Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio @ 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra
27 August 2011

The eponymous Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio was opened earlier this year in South Yarra by pastry chef duo, Ian Burch and Darren Purchese. The playful sweet studio is Melbourne’s Willy Wonka meets Heston Blumenthal cake shop, where “science is fused with sweetness” to create revolutionary desserts and sweet tidbits to be enjoyed by young and old.

Upon entering the studio, you will be instantly greeted with an aromatic air of sweetness that continues to follow you as you immerse yourself in the dessert playhouse offerings. Whether it is exploring the range of elaborate cakes in the display cabinets, being enlightened by the 300 or so different ingredients that line the “ingredients wall” or sampling edible bubbles while observing the pastry masters work their magic in the culinary science lab, the studio is amply equipped with amusements to keep you entertained.     

On arrival, my attention was immediately drawn to the tiers of prodigious meringue clouds. Bypassing the strawberry variety, I opted in favour of the passionfruit and blackberry flavours. Each of the meringues comprised of a dually crunchy and airy shell which contrasted perfectly with what I consider to be the jewel in the crown, the addictively sweet chewy centre. Sprinkled with passionfruit and blackberry in a concentrated freeze dried form to boot, the meringues were whipped egg whites and sugar at their best. While both were thoroughly enjoyable, it was the fruity passionfruit cloud that was the true standout. 

The visually attractive “Coconut, Passionfruit, Ginger and Mint” was a layered creation of salted oat and ginger crumble, coconut mousse, coconut “caviar”, passionfruit jelly and passionfruit curd garnished with a white chocolate and mint wafer and a mini ginger macaron. The mellow coconut mousse and coconut sago balls concoction, together with the crumble base, cut through the intense tartness of the passionfruit curd to produce a balanced and delectable dessert. While the jelly lacked flavour and the macaron displayed little ginger essence, these were minor quibbles that were easily overlooked. 

The “Pistachio, Strawberry, Rose” was a strawberry centric dessert that again contained a wealth of miscellaneous ingredients.  The elements of this dessert included puffed rice and pink peppercorn biscuit, Turkish delight, strawberry and pink peppercorn jelly, pistachio mousse, strawberry and rose petal jam, strawberry rice pudding and strawberry marshmallow. Every spoonful provided a different mix of pleasant but ultimately lacklustre flavours. For me, the dessert was crying out for the flavour intensity of each component to be amplified. 

The “B&P’s Special Weekend Breakfast” was creatively presented as a savoury breakfast dish of bacon and eggs on toast. The vanilla infused earl grey tea cake “toast” was complemented by a “fried egg”, consisting of a coconut and lime flavoured egg white and a runny mango curd yolk, a rasher of maple cured bacon and a side squirt of raspberry “tomato ketchup”. The sweet bacon was peculiar and enjoyable, but, even with the addition of its accompanying elements, it failed to adequately flavour the mild and less than moist tea cake. I was more impressed by the novel presentation of this number than by its taste. 

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio is more than just an ordinary retail cake store; it is a fun, interactive workshop where people can go to embrace and indulge in the sweeter things in life. Ian and Darren employ their artistic ingenuity to craft a diverse range of desserts that push the boundaries. The desserts may be hit and miss, however, the innovation and surprise factor together with the kid in a candy store feeling makes Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio an enchanting place that is difficult to resist.

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)


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