Saffron poached Napolean pear and yoghurt panna cotta in a sweet cookie tart shell. Have you ever heard of anything more delectable?! Wait I'm getting ahead of myself. It's just that I can't stop thinking about this amazing tart I had at Beatrix along with a number of other goodies over the weekend.
Beatrix is a gorgeous, sweet little cafe in North Melbourne that is a baking lover's paradise. Our friend had been urging us to visit for months and I feel a right fool for waiting this long to take her advice! As I discovered, Beatrix is great at Facebooking and posts what sweet treats and special ciabattas they will offer the next day. So on Friday night I hopped onto Beatrix's page and found out what I could look forward to eating the next morning.
I was definitely having The Garfield- Warialda Belted Galloway Beef lasagne coated in basil crumbs and deep fried, pickled eggplant, roquette, tomato aioli and grana padano. Ummm carb on carb on carb? Yes please! And then the sweets: cakes, tarts, cupcakes and cookies... it was time for some serious decision making.
Beatrix was full when we arrived at around 11:30am on Saturday morning so we grabbed two piccolos and nabbed a table outside until we could get into the warm.
Inside, it's a small, quaint space where your attention is immediately drawn to the stunning array of deliciousness on offer. I love to bake and I love eating baking but I'm not often drawn to cake cabinets in cafes. More often than not I find what's on offer is usually pretty mediocre and over-priced. Not at Beatrix- I could have sampled everything. I loved the descriptive doilies manning each item. Very cute.
Savoury first though. We decided to share The Garfield and The Beggbie which is permanently on Beatrix's menu, a breakfast ciabatta consisting of a free range fried egg, grilled bacon, roast beetroot, roquette and apple aioli. There was also a vegetarian ciabatta special available, The Humphrey- roasted cauliflower, Mount Zero olives, kabuli chickpea hummus and a middle eastern slaw.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that deep fried lasagne slapped between two bits of bread would be pretty stodgy, believe me, it's not. The Garfield had just the right amount of roquette, pickled eggplant and zingy tomato aioli to cut through the richness of the pasta and beef. The ciabatta was crusty and really good. The Beggbie too was stunning- I especially loved the crispy, non- oily bacon and the shredded roast beetroot. YUM!
Throughout the meal, there was a steady stream of Beatrix's loyal fans buying takeaway sandwiches and cakes. This made my meal a little stressful as everything was disappearing at such a rapid pace that I had to eat with one ear cocked trying to listen to every order, worried we were going to miss out. "Maybe you should order the sweets now before they all disappear?" piped up the ever wise TBS. "Nah, surely they'll bring out more, and that looks a bit desperate and greedy don't you think?" I responded. IDIOT! Sure enough, the vanilla crème brûlée tarts had all disappeared by the time we had finished our ciabattas.
Not to worry though, there was plenty more to choose from...
We went first for a slice of the organic lemonade fruit tart. It was light, the lemon filling tangy and not too sweet and each bite literally melted in your mouth. The base was buttery and the perfect thickness.
Our second treat was the saffron pear and yoghurt panna cotta tart. It was heavenly. Thin slices of juicy pear lay atop the smoothest vanilla bean yoghurt panna cotta I have ever eaten. The cookie crust shell was so delicate the talented baker must have had to wear kid gloves to handle it. I will be thinking about this tart for a very long time.
The food at Beatrix is clearly made with love, the use of fresh, often organic ingredients results in irresistible fare. I will be a repeat offender at this sensational cafe.
Good to know:
The Beggbie $13.50 or $10.50 without bacon
The Garfield $15.50 for small or $16.50 for large
Slice of organic lemonade fruit tart $7
Saffron pear and yoghurt panna cotta tart $6
688 Queensberry Street
Tuesday to Saturday 9:00am to 4:00pm