I must admit, I was pretty sceptical about Patissez when I first decided to check it out over the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I was super excited to see a new patisserie and cafe open up in Canberra but at the same time I was pretty nervous. I love all things sweet but when it comes to pastries, I can get pretty pedantic and picky.
Since moving to Canberra, I’ve sampled tons of goodies from pastry, cake and dessert shops all over Canberra and in my experience, I find there are definitely more misses than hits. I know that sounds horribly negative and ‘food criticy’ but it’s just an opinion. Canberra has some darn fine patisseries but they’re definitely few and far between so whenever I see a new patisserie pop up, I get really excited, hoping that I’ll be able to add to my list of awesome patisseries in Canberra. Of course, at the same time I wonder if I’m about to waste a meal on something not so great. Another thing that raised my level of paranoia about this place was that I’ve never been super keen on Manuka in general, I just never seem to have a great meal there.
Hence, my reservations.
Well, I guess this is a bit of a spoiler alert, but as with Penny’s in Kingston, Patissez is was actually a really delightful surprise and easily a standout amongst its peers. I was sceptical but on sampling the food and the cakes, everything that we tried was pretty darn tasty.
Patissez is a cosy little cafe nestled in between Ona on the Lawns and Urban Pantry, right on the Manuka Lawns. The shop is simple and quite small with only about two tables for larger groups and a couple of smaller tables for those dining in two or threes inside. Outside, there are a couple more smaller tables. Normally, I try to avoid sitting outside since it gets horribly cold and windy in Canberra but here at Patissez, I opted for an outside table. The tables outside are shielded from the wind, and there is also a heater on each side, keeping us nice and snug. It was also a lot more peaceful as it was quite cramped and noisy inside.
Although the decor is quite simple, the food is anything but. The menu comprises of many traditional dishes, but all with a hipster twist. There are also burgers and a couple of sweet brekkie goodies for those who who like to start the morning on something sweet. Of course, outside of the cafe options, there is an extensive drinks menu, which includes coffee with Belaroma beans as well as a couple of super awesome shakes. Another thing that surprised me was that they had matcha lattes! I absolutely love them and not enough places do them! Outside of their cafe offerings, Patissez also has a range of vegan, GF and normal scrumptious and playful pastries.
Like with any good foodie hot spot, Patissez sources the majority of its produce locally, with all the meats from Jordo’s Chop Shop, while the bread comes from Canbera’s favourite (or close to) bakery, Autolyse. There are a lot more suppliers, but I won’t take the time to list them all here, suffice it to say they seem to be quite respectable sources.
When I originally headed out to try out Patissez, I was only interested in their pastries. However, after having a quick squizz at the menu, everything just kind of caught my eye. I just couldn’t say no, so we decided to grab a table and sample of few of Patissez’s cafe options. So apparently, Patissez has only started serving food in the last two days. Prior to that, they were focusing on coffees and cakes. Must say, we definitely came here on the right day!
Our first dish from Patissez was the The Cheesy Scramble ($12), cheesy scrambled eggs with crispy bacon and a potato rosti on a brioche milk bun. Not only does this look amazing, it also 101% lives up taste wise as well. The burger wasn’t overly complex, just three elements but each were done really well and together they made for some delicious mouthfuls. The cheesy scrambled egg was super buttery and creamy, it was cooked perfectly, leaving it in a yolky and moist manner. Cheesy scrambled eggs was something I first experienced over at Penny University in Kingston. It’s something I absolutely fell in love with and here was no different.
The scramble eggs were coupled with a crispy, pan fried bacon which added all the meaty and savoury flavours that you would hope for some a breakfast burger. They gave you probably a bit too much bacon, though I’m sure no one is ever going to complain about that. The visual effect of a burger coming out with giant bacon tentacles coming out of it is a really cool one.
Finally, to top it all off and leaving the best part until last, there was a potato rosti. The rosti was amazing, definitely on the softer side but with bits of crunchiness laced throughout it and best of all, the rosti was just so full of flavour. It was super herby and had a strong shallot flavour to it, this more earthy flavour complimented the savoury flavour of the bacon perfectly. Finally, all the ingredients were nested in a brioche milk bun, that help soften the flavours. The brioche did a good job of not overpowering the ingredients in the bun and making things too bready. One thing I should mention is that this dish is surprisingly messy to eat. You’ve been warned.
The second dish that we opted for was The Field ($17), portobello mushrooms and poaches eggs on crusty bread with goats cheese, a balsamic reduction, shaved truffle and toasted pine nuts. Like with the The Cheesy Scramble, this was another super tasty dish but unlike the burger, this dish was much lighter and cleaner, the perfect way to start of the weekend.
There was nothing super fancy or complex about this dish but it was different to your typical mod oz brekkie joint. There was just that prefect balance of texture and flavour. The crispy bread with the flavoursome and buttery mushrooms and to top it all off, the creaminess from the egg yolks and this lovely caramelised and earthy sweetness from the balsamic reduction. I also really appreciated the fact that the mushrooms weren’t overly powerful or salty. I find mushroom dishes can get a little too much real quick, especially as they’re salty as hell when it comes to cooking and too many places are just too heavy handed with them, a bit like anchovies but for vegetarians!
Here is a shoot of the poached eggs. In the tale of poached or pwned, the answer is, very close to poached! They weren’t perfectly poached but no where near pwned or anything like that and considering how some bad poached eggs seem to get in Canberra, I thought these weren’t bad at all. There was still definitely enough yolk to cover the mushrooms and soak into the crispy bread, giving it some moistness.
As a part of Patissez menu, you can add house made hollandise sauce to anything at no extra cost. Woot! I’m a massive fan of hollandaise sauce, that butter and yolky goodness with a hint of citrus at the end. Its like the lemon curd (I really like lemon curd, I have been known to eat spoonfuls for dessert) of breakfast. I of course gladly ordered some, it was given to us in a seperate side bowl next to our burger, I guess it fit a lot better there as far as the plate goes. To be honest, Ouk originally thought it was a cheesy sauce for his burger, and he doused his burger in it. He recommends doing the same because it made the burger absolutely amazing, so keep that in mind out there! For me, the hollandaise sauce added that extra richness that I really enjoy but of course if you’re the healthier type, it may not be to your fancy. But each to their own!
I was here at Patissez to sample their cakes and I couldn’t leave without sampling at least a few! We got there at about 2PM and the selection was still quite solid. They had sold out on one or two choices but overall they still had plenty of goodness to try. Plus, the variety was great! There were whole cakes that you could purchase in slices, these looked pretty amazing, some were traditional while others were a lot more fancy, like Turkish Delight and peanut butter. I saw one guy eating a slice of the cake, and the cake itself was probably 13cm tall and the slice was 5cm wide. Pretty amazing value. There were also tarts, slices, chia cups and gluten free options as well. A couple of the treats also looked really vibrant and colour with fluro greens, pinks and what nots.
I decided to opt for something a little more interesting and familiar to my Asian palette, the Matcha and pistachio slice ($8), matcha cream coupled with pistachio cream between matcha cake. I love matcha, its up there with pandan and taro for me. When I think of cakes, desserts and sweet treats, these are the flavours that come to mind and make me nostalgic for my childhood, I grew up on these flavours as opposed to chocolate, caramel or strawberry sauce. So, I get very excited when I see it in Western patisseries. In my experience, the Asian palette is quite different, so our traditional cakes and desserts tend to be a lot lighter and fluffier, but a lot less rich and decadent. Hence, its not everyday you get to see the richness of French cooking coupled with amazing Asian flavours. But here at Patissez, you do!
This cake was the perfect balance between Western richness and the delicate flavours of Asian desserts. The flavour of the matcha permeates throughout the cake layer, there is also a good amount of it in the top layer of cream. This strong and almost bitter tea flavour is complimented by a couple of lovely and rich layers and pistachio cream. Between the cream and the cake, the overall slice is perfectly moist and delicious. If, for whatever reason you find the cake a little too rich, there is also a syringe full of acidic apple concentrate which really helps to change the overall feel of the cake.
Our second treat from Patissez was the Salted caramel pop slide ($6.50) with coconut dacquoise, salted caramel crème brûlée parfait, caramelised saffron apple centre, white chocolate and honeycomb. I normally get pretty sceptical when I see places offering cakes like this. I kind of just assume they’re trying to go for the hipster appeal, but the taste just never seems to live up to the cool appearance. Luckily here at Patissez, this wasn’t an issue.
While the matcha slice felt more intricate and ‘mature’, this was a delightfully rich and decadent treat for your sweet tooth. Although the pop slide was really sweet, it was still extremely well done with many different elements, flavours and textures throughout the cake. The flavours also played off each other really well, helping the cake stay enjoyable right until the end without one element becoming way too much (which happens a lot with cakes like this). The the sourness and fruitiness from the saffron apple centre really helped to balance out the sweetness of the salted caramel. In addition to this, the coconut dacquoise and honeycomb added all the texture that you need to keep the pop slide interesting and exciting throughout.
Finally the food out of the way. Of course, we couldn’t call this complete without drinks and so of course, we grabbed a couple of drinks from Patissez. First up, the Matcha latte ($4, regular). As you may know now, I absolutely love matcha, when it comes to flavours, it’s my red velvet cupcake. So, I get pretty excited when I see it on a menu, especially in Canberra! This is because matcha is more of an Asian flavour and there is a smaller (but no worse!) Asian community in Canberra compared to say Sydney or Melbourne, so these types of treats are much harder to come by than I’m used to.
The matcha latte at Patissez is quite unique to others that you’ll find in Canberra and nothing like the ones you can get in Sydney, and I mean this in the most positive way possible. Matcha lattes are mainly served in Asian cafes and restuarants and with the coffee culture only really becoming an thing now in Asian places, you’ll find that most matcha lattes come out really sweet (perfect for me of course) but much sweeter than a normal coffee loving person would prefer. Here at Patissez, the matcha latte comes out with no sugar. Its strong, bitter and full of green tea goodness. I of course opted to add a ‘couple’ of sugars but at least this way, you can adjust it to your own preference. I did find that the matcha latte here wasn’t as smooth as you would expect but it’s definitely better than no matcha! The matcha latte was also slightly lukewarm, that might have contributed to the slightly grainy texture. But this is no Chanoma so I can’t complain.
Onwards to something that Patissez does specialise in and shine at, the Nutella ‘Shake It’ ($8), cold Nutella shake with whipped cream and crushed salty pretzels.
I love a good, creative and wacky looking milkshake and Patissez delivers. Not only does it look good, it also tastes pretty darn fine too. If you like Ferrero Rocher, this is the perfect drink for you. Although they’ve used a couple of different things to create this drink, in the end of the day it tastes like a crushed up Ferrero Rocher, which is awesome of course! It even has the right texture, thanks to the crushed up satled preztels giving you that crunchiness that you find from the crushed hazelnuts and wafer in a Ferrero Rocher, along with the Nutella and whipped cream that brings you that creamy hazelnut goodness. Very impressed with how they made this taste so much like one of our favourite little chocolate treats by using all different ingredients! One cool thing I should mention is that they slide on copious amounts of nutella over the rim, so if you love licking nutella out of the jar, this ‘shake it’ is for you!
Finally, our last treat from Patissez, the Banana Matcha ‘Smooth Criminal’ ($8) with Medjool dates, Jahna Greek style yoghurt, raw honey and granola. This wasn’t my favourite drink of the day, but it was still pretty cool. I really liked that you could chose between normal diary milk, almond milk and soy milk for the Smooth Criminal shakes and at no extra cost. Nothing worse than having to pay an extra $1 for almond or soy milk. I mean at that point, I might as well just go to Aldi, put out an extra 50c and buy a litre. I really do appreciate places that don’t try to gouge you at every chance possible. I understand that there are costs in stocking different options that may or may not be used, so I guess I don’t expect it, but I do appreciate it. But enough about my cheapness!
The drink itself although quite bright, green and vibrant, didn’t really have a strong matcha flavour to it. Instead, to me it tasted more like a banana milkshake but milder and without that sweet ending, I guess that is thanks to the matcha which rounds it off. Although there were a couple of other ingredients, like the Greek yoghurt and the dates but I didn’t feel like the flavour really came through which was a bit of a shame because I quite enjoy dates in milkshake. I know dates sound a bit basic but they’re surprisingly tasty. In the end of the day, bananas are an overpowering flavour and it did seem to overpower here.
So there you have it, our trip to Patissez. I came here not expecting much at all and left feeling very happy and absolutely full. I’m glad to see another good patisserie open up in Canberra, especially one that has some pretty fantastic opening hours. Oh, not sure if I’ve mentioned it previously but Patissez is actually open seven days a week from 7am to 4pm, woot!
Oh, a side note. The food menu just started over the weekend, so when we were there the service was a little haphazard. Everyone was really nice and helpful but they were still getting into the groove of things. Due to this, we found that things took a little longer than expected, or we had to ask for certain thing several times, which was completely understandable for a brand new restaurant but I thought I should mention it just so you guys are aware as well. Expectations are everything after all.
Shop 2/21 Bougainville Street, Manuka
Monday to Sunday
7:00am to 4:00pm