Brunetti

Brunetti is an adored Melbourne institution. Since opening in 1985 in Carlton, this fabulously authentic Italian Pasticceria has been treating its loyal customer to exquisite Tarts, stunning Cakes, exemplary Cannoli – and fabulously strong Espresso Coffee – from early morning until fashionably late.

Brunetti Classico

Locations: Flagship Store, 380 Lygon St, Carlton, VIC 3053 Ph: (03) 7034 7066 See Website For Further Locations

Oh to be locked inside the Brunetti flagship cafe in Carlton overnight!

But then the hours between the venue closing and re-opening the next morning probably wouldn’t be long enough to sample all of the wonders created in their magical kitchen.

If you’ve ever popped into the Lygon Street establishment, you’ll know that the range of pastries and cakes is almost beyond belief. From Florentines and Rum Truffles to Macarons and Biscotti to a Birthday Cakes and more.

Brunetti - PInk Cakes in Chiller

However, if you can drag yourself away from the cabinet upon cabinet of sweet treats, Brunetti Carlton is also an Italian restaurant. In fact, you can enjoy Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner there, all without leaving your table.

But let’s be honest, why would you settle for Yogurt & Granola ($17) or an Arrabbiata Pasta ($27), when you could be sipping a Macchiato and working your way through a Cheesecake Nutella Slice ($11)? Yep. We didn’t think so either.

You can’t really talk about cakes in Melbourne and not mention Lune Criossanterie with their incredible croissants.

The Space

Brunetti Carlton proudly evokes the old school Pasticceria of Roman.

It’s a vast space of mosaic flooring, regal columns, heaps of cool marble and a seemingly endless bank of chilled display cabinets. Striking black and white murals of 1940s Rome grace the walls and everything is lit to perfection. The centre piece of the shop is a huge, horseshoe-shaped Coffee Bar, topped by a gleaming copper extraction fan. From this immense service area, skilled baristas and a fleet of scampering wait staff deliver thousands of Lattes, Short Blacks and Capuccinos daily.

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The buzz of the place is palpable. From the moment the first customer crosses the threshold until the waiters (very politely) ask the last customers to leave, Brunetti’s is heaving.

For a rundown of the Best Cafes in Melbourne, see here.

The Food

As I said above, the Lygon Street outpost has an Italian restaurant within its circular walls. However, say the name Brunetti to a Melburnian and I doubt that they will rave about the (no doubt very fine) Cotoletta Di Pollo ($27). For Brunetti is all about the Cakes. And the Biscuits. And the cute individual serves of Pistachio Tiramisu in their clear square pots.

Brunetti - Tiramisu

Moreover, it is impossible to over-stress how popular Brunetti is – at almost any time of day.

Let me describe our recent visit as an illustration.

After some Antipasti and Pasta up the road at Agostino, we bale on dessert at the Wine Bar and instead amble over to Brunetti. It’s 10.45 on a Friday night and the store is rammed with customers. Seriously, we have to stand our ground in the throng undulating before the cake counters or a sweet-toothed Nonna will pinch our spot.

What to have? What to choose? The options are vast and all utterly tempting.

There’s an entire case of wee Tartlets. Everything from Chocolate Tarts filled with deeply glossy Ganache to pale Lemon Tarts and Custard & Cherry ones.

Love a filled pastry? Then you really should dip into our review of Tarts Anon.

Brunetti - Tarts close

That perennial favourite – the Opera Slice – almost wins out, but we hold strong. For some reason, we all have a yen for Choux Pastry. So my two companions plump for the decadence of the triple Profiterole and the Mini Croquembouche, respectively. The Croquembouche prove to be particularly pleasing, with the hard Caramel decorating each bun cracking impressively when hit with a fork.

Fun and delicious, the team at Tokyo Lamington are reinventing the Aussie classic for modern tastes.

In contrast to my friends, I succumb to the charms of a good old Chocolate Eclair. Dusted with edible Gold and fat with sweetened Whipped Cream, it’s a thing of patisserie beauty. Needless to say, I don’t share.

Another tried and trusted favourite is the doughnut. Over at Levain Doughnuts they’re taking the fried pastry to new heights

The Drinks

Why Coffee, of course.

Now if the bean lacks appeal for you, don’t fret. The team at Brunetti have no problem rustling up a pot of Tea.

That said, the Coffee at this temple to all things Italian is stellar, so if you go for leaves, you really are missing out.

Overall

If you every feel like spoiling yourself and you’re anywhere near a Brunetti, rush there. Immediately.

Everything about the place underlines why it’s proved such a success in a foodie town as fickle as Melbourne.

Up your afternoon tea game with one of these Cake Decorating Kits.

The space screams of Italian extravagance – in the best possible way.

The staff in their neat uniforms are swift, efficient and could easily run the floor of a swish cafe in Rome’s Piazza Navona.

Brunetti - Red & Green Cakes

The Coffee is punchy and smooth – perfectly roasted and perfectly brewed.

But really, it’s all about those Cakes. From the boozy Rum Baba to the delicate Fleur and delicious Amore, this is your destination for some of the best baked treats in town.

Brunetti Oro

Of course, the Brunetti empire isn’t just their Brunetti Classico cake shops. The group also operate the brilliant Brunetto Oro – an Online Cake Shop specialising in Italian Celebration Cakes.

And best of all? They deliver.

So why not hop onto the website and have a look? We bet we find something fabulous for the next birthday in your calendar.

For the Best Cake Shops, Cake Delivery and Take Away Cakes in Melbourne, see here.

Related Reading:

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Best Croissants in Melbourne

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LeTAO – Japanese Cheesecakes

Best Places for Desserts in Melbourne

Faye Keenan
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