Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Beatrix Potty {Beatrix Bakehouse/cafe Review}

My name is Nicole and I am a Beatrix-addict.

I can't help myself, I drop in to pick up a little treat for afternoon tea and leave with a box full and sometimes a ciabatta for lunch!

Owner and cake magician (for that is the correct term) Nat Paull uses locally sourced, in-season produce whenever she possible can and did her apprenticeship with Maggie Beer. It doesn't get much better than that.

This is the crack cocaine of the lunch world.

I have prepared this review over a number of months. I use the term 'review' loosely, let's be honest here, this is a gush, and providing pictures of a large range of tasty treats was really just an opportunity for me to keep going back.
beatrix cafe cake shop

All of these pictures are from takeaway because the cafe is tiny and it can be difficult to get a table (plus gluttony is easier in the comfort of one's own home). Now that spring is here and you can sit outside on a gorgeous day, your chances of nabbing a table are improved.

So without further ado, here is my collection of Beatrix treats:

The Orpheus with spiced slow-roasted lamb shoulder, tzatziki, fennel, potato and radicchio salad and toasted almonds.
beatrix north melbourne cafe bakeshop lamb ciabatta
The lamb was subtly spiced and so so so tender, the ciabatta is light and fluffy in the middle with a gentle chewiness on the crust. Then there was crunchy salad, creamy dressing and toasty little chunks of nuts. I sat at the table and devoured this without pause, licking up the dressing and shovelling fallen pieces of salad into my mouth. Quite primal really.

The Orpheus came home with me after I popped in to get a small dessert for a mini-celebration.

Five minutes later...

Clockwise from top: Rhubarb shag cake, Chocolate caramel slice with walnuts, a witch's tit (dense bittersweet boozy chocolate tart) and Quince and brown butter tart.
beatrix north melbourne shagg cake salted caramel slice

I served it with two forks

There was cake leftover the next day for The Bookworm's morning tea. But not much.

The dangerous thing about Beatrix is that nothing is average. You know how often a piece of cake looks great but it only tastes OK, not really worth the calories, a little dry or just lacking flavour? Not here. The rhubarb shag was creamy and tangy with big fleshy flakes of coconut. The quince and brown butter tart had a rich thick, fruity layer, almost baked custardy in texture and then fluffy cake on top with that nutty intensity that only brown butter can give. The caramel tart had some oaty texture to the base with buttery smooth caramel and thick chocolate on top. And the witch's tit was a proper grown up dessert- liqueur-infused chocolate with a mousse-like texture, on a perfect crumbly base, with a cherry on top.

Another day I needed a lamington to get me through a rough Saturday at work.

Five minutes later...
From Instagram

I know I have a lot of non-Aussie readers so I had better explain lamingtons. They are a cube of cake, normally sponge, dipped in a thin chocolate icing which absorbs into the outer layer of the cake and then coated in coconut. They are amazing when they are good, but finding a good one is getting bloody hard nowadays. Beatrix's lamington is victorious with a slightly denser sponge, a good layer of icing soak, toasted coconut and jam in the middle. And not that sickly sweet boring jam, oh no, this is tangy and fruity. I may have made a little happy noise as I bit in. Fortunately I didn't have any customers at the time.
beatrix cafe bakehouse North melbourne

I was terribly restrained and took the whoopee pie and vanilla slice home to share

There is a magnificent blog post about vanilla slice here debating what it should be. Duncan doesn't seem to write his blog anymore but I think perhaps I should contact him to inform him of my find. 

beatrix bakehouse north melbourne vanilla passionfruit pastry
The flakiest of pastry, rich creamy custard (not at all gelatinous) flecked with vanilla bean seeds and topped with tangy passionfruit glaze.

beatrix north melbourne raspberry whoopee pie

My first whoopee pie was from a cafe in Warnambool in 2011 and it is one of life's great tragedies that this was only the second because they are a fabulous creation (thank you America). This one had rich chocolate cake with just a hint of crunch on the outside, fluffy buttercream and juicy homemade raspberry preserve with a sprinkling of raspberry dust for zest.

I nearly published this post at this point but then I realised it would be a crime not to mention the Chiffon cake. Nat is known for this freak of cakture- a cake made with stiff egg whites is poured into an ungreased cake tin and baked before hanging it upside down overnight "If it doesn't hold, you'll hear a terrible plop. It's very nerve-racking. The next day, you take it out of the special mould and it's ready - an incredibly light, fragrant cake that's absolutely delicious."
beatrix north melbourne cafe cake chiffon
It certainly is delicious; zesty and moist but so so fluffy with creamy citrus icing. A range of flavours are made but this one is a mandarin chiffon cake.

Of course I couldn't leave without a ciabatta
beatrix north melbourne cafe that's amore buffalo mozzarella
The rocky- That's Amore buffalo mozzarella (superlative), Leo's tender ham, rough chopped basil pesto and balsamic roquette. 

And, you guessed it, more cake...
beatrix north melbourne cafe cheesecake gingerbread crust
Rhubarb crumble cheesecake- none of that gritty bland baked cheesecake here- silky smooth and rich with a layer of tangy rhubarb and crunchy crumble on top of a gingerbread cookie crumb crust.

beatrix north melbourne cafe sticky date caramel chocolate peanut tart
Moroccan Snickers Tart- a bittersweet chocolate tart with oozy sticky date caramel and a peanutty base.

I had to include this picture to show you the size of the slabs of cake. 
beatrix north melbourne cafe
That cake is pre-sliced- the slice is so huge you can only just see the edge behind the sign.

Most slices are 8-9 cm and could easily be shared between two but don't be stingy, just use the enormous slabs as a chance to chop them in half and try two things.

I take no responsibility for the increase of your sugar intake after this discovery.

You're welcome.

PS. Follow Beatrix on Facebook for the ciabatta of the day and lots of drool-worthy food porn.

Beatrix on Urbanspoon


  1. Currently drooling on keyboard... good thing I'd just bought a slice from a cafe or I'd be running out the door right now!

    1. You must have the best metabolism in the world. I see your cake on Instagram, you cannot hide.
      You do need to try this place though (they do have vegan stuff sometimes too- I know you are into "healthy" desserts :)

  2. Hi Nicole!

    Thank you immensely for the loveliest of words and the prettiest of pictures of what we make! I love the one of the whoopee pie..held aloft like a chocolate trophy!

    I'd love to meet you properly when you pop in next? Please ask for me, Nat.

    Have the super-est of weekends!

    N x

    1. Thanks Nat!
      I'm normally a pretty shy little snapper. I will say hi though, I'm sure it won't be long before I pop in again.

  3. Oh. My. God. I can't believe how huge those cake slices are, and how lovely everything else looks! I haven't had a Lamington for years--I used to make them for home-sick Australians--they're rare beasts in the UK!


I love comments, whether you agree or disagree with me I would love to hear what you think.