Burch and Purchese

Willy Wonka is a real life person and his name is Darren Purchese.  I made this discovery on the weekend when Joyce from Mel: Hot or Not and I cycled over to South Yarra to have afternoon tea at Burch and Purchese.

A mini strawberry macaron tops off one of Burch and Purchese’s “tube” desserts

The bike ride there and back was necessary as this afternoon tea was a serious indulgence.  Perched up at a special counter at the back of the shop we were plied with pots of tea and sweet treat after sweet treat while getting a close up look at the genius that goes into creating Burch and Purchese’s desserts.

The pantry of inspiration at Burch and Purchese

It really felt like we were in a science laboratory as we settled in for our exclusive afternoon tea for two amidst the gleaming white on white setting surrounded by jars of ingredients and with our drinks served in scientific looking beakers.

Gin and tonic Burch and Purchese style

The teas on offer are from T2 and we were given a chance to sniff them all before deciding on pots of the floral French Earl Grey.  Then we settled in for a pre afternoon tea cocktail in the form of a gin n’ tonic dessert.  A bitter gin and tonic flavoured gel was topped with shards of sweet honeycomb, soft marshmallows and crumble.  It was clever, witty and delicious.

Our savoury “sandwich” plate

“I’m know for my sweet stuff but I can do savoury as well”, said Darren as he brought over a piece of black slate topped with his take on an egg and watercress sandwich, chicken sandwich and tomato and basil sandwich.  The egg and watercress was the most revolutionary, deconstructed into an egg foam, watercress gel and crumble to form the bread.  As creative as it was this was the one dish of the day which did not work for me with the crumble too dry and dominant.  More traditional were the chicken sandwiches which included the most adorable tiny buns while the tomato and basil sandwich impressed with sugared basil and sweet, intense cherry tomatoes.

Darren whips up some liquid nitrogen magic in the kitchen

Darren created his take on tiramisu right in front of us using liquid nitrogen to add alcohol to ice-cream.  There was silky smooth ice-cream, a potent coffee sauce and exploding candy rubble which snapped, crackled and popped away in our mouths.

Our finished tiramisu

Afternoon tea finished with a flourish with seven separate mini desserts.  There were tiny versions of Burch and Purchese’s famous “tubes” of banana, passionfruit and caramalised white chocolate and we were smitten by the mini macaron topping the coconut, passionfruit and ginger mint.  I loved Darren’s take on an opera cake with its delicate layers of smoked white chocolate, coffee sponge and lemon curd while the black forest eclair was suitably boozy.  

A tier of desserts

Afternoon tea at Burch and Purchese is unconventional and not cheap.  It takes a big stomach and an even bigger wallet but it has to be the best afternoon tea in Melbourne hands down.

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Details: Burch and Purchese, 647 Chapel Street  South Yarra Vic 3141(Ph: 03 9827 7060)
Damage: Budget Breaking.  Afternoon tea costs $100.  Once the current round of bookings are finished the afternoon tea will only be offered on special occasions however Burch and Purchese is opening up a dessert bar in the evenings when many of the same dessert creations will be offered.

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  1. Wow!! I really want to go and eat here too….cycling is definitely a good idea before all that indulgence!

  2. Omg omg omg ! I didn’t know that they had an afternoon tea! When can I book and is the afternoon tea the same as the one they re having at the langham hotel? I can’t wait to go hehe soooooooooo jealous that you went!!!

  3. Wow. Wow. Want to go! I love the look of an edible ‘gin and tonic’! I’ve been dying to go since I heard they do it, but have yet to find someone who’s willing to spend as much on sweets as me! Thanks for sharing the experience! 🙂

  4. Yes, this place is amazing and nothing short of inspiring. It’s right around the corner from our place, and I admit I hardly ever go. Thanks for the push!

  5. Kay – Yes cycling made us feel slightly less guilty about the total sweet induced coma we were in

    Daisy – Not sure if it is the same as the one at the Langham but if it is, then go, go, go I say!

    Ashley – Yes I love drinking gin and tonics and love eating so what could be better than putting the two together.

    Yasmeen – Oh you lucky thing to live so close, I would be constantly tempted.

  6. The colors and textures in your photos make it look so tempting.

  7. You do know that Darren has a book coming out in November 2012 A M A Z I N G I have pre-ordered 10 for christmas presents so pleased he has a book coming out. Go to Amazon

  8. Love for Food – Thanks

    Anon – Gotta love a good cook book!

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