Disclosure: We visited and sampled items courtesy of Harvey Publicity & Parisian Patisserie.
Last Saturday, Alastair and I headed up to Essendon to check out Parisian Patisserie. Parisian Patisserie has only been open for 12 weeks, and seem to have already amassed a loyal following for their fantastic baked goods.
Located on Keilor Road in North Essendon, Parisian Patisserie is run by Neil McKenzie and his wife Majella (they also previously owned St Germaine in Essendon and French Quarter in North Melbourne) and focuses on pastries and cakes. The patisserie is sweetly decked out – a cozy little place, with all white walls and touches of stark black. It was doing a roaring trade when we arrived on a Saturday afternoon, but Neil still took time out of his very busy day to chat to us.
Neil and his wife spent 9 months in Paris in 2001, where Neil studied at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, learning all about the science and most importantly art, of pastry. From his anecdotes, it sounds like he didn’t just learn about pastry, but also managed to eat a lot while over there! Well… when in Paris, right?
Not long after we arrived, Neil offered to show us the kitchen. Umm… YES PLEASE! (You know me, I love checking out kitchens!) Everything at Parisian is baked on site each day – so can you imagine what the kitchen was like? It wasn’t what I was expecting… it was tiny! This photo is taken from the edge of the kitchen and it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what kind of space you have – magic can happen in small spaces.
After the kitchen tour, we had an opportunity to sample some of the food.
This is the apricot brioche – apricot and flaked almonds on top of crème patisserie and a brioche base. When I took a bite, I was really impressed by the flavour and aroma of the apricot, and the smooth richness of the crème patisserie.
The berry brioche is similar to the apricot one, just with berries! I love berries and I thought that the slight sourness of the berries was amazing with the crème patisserie. The sugar around the outside is called hail sugar, and gave a sweet crunch to the brioche.
Eugiena kindly let us have a taste of her savoury brioche with pesto and roasted vegetables. I never would have thought to pair brioche with pesto and vegetables, but it was really tasty!
The crème beignets are doughnuts made from a brioche base, and filled with more of that lovely crème patisserie. There was also a chocolate version but for me custard > chocolate. Really.
But I have left the best for last… the almond croissant. Excuse while I go all gushy for a moment. The almond croissant was heaven in a pastry. Neil told us that he makes his croissant dough a bit more cakey, instead of the usual light and flakey croissants. But there’s a good reason behind it – it’s because the heavier dough makes for a perfect almond croissant.
The almond croissant is made with very high quality almond meal, vanilla, and sugar syrup. If it was the normal croissant dough, it would collapse under the almond filling as it baked and would basically be a big mess of oil and butter. But made Neil’s way, it is divine. It had the perfect balance of sweetness, with a very pure vanilla flavour, and slightly crispy edges. Let me say it again – heaven in a pastry.
From our chat with Neil, it’s clear that he’s a perfectionist when it comes to pastry and is always trying to improve. I even managed to pick up some baking tips! His passion and dedication to his craft clearly came through during our chat – and you would need it to start baking at 5.30am six days a week!
We had a very enjoyable visit to Parisian and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular already. Alastair and I will definitely be back to purchase some more of those croissants and eat our way through the rest of the items available! And a big thanks to Neil and Eugiena Pratley from Harvey Publicity for being so generous with their time.
For more posts on Parisian Patisserie, see:
Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie
19 Keilor Road, North Essendon
Phone: 03 9379 3815
[googleMap name=”Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie ” width=”600″ height=”300″ directions_to=”false”]19 Keilor Rd, North Essendon, VIC, Australia [/googleMap]