I love food, but I’m decidedly not what you’d call a foodie. Having put that little disclaimer out there, sitting down to a beautiful meal is a luxury, a sure-enough experience in the most complete sense of that word. Do you feel that way, too? Food sustains us, but it can also satisfy the curiosity of both mind and senses if you’ll let it; food can be a destination in itself. That’s why, on this trip to Melbourne, I made it my mission to get my hands on some of Kate Reid’s much-lauded croissants at Lune Croissanterie, they of the legitimate cult following with queues for hours (literally.)
Mr. Twos was not with me this time, but *spoiler alert(!) I ordered enough for both of us. Let’s just say he was there in spirit. Caloric spirit.
Lune now has two permanent storefronts, the expansive original in voguish Fitzroy, and the younger sibling with a limited menu in the CBD. They do, on occasion, appear at manic pop-ups including their first foray into Asia via Singapore at the Cafe Culture event coming in August. What makes them so special? Well for one, their scarcity. They are meticulously crafted, and only make so many. For another, the lore behind them is legend. You see, before her foray into pastry, owner, founder and queen-of-the-croissant, Kate, was a Formula 1 Aerodynamicist. Right. (Not gonna lie- I had to look that up.) This is what that entails according to The Goog:
An aerodynamicist is an engineer who plans and conducts research and analysis pertaining to aerodynamic, thermodynamic, aerothermodynamic and aerophysics concepts and designs, for the purpose of determining their potential suitability to aircraft, spacecraft, land vehicles and aerospace products.
So, this is the type of woman who is making these mouth morsels for your conscious consumption; rigorous, vigilant and self-described as ‘obsessive.’ She’s the Elon Musk of flakey dough. After a bit of disenchantment with her career in Formula 1, an escape to France was in order, and it was there that she stumbled upon what she calls her ‘true calling.’ The simple pleasure of having a croissant for breakfast every morning changed the trajectory of her life, and she ran with it. The New York Times called it ‘the finest you will find anywhere in the world, and alone worth a trip across the dateline.’
In Fitzroy, Kate and Co. work in a gleaming glass cube where the temperature is held at a constant 18C (64F), and pastry are rolled and cut with the precision of a Dior gown for an Academy Award nominee. Each croissant takes 3 days to prepare: There is laminating, egg washing and proofing along with the resting of the dough in between each stage. Butter is imported from France, but Australian milk is essential. Can you imagine the effort that goes into these pleasure bombs?
If you know you’re going to truly pig out, it’s a good idea to build in some cardio, don’t you think? Foregoing an Uber, I walk the 20 minutes from my Southbank Airbnb. Good karma is along for the party today, because there aren’t many people ahead of me in the queue. I decide on a ham and gruyere croissant, a monstrosity of a creamy-chocolatey-cherry laden (AKA Black Forest) croissant and a traditional. They’re delivered, each on a separate plate, to the stone top bench at which I stand (there is no seating.) People stare.
They are good. They are very good. They are crumbs-stuck-in your-lipstick, butter-slick-fingers, richer-than-Warren-Buffet scrumptious. Worth it? Yep. And ticked off the bucket list.
My advice to you is to go at an ‘off’ time if at all possible. Try a weekday morning around 10:30 ish. If you must go on a weekend, get there early. EARLY, as in before they open at 7 am. Make peace with the fact that you’ll be a queue chump and embrace it. Bring a book, listen to a podcast, talk to your fellow queue chumps. If you want the more expansive and experimental menu, head to Fitzroy. Check the website for hours of operation. Lastly, order the filter coffee and the Black Forest croissant. Just do.
What about you? Have you ever planned a trip around a dining experience? Have you been on a food tour? Are you a more adventurous eater whilst on holiday?