Tucked down an alleyway around the corner from the State Library of Victoria, Bakemono Bakers is a shrine to fine French pastries, fluffy Asian breads and stellar coffee.
Location: Shop B, 273 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
A visit to Bakemono Bakers is like taking a virtual trip to the backstreets of Kyoto, Japan. Although its hidden down a very Melbourne alleyway, you’ll know as soon as you see it due to its distinctive wooden shopfront which clearly pays homage to Japanese aesthetics.
And whilst the address is officially Little Lonsdale Street, this cute Asian-influenced bakery actually sits on colourful Drewery Lane. Across and just down the lane there’s the fabulous Little Rogue. A sister establishment to Bakemono Bakers, Little Rogue brews some of the best coffee in town. Period. And it also carries a delightful array of pastries from its sibling. Meanwhile, walk a bit further down and you’ll find the multi-storey food and drink experience of HER Melbourne.
But we’re here to talk about delicate, buttery baked goods. So let’s crack on.
Neat and utterly charming.
The timber street frontage is uniquely evocative of Japan or Korea and there’s a plain wooden bench outside for those who prefer to sample their purchases immediately.
Small, square windows look directly into the working bakery with its simple service counter to the left.
For all kinds of Asian groceries and some superb sandos and take-out Japanese meals, read our post on Pantre, Melbourne Central
Once inside, the apparent doll’s house dimensions of Bakemono prove to be misleading. The space feels rather like an art studio with surprisingly high ceilings, white walls and an abundance of light. The overall impression is of calm, focused industry.
Although the theatre of the room comes from the baking going on right before your eyes, the service area is impossible to ignore.
As is the fashion of the moment, the day’s offerings sit directly on the counter top, ready for customers to deliberate over.
Bakemono Bakers produce an intriguing mix of French patisserie and Japanese and Korean favourites.
Like many fans, Eatability first heard about this shop thanks to the superb croissants that start emerging from the ovens at 7.30 every morning. Having done a taste-test for you (You’re Welcome!), we can confirm that all of their varieties are top-notch. However, the one that most people queue for is the outstanding Almond Yuzu Croissant ($8.90).
This airy wonder is a thing of laminated joy. Pockets of gossamer-fine, deletable pastry containing a lush layer of citrusy Yuzu and spiked with a hedgehog of crunchy Almond slivers. It’s a textural flavour-bomb.
Similarly worth the trek into the city is the fat, but light, Ham & Cheese Croissant ($8.60). This brilliantly lacquered masterpiece has an interesting extra hit of umami within its savoury heart. It’s a sure-fire winner.
If Croissants don’t do it for you, maybe a puffy Danish is more appealing? When we visit, the selection fresh from the ovens includes a substantial pastry of Blueberry and Custard ($8.90). That said, the real stunner is the Strawberry and Nutella Danish ($8.50). Stuffed with the famous chocolate and nut spread and wearing a crown of glossy Strawberry slices, it’s almost impossible to resist.
Pop into Bakemono Bakers later in the day and you’ll find gorgeous Canele. The first batch is Rum & Vanilla, closely followed by a tray or 2 of Matcha and Earl Grey. After that, the baker’s turn their skills to sweet Japanese Meronpan and cloud-like Shokupan and Shiopan.
Special mention has to go to the incredible Garlic Bread. Made from Shokupan dough, these buns are filled with Cream Cheese, smeared in Garlic Butter and then baked a second time. Believe me, this Korean street food staple tastes as awesome as it sounds. So understandably, it sells out extremely quickly.
Handily, the team publish their baking times on the Bakemono Bakers website.
Now you can’t have a pastry without a hot drink. Or at least, not on our watch.
At Bakemono Baker’s the Coffee is by Small Batch – an interesting decision given that Little Rogue champions Acoffee. Either way, it’s perfect with a Chocolate Croissant. And for those looking for a double cocoa-rush, there’s Hot Chocolate by Mork.
And if you love a Chai Latte, you really should try Bakemono’s. The crew brew their own batch each week – and it shows.
From the idiosyncratic laneway location to the architectural choices on display to the truly fabulous pastries and bread, Bakemono Bakers is a value inclusion in the Melbourne cakes and bakes sector.
Next time you find yourself ambling past the State Library, take a side step down Little Lonsdale Street and look for this sweet Asian bakery. Just make sure you’re there early. Baked treats this good don’t hang around for long!