About now, Lune was meant to open in Sydney, not Brisbane. But then the pandemic came calling.
“The site in Sydney requires a lot of restoration,” Lune co-owner Kate Reid says. “And delays started happening – one month, two months, six months. Suddenly, we had this GM and all of these processes in place ready to go north and expand, but the site wasn’t available.”
If you know Melbourne’s food scene, you know Lune. The croissanterie has turned heads internationally, with the New York Times asking in 2016, “Is the world’s best croissant made in Australia?”
Originally opening in a tiny Elwood hole-in-the-wall in 2012, Reid called upon her background working as a Formula 1 aerodynamicist and a stint studying the meticulous art of raw pastry-making in Paris to produce buttery, flakey croissants served fresh from the oven. She soon had people queueing for pastries before the sun was up.
In 2015 Reid opened Lune Croissanterie 2.0 with her brother Cam Reid and prolific restaurant and cafe operator Nathan Toleman (Common Ground Project, Liminal and many more). This is the Lune you probably know, housed in an expansive converted warehouse in Fitzroy’s backstreets. It was soon joined by a satellite outlet in Melbourne’s CBD.
By this stage, Lune had so much momentum and mindshare that an interstate expansion was always going to make sense.
“Tim [Forrester] and Michael [Hurley] from Aria Property Group had invited us up in February 2020 and showed us this site and we were blown away by it,” Kate says. “When we heard the timeframe for the build, it was identical to Sydney … so we had to say no to Brisbane.”
But then came those Sydney delays.
“In September last year we were like, ‘We’re kind of ready to go,’” Kate says. “And then we thought, ‘I wonder what’s going on with the site in Brisbane?’ So we reached out to Michael … and within two days we had a lease signed.”
Lune Croissanterie opened on Thursday across two immaculate Hogg & Lamb-designed spaces beneath The Standard, a gleaming 30-storey residential tower on Manning Street opposite the entrance to Fish Lane. On the street is the retail shop, where a line of convection ovens punches out croissants (some twice-baked), pain au chocolat, kouign-amann, morning buns, Danishes and cruffins, plus savoury options including Lune’s classic ham and gruyere croissant (although you can expect a reduced menu until the lockdown lifts). It’s a slick space, all concrete, tiles, glass and high ceilings.
Out back, down The Standard’s entranceway, is the Cube, an enormous glass box temperature controlled to 18 degrees Celsius, its ceiling adorned with a signature splay of LED lights. Here, the Lune team prepares its pastry over three days using local flour, eggs, milk, and local and imported French butter. Perhaps most important is Beurre D’isigny butter from coastal France that the team uses for the laminating process.
“It has no preservatives,” Kate says. “They’re the only company in the world that has figured out through the churning process how to change the fat globules in the butter to give it the best working properties.”
Just like in Melbourne, you’ll be able to experience Lune in one of two ways. The first is to order through the retail counter, with your croissant delivered to you fresh from the oven. Post lockdown, you’ll be able to enjoy your catch at one of the concrete counters, accompanied by Coffee Supreme(https://shopau.coffeesupreme.com/) coffee.
“When we first moved to Fitzroy, we tried a big rack oven, where you wheel in 150 croissants at once, but we found the air circulation and the holding of the heat wasn’t good enough to get the lift we needed,” Kate says. “But because we bake fresh throughout the day, there’s no point in baking 10 trays a time. It’s better to bake two to four trays and consistently have that feed of warm croissants out front.”
The second way to take on Lune is to join seven other diners at a concrete high counter for the Lune Lab – three courses of pastries with bottomless coffee, including two experimental pastries that aren’t on the regular menu. While there, you’ll get to watch the pastry chefs at work inside the Cube and have an opportunity to chat to them about the process.
The whole operation is the result of traditional baking applied with a hands-on scientific approach (Kate didn’t work for any old F1 team, but Williams, a champion outfit renowned for its DIY engineering).
“It’s just the mindset of how an engineer thinks,” Kate says. “How you develop a new theory or idea you’ve got and then realise that through testing. It’s just applying that mindset to a different skill or a different product.
“We hire forward, independent thinking pastry chefs who really want to have an impact on the business. And if one of them comes to me with an idea, and we test it and it’s better than what we currently do, it can be the new way we do it. So what we do has evolved and it’s continuing to evolve.”
Lune Croissanterie Brisbane is currently trading for Covid-safe takeaway service.
Lune Croissanterie Brisbane
15 Manning Street, South Brisbane
Mon to Fri 7.30am–3pm or until sold out
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm or until sold out