Waffle irons are very versatile kitchen appliances. People are using them to make everything from mac’n’cheese waffles to bacon and eggs.
One waffle-iron creation that has taken off in the past few years is the croffle: a cronut-like creation that sees a croissant (baked or unbaked) placed in a waffle iron until it’s golden brown and crisscrossed with the machine’s signature ridges.
The invention of the croffle is usually credited to Irish pastry chef and television host Louise Lennox, but its popularity really kicked off in South Korea. While the pastry has popped up at a few spots in Melbourne already – including Korean cafe Ondo – Lemuse, which opened in Carlton last month, is taking the croffle craze to new heights.
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Founded by four friends – Natasha Carolyne Lesmana, Andrew Toming, Kenny Rorimpandey and
Michael Liong – the minimalist Swanston Street bakery is almost spaceship-like, courtesy of its clean lines, silver finishes and decorative LED lights on the walls. Its inventive croffles include a sweet pandan and toasted coconut number, and a savoury one with smoked salmon, créme fraîche, red onions, fresh dill and capers.
Lesmana, the bakery’s creative, marketing and product head, is in charge of the food. Under her direction, the croffles are toasted in a waffle iron, giving them a crunchy exterior shell and a flaky interior. She also offers a take on the banana pudding by Manhattan’s Sex and the City-famous Magnolia Bakery, in banana or apple-cinnamon flavours.
While Lesmana looks after the baked goods, the rest of the team is focused on an Indonesian-inspired drinks menu – including a pandan latte, which Lesmana had noticed popping up all around her home country. “Around four years ago, when I went back to Indonesia, I noticed a new coffee shop in my neighbourhood where they served a pandan latte,” she says. “It was truly life-changing the moment I tried it.”
Another Indonesian speciality found at the cafe is an avocado-chocolate drink that’s best served iced. “I think it’s really bold of us to bring a sweet avocado treat to a country that is accustomed to savoury avocados,” Lesmana says.
558 Swanston Street, Carlton
Mon to Wed 9.30am–6.30pm
Thurs to Sat 9.30am–9.30pm