Beatrix: The Return of Cake Weather

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an advocate for the consumption of cake at almost any given time. As I settled into a little window spot at North Melbourne’s Beatrix last week, however, I had to agree with the lovely lass serving up a hefty piece of Coconut Shagg to a customer: it’s officially cake weather. So long to the sweaty days of an all-too-hot summer – Melbourne’s autumn has finally kicked in. And whilst I’m not a huge fan of the impending cold, it’s at least a comfort to remember that wonderful ability to warm up from the inside out. A cup of tea and a bit of cake from Beatrix is a pretty splendid way to do just that.

Little Wanderings - Beatrix 8

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Loved by locals and one of the North-side’s greatest sweet spots (though I’d venture to say all of Melbourne!), Beatrix is a tiny café on the corner of Queensberry and Lothian Streets in North Melbourne. It’s cute and quaint, though be warned that the cosy size might make for a wait to sit, particularly on Saturdays. If you’re pressed for time, however, don’t think you’ll be alone in swinging by to pick up a take-away treat or two. Speaking from delicious, passionfruit-frosted experience – the Saturday-only Vanilla Slice is cause enough to make a trip totally worth it.

Little Wanderings - Beatrix 1

What I love about Beatrix, and what makes it the perfect chilly day comfort, is that everything is freshly homemade – in the warmest, fuzziest sense of the word. I’m talking unabashed CWA-style, Grandma’s kitchen baking. Last week I fell prey to a piece of Beatrix’s Carrot Cake (pictured above). It’s probably not winning any beauty contests, but I was at once reminded of the chocolate sponge cakes my Nana used to make for every family birthday growing up, and so couldn’t resist. Wonderfully moist and light, a divine white chocolate cream cheese buttercream frosting and a hint of wintery spice – it was just superb.

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I’m still on my way to conquering most of Beatrix’s baked fare, but I can say that the Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Tart, Ginger Crème Brûlée Tart, Potato Brioche Doughnut, Vanilla Slice and Salted Caramel Slice are all magnificent. I’ve not sampled one of Beatrix’s famous ciabattas yet, but I do believe that needs to be rectified very, very soon. The ciabattas maintain somewhat of a cult-like following – only a couple of varieties are available each day, and they disappear fast. Luckily, Beatrix updates Facebook every morning with the day’s offerings: ciabattas, cakes and cakeish things alike. So if you’re hanging out for that Sydney Road ciabatta or Devil’s Food Cake, Beatrix makes for easy stalkage.

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Beatrix is the sort of place I’d make sure to take an overseas visitor; it’s cosy, welcoming and embraces old-school Aussie baking (I was not surprised, but very impressed to find that owner Nat Paull apprenticed for Maggie Beer!) with a little vintage America and a whole lotta love. In absence of foreign callers, however, I’ll be hopping over to Beatrix to continue my own personal pilgrimage. These are the days of cake weather, my friends, and I know where I’ll be taking shelter from the cold.

Beatrix | 688 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, VIC 3051
https://www.facebook.com/BeatrixBakes
Open | 
Tue – Sat : 9.00am – 4.00pm

Beatrix on Urbanspoon

Crafting the Perfect ‘To-Eat List’

I love trying new places to eat, and for that Melbourne is certainly a marvelous place to be. However, I’m hardly out there conquering the latest and greatest openings of the city every week. As much as that sounds rather glamorous, my approach is a little more laid back. In all my trying-of-new-places I’ve inevitably found a few I’ve become quite fond of – and so a lot of my gastronomical adventures are simply returning to eat and spend time in those cafes and restaurants. And I’ll admit – it’s always so much easier to head to a favourite like Twenty & Six Espresso after waking up late and hungry on Sunday morning.

The new discoveries generally come from either a convenient whim, or a list Blu-Tacked to our fridge entitled ‘PLACES WE WANT TO EAT AT’*. I would highly recommend the use of such a list; it makes one feel superbly accomplished upon completion and is far less overwhelming than a vast and click-happy Urbanspoon wishlist! Our list is simple – just a few select eateries with no deadline or urgency. It’s a wonderful go-to when the timing and mood fit!

I love taking the time to sit down and write up a new List. Armed with a copy of The Age’s Good Food Under $3o (currently out of print) and the beautiful coffee-table tome Flavours of Urban Melbourne – the process is tactile and visual and filled with tasty promise. I also keep my ear to the buzzings of the blogosphere, Twitter, Broadsheet and Urbanspoon to catch any post-publication goodies.

books

The first ever List saw Mat and I venture to Pope Joan on Nicholson Street, Brunswick East (a charming, airy space that’s lovely for lunch!), Easy Tiger on Smith Street, Collingwood (splurged on the banquet and did not regret it) and Beatrix on Queensberry St, North Melbourne (I can’t believe it took me so long to discover the Queen of North-side sweet treats!). It was a hugely successful list and each eatery garnered a return visit or two. In the case of Beatrix, we’re talking a return visit or twelve.

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We now have a fresh new List taking pride of place on the fridge. Small Victories has already been tackled – we had a yummy breakfast there, and would definitely return if just to spend more time in the leafy sunshine on cute, quiet little Rathdowne in Carlton North.

newlist

Next up: Cutler & Co., Cobb Lane and Common Galaxia. That almost sounds a bit poetic, doesn’t it? Here’s to putting poetry in motion!

*Apologies, grammar geeks! The name just stuck!

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