When a friend of Bernard Chu and Yen Yee described their macarons as ‘luxurious little bite-sized morsels’, the pair behind one of South Yarra’s dessert meccas knew they had the perfect name for their business.
LuxBite is the result of a lifelong dream for both Bernard and Yen. The duo created a space where they could produce the kind of desserts and pastries they’d always dreamt of, fusing their Asian and Australian backgrounds with an impressive culinary technicalities and a sense of fun.
As head of product development and lead chef, Bernard is in charge of turning out the treats that locals and visitors have come to love. He’s been baking since he was a tot ‘helping out’ in his grandfather’s Malaysian bakery. Upon finishing school, he studied hotel management in Malaysia, where he met Yen. He went on to complete an apprenticeship at the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, before the pair moved to Sydney to complete a patisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu. Bernard developed his skills at highly regarded restaurants such as Summit Restaurant and Pier Restaurant before moving to Melbourne and taking up positions at a number of dining institutions. In 2010 the pair decided to open their own dessert dream, sharing their love of the sweet life with the wider public.
A box of LuxBite macarons is best described as an edible jewellery box of colours, flavours and textures – a pleasure palace for anyone with a sweet tooth.
It often includes some left-of-centre flavour combinations, including banana and Sichuan pepper, sour strawberry and bamboo oolong tea. Traditionalists will be scoffing the salted caramel and red velvet down, while nut lovers will appreciate the hazelnut and green tea pistachio.
While macarons may be what LuxBite is known for, it’s not the only trick up their sleeve. Combining traditional French techniques with Asian and Australian-inspired flavours, the chefs produce tarts and cakes that will have everyone exercising some serious self-control. The Lolly Bag Cake, created for their appearance on MasterChef Australia, features seven different layers, including banana lolly Joconde, freckles crunch, mandarin Ja a ganache, musk mallow, more banana lolly Joconde, spearmint leaf buttercream and a topping of Redskins glaze.
Meanwhile, Be My Love includes milk chocolate mousse, raspberry cream, dark chocolate crunch, chocolate glaze and freeze-dried raspberry. The signature cake, Meringue Monster, features green tea sponge, pistachio, watermelon yoghurt, sour strawberry mousse and meringue.
Pop by the South Yarra cafe to sample all this and more, or if you find yourself in the CBD with a hankering for something sweet, head to T by LuxBite, its concept store on Flinders Lane. Following the mantra ‘Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first’, it has one focus: tantalisingly tasty tarts. Stop by to try one of the ever-changing options, including the ‘Chocolate’ tart with semi-liquid salted caramel, marshmallow, orange and gold leaf; ‘Calamansi’ tart with jackfruit, chilli salt, longan, meringue and kafir lime sherbet; or the ‘Picnic’, a mouth-watering combination of chewy peanut butter caramel, rice crisp, milk chocolate, peanut brittle, custard and chocolate.