. :-(


Anonymous said...

Wow, you really did Sydney in style Claire! :) Love the idea of driving in the Aston Martin too! Look at all of those gorgeous heart shaped macarons *sigh* You did so well...

Anonymous said...

Oh no Claire, you've made me homesick for Sydney. So now I'm hanging out for your next Melbourne blog to ease the "missing"!

Cindy said...

What a fabulous whirlwind visit. My jaw actually dropped when I saw "Paris - La Vie en Rose"... that's the dessert for me!

bunchesmcginty said...

Wow, this is definitely a sugar high.

I am guessing it was worth it.

claire said...

Thanks Lorraine! It was lots of fun. My friend C and I are planning a mini break in Sydney sometime in the next few months, will def ask you for recommendations.

Aw, sorry Anthea! Got singing rehearsal and newly-downloaded Mad Men episode keeping me busy tonight, but will write up a Melbourne post for you on Tuesday night. :)

Glad my post inspired jaw dropping on your part Cindy. It was gorgeous. They also have a crazy/awesome dish of chocolate fondant and peanut butter icecream served in a kidney dish with a syringe filled with raspberry sauce (check Not Quite Nigella for photos), had J and I not hesitated about peanut butter one of us would have ordered it for sure, just for the aesthetics...

TOTALLY worth it, Bunches. And I'm not normally even much of a sweet tooth!

Anonymous said...

Those are the most beautiful macarons I have seen! Thank you for educating me on the difference between macarons/macaroooooons, my life feels far more enriched now.

claire said...

Hey t, happy to have, um, enriched your life... :)

Anonymous said...

I really need to make sure I only look at your blog on a full stomach, those pictures are making my tummy growl at the unfairness of being so far from Sydney and those cakes... and those macarons... wow.

claire said...

Hannah, my tummy also growls at the unfairness of being so far from Zumbo. If I were to move to Sydney I'd seriously consider living near Balmain so that I could have easy access :)

OohLookBel said...

I love using your blog to plan my Melbourne trips (not so many of late, alas). It was fun seeing your take on my 'local' (Zumbo!).

Anonymous said...

Cool travelogue, Claire. Now it seems we have something in common, with your Zumbo macarons stolen by beasties too... yours were ants and mine was a seagull!

Were his macarons okay? On my visit they were too hard, amongst other probs.

claire said...

Hey Belle, glad my blog has been handy for your travel planning! Which Melbourne places have you tried? I loooove your local (joined the A.Zum facebook appreciation group too)! :)

Thanks Duncan! The animal kingdom clearly has a thing for macarons.
I lack your expertise of course, but I really liked his macarons (not too crunchy, the filling was lovely and soft).