Thursday, 3 July 2014

Prahran Pastry Palace {Abla's Patisserie, Prahran Market - Review}

Last week I was invited to try some of the traditional and new and exciting products at Abla's Patisserie in the Prahran Market. For those of you not in the know, the Prahran Market is Melbourne's Gourmet Market (yes, it deserves the capitals) with some of the plushest seafood, richest meat, freshest veggies and mouth-watering cakes, bakeries and cafes. You do need to check it out.

Now, before I go any further, a quick word on pronounciation. If you aren't from Melbourne it is important that you learn that Prahran is not pronounced poshly, like Prah-rahn, or, you need to pop on your best Aussie twang, flip the sound up into your nasal passages and run the word together. All together now.....Praaahnnn. Good work. Now the locals will understand you when you tell them you are spending the day there.

Back to pastry. I have spoken before about my fostered Greek heritage. I grew up eating baklava. I thought I knew everything there was to know about baklava.

I was wrong.

Baklava has multiple variations depending on the country (wikipedia has an extended explanation) but for the purposes of this review we will focus on the Lebanese approach, spelled baklawa and steeped in rose syrup.

I hope you've had lunch cause this is going to make you hungry.

pastry abla's prahran baklava

So naturally, I had to try a range of products.
Top row: Basma (semolina base with cashew, pistachio and almond), cashew baklawa
Middle row: hazelnut baklawa, almond baklawa, petit four (French influence- a chocolate dipped, chocolate ganache enclosed shortbread)
Bottom row: Balourieh (kataifi pastry enclosing pistachios and intensely flavoured with orange blossom syrup), Mamool (traditional shortbread enclosing a date paste).

I find Abla's version less sweet than the honey-drenched baklava of my youth. The rose syrup is really subtle and allows the flavour of the nuts to really shine. My favourite was the hazelnut baklawa, with the almond and the cashew tying in second place. The pastries are all really fresh and made by the award winning (first and second place in the Victoria Baklava bake-off) chefs at the Preston store.

It was tough work, but you know, someone has to try ALL the pastries.

I countered all that sweetness with a really good espresso. Abla's have recently changed over to Gravity Espresso and it's damn good, rich and smooth, a hint of toffee and good acidity.
espresso abla's patisserie prahran

If coffee is not your thing, they do a special tea that compliments the sweeties perfectly.
abla's patisserie prahran coffee machine

Now for some biscuit porn
abla's patisserie prahran market biscuits shortbread

The staff are terribly helpful and will explain what everything is. If you can't decide (and let's face it, you can't) you can pick out a box size and mix and match your own selection.

If pastry isn't your thing (it's OK, not everyone is cool:) then there is a range of cakes available. you can grab yourself a slice and watch the world go by (also available made-to-order for birthdays and events).
abla's patisserie prahran cakes

But for me, it's all about the pastry.

This creature is a "Damascus Rose", it is filled with ashta (a fluffy Middle Eastern-style cream), sprinkled with pistachios and rose petals then drizzled in rose syrup. But you need to go in on a Saturday to nab one, before they sell out.

Just look at all the pastry
abla's patisserie prahran baklava baklawa

One more for good measure

Now to tell you about the new and exciting things.

Vegan healthy (kinda) baklawa!!!

High in protein with extra goodness from nuts AND seeds, baked with organic coconut oil and sweetened with agave.
abla's patisserie prahran bakave vegan baklava

This next one honestly tastes like Nutella baklawa. I'm a sucker for the traditional but this is not as sweet and is really satisfying. Meaning, you may not need to eat the whole tray in one sitting. Or, if you do, it's not so bad:)
abla's patisserie prahran bakave hazelnut cacao

There is also walnut, sunflower seeds and cranberry; kind of like a super decadent muesli bar. And cashew, citrus and cinnamon which I didn't get to try, yet.

Plus Abla's at Prahran Market is rolling out a savouries menu, beginning with some home cooked pastries made in house. The one I tried is based on an old family recipe for spanakopita, but with a middle eastern twist.
abla's patisserie spanakopita middle eastern

The pastry was a little thicker than the traditional filo used in other spanokopita and had an almost fluffy texture, packed with spinach, ricotta, fetta and dill; it made for a super-satisfying lunch as I dashed to my next appointment.
abla's patisserie prahran spinach fetta dill pastry
The other flavour is onion, fetta and bacon. There will also be a range of traditional Middle Eastern savouries.

The great thing about these kind of pastries is they have a really long shelf-life. Perfect to keep in the cupboard and whip out when someone drops in or for a last minute decadent dessert with ice cream. Yum.

Abla's is open on Market days:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9am-5pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

Make sure you leave yourself enough time for a wander around this gorgeous market too.

Abla's Patisserie Prahran on Urbanspoon

Please note: This is a sponsored post but as always, all opinions are my own.


  1. I'm a huge lover of baklava and the Damascus Rose looks amazing. Wonder if I can find this in London...

  2. I'll be honest, I was going to skip this post - I LOVE baklava and I didnt think I could stand having a good old look at some of the good stuff that I could never get my hands on. BUT I'm glad I stopped by, there was almost/nearly/just about baklava porn to make me think I'd eaten some.
    M x Life Outside London
    p.s. your interview on Cider With Rosie was smashing.

    1. Thank you!
      I have a whole lot more baklava porn on my memory card if ever you need it :)

  3. Well, I know where I'm going next weekend.. *drool*


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