One of Canberra’s most-experienced food critics and this paper’s longest-serving columnist, WENDY JOHNSON indulges herself with her top eating experiences for 2018
IN the centre of the Canberra Centre’s new beauty and wellness precinct sits a new patisserie and cafe dedicated to the world of edible luxury.
Inspired by the traditional tea houses of England and fine European patisseries, Passiontree Velvet is a special spot. The menu sounds scrumptious, especially the sweet treats, which we’ll get to in a moment. The food is divine and tastes out of this world.
When I first heard that Passiontree Velvet was in the precinct I thought: “How odd”, but it makes sense. The rows of macarons, tarts, cakes, pastries and other decadent desserts look as stunning as the rows of make-up surrounding the cafe.
Passiontree Velvet also presents stunning savoury fare. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are available.
Breakfast includes freshly baked scones with jam and cream ($10) and a ham and cheese croissant ($8). I was after something more interesting and discovered the avo on toast ($12). It was created with house-made cashew cheese, basil oil and a delicately sliced and fanned half avo on lemon and rye sourdough ($12). I loved the coffee and it was service with smiles all round.
All dishes have their own modern twist. For example, the wild mushrooms on toast, with shaved asparagus and poached eggs, served on rye sourdough, comes with lemon tahini ($18). It will be my pick next time.
If savoury isn’t your thing at breakfast, select the decadent chocolate french toast ($16) – chocolate ganache, orange marmalade, chocolate soil, macerated berries, brioche and vanilla ice cream.
Passiontree Velvet is a perfect spot for an afternoon tea or coffee with a true treat. How about the Rose Lychee – rosewater mousse coated in lychee glaze with crushed raspberries, white chocolate ball and edible rose petals ($9.50)? So painfully pretty.
So, too, the Bergamot Tart – French Earl Grey infused milk chocolate mousse on top of an Earl Grey frangipane tart, decorated with feuilletine and lavender flower head ($9.50).
The bright yellow Tropics is very tempting indeed – mousse with a passionfruit centre, surrounded by a light coconut mousse and a fluffy dacquoise base ($9.50).
The celebration cakes are true works of art. A small selection is available onsite and a larger selection online (order at least a week in advance). Just in time for Christmas is the Rudolf chocolate truffle cake made with tangy cherry mousse and chocolate buttercream. It’s decorated with chocolate antlers and a macaron shell. Rudolf has sweet eyes and a red button nose ($89.95).
High tea is available ($34.95 per person), but only weekdays because the café is too busy on weekends to cope.
Passiontree Velvet, shop DG 26, Level G, Monaro Mall, Civic. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5ish (9pm Fridays).