Having been thwarted on our first attempted visit to L’atelier de Monsieur Truffe, Jess, Kim and I were determined not to let it slip out of our grasp. We returned the week after our abortive effort, this time ensuring we went on a day it was actually open!
L’atelier de Monsieur Truffe is quite nondescript from the outside; the only indication that there may be something interesting inside the warehouse exterior is the bright red front door. But through the red door is an enormous, airy room that is all industrial clean lines and high ceilings, dotted with well-spaced tables. One side of the space has been partitioned, and behind it you can see some serious baking machinery, giving you hope that these people clearly mean business about their sweets.
I definitely mean business about sweets, which meant that even though there were some intriguing savoury options on offer, I went straight for what would make my dentist cry. The raisin bread with coffee mascarpone was two slices of decadent bliss, with the pleasingly spiced hot bread providing a nice thick support for the mascarpone, which was very obliging in melting slightly, creating a sweet coffee, cheesy goo.
The best part about flipping through the Monsieur Truffe menu was discovering that there is a whole page devoted to tea. A WHOLE PAGE! So many options, my little tea-loving heart nearly gave out right there and then, but I pulled myself together and decided on the Russian caravan blend. Served in a very cute stackable teapot and cup set, it had that strong dank smell that I love (but tends to put most other people in mind of being drowned in a peat bog forever). Definitely an acquired taste, but I was so happy to see it and so many other more niche tea varieties available.
My companions were more sensible than me and started off savoury. Jess had the pea and mint omelette, which looked and tasted like spring on a plate. Kim had an Italian-style bread salad, with chunks of crusty bread which had been soaked in olive oil and tomato juice, slices of what looked like proper slabs of artisan bacon, dark green fronds of basil and a fat poached egg that oozed all over everything.
The sweet parade continued when we collectively shared two croissants with homemade, dribbly raspberry jam and the house chocolate sauce, which was like the version of Nutella you might taste in your dreams. We particularly wanted to try a chocolate croissant, but as I was talking to the staff up at the counter to find out about all the desserts in the cabinet, the last one was whisked away from under my nose!
Jess was particularly aggrieved by this loss, she had her heart set on a chocolate croissant, and secretly took her rage out on the gentleman sitting with his friend on the benches across from us who had ordered it. “Look at that bastard. Eating MY chocolate croissant.” Much glaring ensued. But while I grieved the loss of chocolate, I was really enormously pleased with our plain croissants, all flaky and crispy like all perfect pastries should be.
Continued sweets required more hot beverages. The 70% cocoa hot chocolate that I had with the croissant was probably, and I know you’re all used to my hyperbole but I’m saying this with the utmost sincerity, one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had. If you love the bitter tang of really good dark chocolate this should be your drink of choice, it manages to be both bitter and creamy, and most importantly doesn’t leave you with a sickly over-chocolated tummy ache.
The staff are SUPER CHARMING, as you would expect staff with such delightful French accents to be. The best moment was when we had finished our croissants and were happily picking at the buttery flakes left on our plates, and the waiter said to us, “Ah yes, I will not take your plates just yet, because that is the true pleasure of the croissant, to eat all the tiny flakes.” TRUE FACTS.
Most impressively of all, my entire meal (so toast, croissant, tea and hot chocolate) came to just under $20! That is an obscene steal for the quality of produce! So go through the red door, so many sweet delights await you in the beyond.
L’atelier de Monsieur Truffe
351 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Ph: 9380 4915
Update 7/3/2013: As reported on Where’s the Beef, L’atelier de Monsieur Truffe has now been renamed East Elevation. While running with a similar menu, it is apparently now more vegan and gluten-free friendly.