Lea Chairesa, owner of new Hutt Street patisserie Mascavado, can her trace her interest in food back to her childhood in Indonesia. “When I was little, we’d go to buy street food and I would just stand by the vendor, watching,” she says. “I was that annoying little kid who would stand in the corner, not saying a word.”

It’s an interest she reconnected with after high school in Sydney when she went on to work in a number of restaurants and patisseries across the city, including Cirrus Dining, KOI Dessert Bar and Black Star Pastry. All the while, she dreamed of opening her own place.

Enter Mascavado. The patisserie opened on Hutt Street last month. And while eateries across Adelaide have had to alter their business model in light of Covid-19, Mascavado is geared towards takeaway by design. It’s also located in a residential part of the CBD with steady foot traffic.

The Sans-Arc Studio fit-out is clean and simple, with a handful of benches inside and a terrazzo countertop displaying pastries, cakes and tarts.

The menu changes daily, with the exception of a few staples. There are croissants (plain and chocolate), cinnamon scrolls, whisky-and-almond knots, a mascarpone-and-Moscato choux, flourless brownies and chai blondies (a white chocolate-based brownie with spices). Fruit danishes include plum and rose; pear and ginger; and mixed berry and rosemary.

Miso cookies have proved popular so far. “I did that for a Japanese-fusion cafe in Sydney. It came out great, so I thought I’d bring it over here,” Chairesa says. “It adds that umami flavour, instead of just using salt. It has more depth.”

Tarts (at the moment there’re lemon, strawberry and apple and ginger) round out the sweet offerings. Savoury options include three-cheese toasties, sandwiches and ham and cheese croissants. When Broadsheet visits, there are quiches filled with porcini mushrooms recently foraged by head barista Thanh Luu.

Chairesa likes to keep pastries simple, and describes Sydney patisserie Flour and Stone as “a muse”. “A lot of the things that I sell are pretty basic, but done well,” she says. “That’s how I like to buy things. I don’t like going to a patisserie and they’re over the top.” At Mascavado, she avoids using preservatives and food colouring. “Any colouring on the pastries is natural, whether that’s using fruits or something else,” she says.

Almost all ingredients used at the patisserie are sourced locally, including flour from Flinders Ranges Premium Grain. “A few weeks ago, this guy came in with this big, brown bag. It was actually the farmer who grows the wheat for the flour,” Chairesa says. “So it’s literally straight from the farmer to me.” The coffee is from Elementary, and Chairesa regularly makes trips to the Adelaide Central Market for ingredients, too.

175 Hutt Street, Adelaide
Mon to Fri 7am-4pm
Sat & Sun 8am-3pm