Melbourne’s best croissants
For a taste of Paris discover the Melbourne patisseries making the best, perfectly flaky, buttery croissants.
You don't have to go to Paris to get an amazing croissant because, thankfully, Melbourne boasts some of the best patisseries in Australia – if not the world. Ever since The New York Times singled out Lune Croissanterie in Fitzroy as possibly making the world's best croissant, many other patisseries have risen to the challenge. Celebrity chef Gabriel Gaté estimates about 15 to 20 patisseries in Melbourne create croissants on par with their counterparts in Paris.
As one of Melbourne's best patisseries, Lune makes beautiful buttery croissants. Image: Josie Withers, Visit Victoria.
But first, what makes a good croissant?
Gabriel says the perfect croissant should be crisp and flaky on the outside and aerated like honeycomb inside, so that after that first buttery bite it springs back into shape. “The key is to have one that’s been baked on the premises,” he says. “There are lots of croissants that are made in factories or made too far in advance, and that freshness is lost.”
Gabriel says croissants can be tricky to perfect, and even the most experienced pastry chefs occasionally botch a batch. It is a two-to-three-day process, giving the dough time to develop its complex taste and texture. After hand lamination on the second day (a process of folding and rolling butter repeatedly into the dough to create super-thin layers), the croissants are shaped and left to proof until ready to bake. “If it has not risen to the full amount, or risen too quickly, or there has been a change of temperature, then suddenly you can have a batch that’s not quite right,” Gabriel says. “It may not be aerated enough. You need to have those bubbles of air.”
Value for money
Everyone has their favourite patisserie, but some stand out from the pack with their golden pastries and delectable twists on tried-and-true classics. It’s also not necessary to pay top dollar to get the Parisian experience. Lune’s $6.20 traditional croissant is worth every cent, but Noisette also produces a fine croissant that it sells for $4.20.
Ok, so now you know what goes into making the perfect croissant, here’s our list of stand-out patisseries across Melbourne.
Noisette's delicious croissants are aerated like honeycomb inside. Image: Supplied.
Melbourne's best croissants
There’s only one thing to say about Lune’s pastries: Oh là là! Their croissant takes those crispy, buttery, soft layers to the next level. Lune is dedicated to the craft of what the French call Viennoiserie – Viennese pastries – and not surprisingly, a former Formula 1 aerodynamicist, Kate Reid, is one of the people behind this pursuit of perfection. The converted warehouse, where you can see the bakers at work, looks like a state-of-the-art laboratory. See if you too can resist their lemon curd cruffin or twice-baked croissant aux amandes.
119 Rose Street, Fitzroy and Shop 16, 161 Collins St, CBD, lunecroissanterie.com
From the French accent of the owner, Agathé Kerr, to the French-trained pastry chefs in the open kitchen, Agathé Pâtisserie has a genuine Parisian vibe. After six years, Agathe Kerr is still enticing people from far and wide to South Melbourne Market with her fresh French pastries, cakes and baguettes. The plain croissant is her biggest seller, but customers usually leave with another buttery treat, be it an escargot or custard heart. Influenced by Melbourne’s great Asian dining options, Agathe created the slightly sweet and nutty pandan croissant, which is now a staple on her counter.
Stall Number 63, Location Aisle B, South Melbourne Market, southmelbournemarket.com.au/traders/agathe-patisserie
In an area well serviced by bakeries and patisseries, this petit, two-metre-by-five-metre patisserie opened in September last year, and locals have been lining up for its eclectic range of pastries ever since. The croissant has a crisp exterior and cushiony interior, both indications of a fine croissant. Owner/operator Giorgia McAllister Forte is a perfectionist – and experimentalist – and you’ll also find pastries with exotic fillings such nduja, fried walnuts and sage. The most popular pastry is the leatherwood honey and sea salt croissant, a light, delicately sweet treat, with the salt offsetting the honey glaze.
585a Canning Street Carlton North , monforteviennoiserie.com
The bayside suburbs have several patisseries that locals swear by, but if you’re looking for the best croissant this side of town, it’s in Moorabbin. Tucked away on the edge of an industrial estate, Mattisse Bread makes a perfect-sized croissant that lives up to the French maxim of everything in moderation. Flaky and springy, it also has a lovely, moreish aftertaste. Mattisse has been making pastries and artisan sourdough bread since 2001, and it specialises in gluten-free breads, using buckwheat, a flavour that might transport you to a café in Paris serving galettes (buckwheat pancakes).
161 Chesterville Road, Moorabbin, mattisse.com.au
Gordon St Bakery
Despite being off the beaten track, Gordon St Bakery is spot on when it comes to baking a crowd-pleasing croissant. Perfectly sized, the croissants are slightly sweeter than others on the list. The air cells are also smaller, giving the croissant a firmer texture, but the winning factor is the light, crunchy exterior and lovely buttery taste. Owner Wilhelm Isaac grew up in Paris, and his pastries are imbued with French finesse and flavour. He also worked at another highly recommended bakery, Woodfrog in St Kilda, before opening Gordon St Bakery. See if you resist his galette des rois, a French tart with almond cream filling.
63 Gordon Street, Footscray, gordonstbakery.com
Parisian Baker lives up to its name with exquisitely light and fluffy croissants with a subtle tang and hint of sweetness. Parisian Baker is open seven days a week, which must be a big tease for anyone trying to resist gorging pastries every day. Authenticity is the key to Parisian Baker’s success. Chef and owner Neil McKenzie lived in Paris and trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, and that French flair comes through in all the pastries and cakes, with the croquembouche perhaps being the pièce de resistance.
19 Keilor Rd, Essendon, parisianbaker.com
Noisette will entice you with salted caramel popcorn danishes and passion mango cruffins, but don’t overlook their plain croissant. It’s a testament to nearly 200 years of traditional French baking. Noisette founder David Menard is a 5th generation baker, and his family’s baking expertise goes back to 1825. The plain croissant is a perfectly poised combo of flakiness and buttery bounce. While their Port Melbourne store is closed for renovations, you can still get all their sweet treats and traditional breads at the Bentleigh café. They are celebrating Bastille Day with “French flag vanilla macarons”.
412 Centre Road, Bentleigh, noisette.com.au
Baker D. Chirico
Whether you’re in St Kilda, Carlton or South Yarra, Baker D. Chirico is the go-to bakery for delicious pastries and artisan breads. Their plain croissant is a crisp, pillowy sensation. Daniel Chirico opened his first bakery in St Kilda 20 years ago, and he continues to fend off stiff competition from other inner-city bakeries. Like Lune, great attention has been paid to the look and feel of the Carlton store, which has stylish, undulating wooden slats covering the rear wall and ceiling. It’s worth picking up one of their signature apple-fermented sourdough loaves while you’re there.
178 Faraday St, Carlton; 149 Fitzroy St, St Kilda; 183 Domain Rd, South Yarra, bakerdchirico.com.au
All Are Welcome
With Michelin-star pastry chef Boris Portnoy as one of the co-owners, All Are Welcome’s two stores deliver rather exceptional viennoiseries. Their plain croissant is the largest in size on our list, but perhaps that’s a reflection of their generous and welcoming ways. Their temptations include multi-layered European cakes, delicious sourdough breads and a delectable alternative to the almond croissant – the jam and frangipane bostock. Portnoy might hail from Moscow and New York rather than Paris, but all the pastries and breads have that je ne sais quoi.
190 High Street, Northcote, and 887 High Street, Thornbury, all-are-welcome.com