I love a good bakery cafe. You don't need much more than a really good bread for a satisfying lunch and you can walk away with wonderful loaves and tarts. On the weekend when I did a camera course, I wandered among the city arcades with little success - too busy or too many spruikers - until I chanced up on Laurent. This is an old favourite of mine. It is an elegant old dame of the Melbourne bakery scene.
Just look at that curved staircase and chandelier. Those tall arched windows remind me of the windows on Playschool before they went modern but in a far more charming setting. The vase of flowers in the centre of the room is huge and lush. Best of all is that this is an oasis of space and peace in the middle of the busy city.
Laurent makes crusty baguettes and a good substantial sourdough that your teeth need to work at. My aunts often visit my parents bearing this bread which is always welcome. Yet upon entering the store, it is the rows of gorgeous colourful cakes the my eyes are drawn to. The French bakery does a great line in tarts, pastries, macarons and other French fancies.
After my brief camera course I wished that I could do the bakery more justice. Seeing examples of how beautiful photography can be makes me feel inadequate. Yet I hope you will at least appreciate the glorious red strawberry tarts or tartes aux framboise because this is a French-style bakery.
Yet for all that I lust after the pretty sweet food, the sensible side of me knows that I will be far happier with some savoury fare. I chose the salad baguette. It is a simple affair of lettuce, cheese, tomato, avocado and an excellent vinaigrette dressing. My high praise of this salad roll demonstrates the quality of Laurent's goods. I am usually very fussy about eating salad rolls that are ready made and on display.
My lunch was delicious. It wasn't cheap but I will pay a bit more for a decent sandwich. I ate it while reading about Amy Winehouse in The Age, listening to foreign academics beside me and a cover of a Smiths song overhead. Oh for such ambiance at more lunchtimes! The sandwich was very filling. I couldn't face any sweets. But I did purchase a raspberry marzipan tart, a strawberry macaron and a walnut raisin roll to take home for later. They were lovely.
306 Little Collins Street
Melbourne CBD, VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9654 1011
Mon-Sat: 8am - 6pm Sun: 9am - 5pm
Check website for other locations www.laurent.com.au