My visit to the home of the Watermelon Cake and Raspberry and Lychee Cake leaves me wanting more – 4 out of 5.
Since it’s doors opened in 2008, Black Star Pastry’s empire seems to be ever expanding. Following the success of their pop-up cafe during The Galeries’ Spring Social last month, they’ve have decided to set up shop permanently inside the popular Books Kinokuniya store at The Galeries, Sydney.
Today my dining companions are my mother and sister. Gliding up the escalators to level two of The Galeries, we know we have reached Black Star thanks to the growing line of patrons waiting to place their order. The cafe itself is quite tiny, fitting snugly into a corner of the store. A wooden, metre-high frame borders the cafe space and forms a makeshift table from which customers tuck into slices of Raspberry and Lychee Cake and sip their Lattes. Their noses buried in the pages of a good book. In the centre are several low-lying tables and diners seem happy to share the space, despite practically sitting on top of each other. Of the design, owner Christopher Thé told Broadsheet that it is based on a big laminated counter, with cardboard furniture, to match the feeling of being inside a bookshop.
We are served by the smiling manager who happily takes our order for two Hot Chocolates ($4.00 each) and a Piccolo Latte ($3.50). The coffee is sourced from The Little Marionette in Annandale (I make a mental note to visit soon!). They are made by the bartender at the adjacent counter and served in a range of colourful cups from Biopak’s Art Series. Of course we must order something sweet to go with, but what to choose?
A range of fresh cakes and biscuits are arranged across the countertop, including Matcha and Black Sesame Madeleines, coconut-sprinkled Vegan Donuts and Ginger Ninjas, a playful take on gingerbread men. Mum chooses a slice of the Lemon Myrtle Chiffon Cake ($5.20) while my sister selects the signature Strawberry and Watermelon Cake ($7.50) which he has been waiting to try for a while.
Having sampled the Watermelon cake on a number of occasions, thank to numerous suggestions from members of the Sydney Food Blogger community, and the countless Instagram posts, I am torn between the Raspberry and Lychee ($10.00), available exclusively from the Books Kinokuniya store, and the Pistachio and Lemon Zen ($7.50). In the end, it is my obsession with Pistachio that wins. Unfortunately, the cafe is too crowded to dine in. We choose a takeaway and find seats in the basement food-court.
We slice into the cakes and are in Heaven. The Pistachio and Lemon zen features layer upon layer of pistachio ganache, white chocolate mouse, lemon curd and pistachio dacquoise. It’s sweet, nutty and creamy, with a touch of zing from the lemon curd.
The Watermelon cake lives up to it’s reputation as usual with layers of almond dacquoise, fresh whipped cream, sliced watermelon and topped with strawberries and Iranian pistachios.
The Chiffon’s sponge base is fluffy with a light lemon buttercream, topped with toasted coconut flakes. The only downfall is that it pales in comparison with the other two delights.
It’s great to see Black Star in the CBD, which saves on a trip to Newtown. The lack of dining space was a little bit of a disappointment, but thankfully the delicious cakes and pastries are crafted to perfection. I will definitely be back to try the Raspberry and Lychee.
Happy cooking and keep smiling,