If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Melbourne versus Sydney, it’s that Melburnians are far more likely to commit to lining up for food.
I can relate: I once waited two and a half hours to get into a new dim sum restaurant – and the dumpling coma was worth it.
Speaking of worthwhile queueing, those who choose to stand outside a certain hole-in-the-wall in Carlton North know their patience will be richly rewarded.
Monforte Viennoiserie (a fancy French term for all things involving flaky, golden, buttery laminated pastry) has gained a cult following since opening in the middle of last year during the pandemic and, come rain, hail or shine (believe me, I’ve been there for all three), people come from all around to get their hands on Giorgia McAllister Forte’s artful creations.
From croissants glazed in lush leatherwood honey and sprinkled with sea salt to Danish shapes filled with wild garlic and oozy stracciatella and twisted knots laced with passion fruit and caramelised coconut white chocolate, there are sweet and savoury fancies to please everyone – unless you’re that poor soul standing behind the guy who bought the last one Fusing French technique with seasonal gems and local producers such as Birdsnake Chocolate, the evolving offering of four to five menu items is the Pokemon of pastry: gotta catch ’em all.
It may not exactly be Paris, but is Carlton North sort of the Paris of Melbourne’s northern suburbs? Probably not, but there’s always a grassy patch in the sun on one of the neighbourhood’s double-wide streets in which to brunch alfresco with your bae.
And in our current Victorian environment, it tastes like a little bit of much-needed freedom, even if covered in golden crumbs of delectable pastry.
Monforte Viennoiserie, 585 Canning St, Carlton North, Vic, @monforteviennoiserie
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