Agathé Kerr used to begin each working day in Paris, her hometown, with a chocolate croissant. Now Kerr is the one serving fresh French pastries to workers in the Melbourne CBD at her new store, Agathé Pâtisserie Petite, in the Royal Arcade.
“Being from Paris, I just love cities,” Kerr says. “The architecture, the people – there’s always something happening. So it was always a dream to have a shop in the city somewhere.”
Kerr wandered into the Royal Arcade in March last year, and, impressed with the heritage spaces, reached out to management to see if there were any storefronts available.
“I never got a response so I completely forgot about it,” she says. Then a couple of months later I received a phone call saying, ‘We have something for you: it’s really unusual, and very special.’
“I said I’d take it before I knew if we could sell food there.”
The tiny space, only a few feet wide and deep, was previously a key-cutting shop. It’s essentially a serving window – with an old wooden frame – beneath a stairwell.
“It’s so cosy and small,” says Kerr, “a hidden gem”.
Kerr trained at prestigious cooking schools in France including L’École de Boulangerie et de Patisserie in Paris and Pâtisserie Lenôtre before moving to Melbourne with her family. She started selling her pastries at Prahran Market, then opened her shop at South Melbourne Market.
A portion of the pastries baked at South Melbourne are delivered to the Royal Arcade from Wednesday to Friday (and in proper Parisian style – by bike). You’ll smell the fresh pastries before you reach the tiny storefront. There are almond croissants, danishes, canelés, escargots and friands, as well as less-traditional pastries such as matcha, pandan or coffee croissants.
“A lot of people walk by and get a surprise when they see it,” says Kerr. “It’s a secret place. Once you find it, it’s special.”
Agathé Pâtisserie Petite
Shop 49A, Royal Arcade, 335 Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne
0403 222 573
Tue to Fri 8am–3pm