Sunday, July 26, 2009

In the beginning, there was Victoire, Balmain

Lately, I've been Frustrated.

The success of Adriano Zumbo's cake creations After MasterChef has meant queues out the door and down the street every weekend. And when you do get to the front of the queue, there are only a couple of 'Tiger' cakes and some macaron crumbs remaining. Denied.

I do need my cake fix, and salvation comes in the form of Victoire. Adriano Zumbo actually worked for Victoire (doing the pastries) before he started his burgeoning empire, and what a fabulous place in which to hone your skills.

While it does not have the exotic, colourful creations of Zumbo, Victoire does provide the breads for Rockpool restaurant, among others, and the bread products are still the mainstay of its business. The walnut loaf is to die for, and I really recommend the levain ficelle if you want a crisp-outside, meltingly-soft-inside bread experience. The 'rustic' loaves are also excellent, being a long thin breadstick with sourdough texture, but 10 times more delicious (especially the olive one).

To relieve my Zumbo withdrawal symptoms this weekend, I got the olive rustic loaf together with a rhubarb tart and an apple tart.

The apple tart has apple puree topped with thin slices of apple in a shortcrust shell.
The rhubarb tart contains silky soft red rhubarb underneath a top that is sprinkled with sugar.
Both are divine!

Victoire is located in Darling St, Balmain. It is diagonally opposite the Zumbo shop. So check it out next time you're in the vicinity (though I hope that Zumbo also has what you are after!).


  1. That's the only downside of the masterchef success isn't it? Everyone wants Zumbo now! Those tarts do look divine, not too shabby a substitute ;)

  2. Aww no!! Are the queues only on weekends or just on any particular time of the day/week??

  3. The way I looks at it? At least you have access to Zumbo, even if it is only the crumbs. Spare a thought for us poor southern cousins of yours! That apple tart does look divine though

  4. Ahhh I want a Zumbo fix too but I fear the lines esp since I would need to travel much more than you! Hee hee thanks for an alternate tho must try ^^!

  5. what are the prices like here?
    hmm, thanks for the heads up though re. zumbo's...i've been wanting to go back to try all his new cakes but looks like i should probably wait till the masterchef hype downs die a bit.

  6. Look at that sticky pink rhubarb - yum! It's nice to be able to get your treats without a long queue.

  7. hi Steph - it's the price of fame, I guess (not that I'd know!)

    hi Trisha - the queues are longest on Sat and Sun mornings. And the cakes are usually sold by the afternoon on weekdays. Or there is less choice then.

    hi Maria - there must be somewhere in Melbourne that has good cakes. I've only ever been to Laurent, but they aren't the best. Maybe the cake shops in Acland St - they can usually be relied on for something creamy and calorie-laden!

    hi FFichiban - yes, Victoire is a good alternative, though if you arrive early in the day, you may be able to get your Zumbo fix. And yeah, it's lucky I live nearby, otherwise I'd be a bit peeved too!

    hi panda - the prices at Victoire are on the high side - about $4-$5 for the tarts, about $3 for a croissant. Those prices are on par with Zumbo's, I think. I wonder when the hype will die down - probably never!

    hi Arwen - I just hate queueing, don't you? Though if something is worth it, I shouldn't mind as much - but I do!

  8. Long lines are good for Zumbo but not so good for customers! It's good that you have an alternative when nothing's left! The apple tart looks very yum!

  9. Awesome, thanks for sharing the Zumbo alternative. At least now I know there'll be pastry in my belly regardless :-P

  10. Aww you should shoot straight to the head of the VIP queue! ;)

  11. hi Rilsta - the tarts at Victoire are excellent - very French.

    hi Jen - there is also a cake shop next to Victoire, and Bertoni Casalinga next to that!

    hi Lorraine - hehe, I wish!

  12. LOL I can understand your frustrations. Gone are the days of leisurely strolling in mid afternoon and having the opportunity to choose any cake from his collection. In saying that, I would definitely line up in the morning for my Zumbo fix.

  13. Victoire's bread is fantastic.

    Am not much of a fan of Zumbo's as I've been spoiled by Bertrand in Wahroonga whose macaroons are so far ahead IMHO that nothing else will do...