Rolling out of bed at 5:45am and standing in the brisk Melbourne morning for two hours isn’t something most people would be prepared to do, let alone for croissants. However, this “rite of passage” could be described as a Melbourne Foodie Experience, something you have to endure to experience the true value of the food scene, and you walk away with the treasure at the end!
Famed for the lines which snake around the corner at despicable hours of weekend mornings, Lune Croissanterie bakes beautiful pastries for distribution throughout renowned cafes of Melbourne, whilst also doing it for their own dedicated fan group on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. They currently write “due to the fact that we are currently operating at capacity (equipment & human effort) we can only produce a maximum number of pastries per day”. This is not a shock, as their occupied building space is tiny from an outsider looking in. Not one foot of floor space is wasted as they churn out coffee and bake their goods from scratch.
This maximum number of pastries per day would vary I imagine, but to put it into slight perspective for you all, on the Saturday morning I was there, they had made 222 pastries and due to the limit of six pastries per person, meant that only 37 customers would walk out with a smile on their face (assuming everyone bought the max – go maths!). That being said, the week prior they had managed to stretch the pastries out to ten customers past the expected number, so a few lucky ones didn’t have to leave empty handed.
The Lune team recently received some very positive exposure both on television and the interwebz, which encouraged a whole lot of people to rediscover (or discover newly) the joy that comes with baked goods. (Cool fact: owner and manager Kate Reid used to be an aerodynamic engineer who designed F1 race cars, before discovering her passion and talent for French pastries!) A regular informed us of the kerfuffle the newfound fame brought last Saturday, which resulted in the introduction of the ticketing system to discourage/avoid slack queue jumpers joining their more dedicated friends in line. Still in its infancy, there are still wrinkles being ironed out but currently it means you have to remain in line otherwise you forfeit your ticket number. Overall, it is a great way to ensure those who make the effort to line up are rewarded.
On this particular Saturday morning the timing went roughly like this.
First person arrived prior to 6am; second and third (moi) arrived at approximately 6:15am.
The line was up to seven people at 06:45, eleven people at 06:47, twelve at 06:48, fourteen at 06:53, and sixteen at 06:54.
Twenty people were in line by 06:56, twenty-two by 06:58, twenty-seven by 06:59 and twenty-nine at 07:00 (still an hour to go till opening).
This jumped to thirty-four people at 07:04 and the proposed limit of thirty-seven was reached at 07:06 – after this point the lovely staff verbally warned punters joining the queue that pastries were not guaranteed but they were welcome to wait in line or have a coffee either way.
The lovely staff regularly walked the lines taking requests for coffee and delivering them to grateful hands. This definitely made the wait more tolerable, as did the excited buzz which grew closer to opening time, marked by the growing scent of ham and cheese and PASTRIES. The menu is up nice and early, as well as distributed menus for those who want a souvenir of their early morning craziness (moi); so you get to rationalise your six pastries nice and early. This moves the line along quite nicely too. The savouries tend to sell out faster, but I didn’t get the chance to ask if it was due to the popularity or decreased quantity.
I walked out with my six, happy as a girl about to satisfy her stomach with pastries galore.
The croissant pastry is incredibly flaky and crispy. I thought this crunch would be in place of the rich buttery taste, but it is definitely not so. When it got down to the softer insides, it was so soft and delicious I only wish there was less air inside so there was more croissant to eat.
The Ham & Gruyere: a croissant baked fresh with a filling of shaved ham, Swiss Gruyere & seeded mustard ($6.0). This was so good, balanced and no nasty cheap fillings. The ham and cheese went perfectly together and the mustard added a nice kick to each bite. I would definitely come back for this one, especially as the size is much smaller than my stomach desires.
The MP3 (sat/sun only): fresh baked filled with 10 hour slow roasted pulled pork, smoked chipotle tomato jam, queso fresco & manchego, topped with a pickled Spanish chilli. Very limited ($9.50). The monster of Lune, this savoury croissant sells out fast, and rightly so. The pork is lovely and tender and maintains the moisture throughout cooking. The supporting ingredients come together and round out the croissant nicely, especially the pickled chilli on top! The MP3 disappointed me; I wanted more fillings and a larger size, especially for the price. It was definitely not as satisfying as the Ham & Gruyere.
Now on to the famous Cruffins: A Lune original; croissant pastry baked in a muffin tin filled with weekly changing flavours. I scored a Tiramisu: coffee custard, espresso & marsala soaked savoiradi, topped with marscapone ($7.0) which was fantastic; I just could not save some for later as I needed to get it all down in me. It was surprisingly not too sweet, with plenty of pastry surrounding the delicious tiramisu centre. And it wasn’t just tiramisu flavoured cream or mounds of marscapone – it was the real deal, tiramisu coffee soaked cake with the cream, chocolate powder and marscapone dollop. So good.
The Twice Baked (weekends only) are a traditional French style of baking left over croissants a second time after being filled with an almond frangipane. I picked both the Almond and Coconut Pandan croissants.
Almond: the original Croissant aux Amande, prepared with almond frangipane & garnished with a health amount of flaked almonds ($6.50) definitely had a lot of the frangipane inside, which made it delicious and filled it out, however due to the second baking most of the moisture of the croissant was lost and the pastry became denser.
Coconut Pandan: filled and topped with coconut frangipane & a pandan ganache ($7.0) A great combination of flavours and you could really taste the delicious pandan, for me there was too many flakes covering the croissant, but I have never been a massive fan of coconut in the first place. A great tasty snack that was in reality, quite filling!
And there ends my croissant adventure (I did manage a bite of the Pain au Chocolate, which was nice, but the chocolate rods inside were miniscule); I am currently pondering whether the 6am line up is worth the croissants – it seems quite ridiculous but also somewhat fulfilling as a life goal. Don’t get me wrong, they are pretty damn good croissants, but I do enjoy my sleep-ins. I will definitely go at least another time, just to try out more Cruffins and the Ham & Gruyere again, and you know what, maybe even a Double Baked…
Tips for those who want to get it right:
- Get there as early as you can muster to guarantee yourself the pick of the menu (I believe the savouries sold out around ticket 27 or so)
- They do have EFTPOS so don’t worry too much about going all out; you deserve the six pastry limit.
- Bring something to do if you’re not standing with friends; it is cold and dark out in suburbia.
TL;DR definitely worth the experience of standing (sitting) there in the dark waiting for your pastry hit.