Don’t Lose Your Temper, which opened last month in Fitzroy, isn’t named as a cautionary reminder to keep your angry outbursts in check, but its caution is about something that’s just as difficult to control – a chocolate temper.
Tempering is a technique that distributes cocoa butter evenly in melted chocolate before it sets. This is what achieves that distinctive, even “chocolatey” taste and smooth mouth-feel – and the ideal snap when you bite into it – while also ensuring its glossy appearance.
The cafe and patisserie’s co-owners, Anthony Hart and Michael Furness, met when Furness was a “newbie” at Vue de Monde, and Hart was the fine diner’s head pastry chef. While Furness moved around Shannon Bennett’s Vue Group – his various roles included sous chef at now-closed Bistro Vue – Hart oversaw the entire pastry element of the restaurant group, before moving through a number of American kitchens.
“I was with them for a year and then after that I was making some desserts that were difficult for them to keep replicating – they couldn’t do the volume,” Hart says. “So I said to them, ‘Maybe I can do this in a separate entity?’”
So Don’t Lose Your Temper was born as a wholesale business in 2013. The project gained momentum and before long, Hart called Furness – then working with Vue de Monde alumni at Amaru – to come in and help with the workload. By 2016, Furness was a full-time co-owner.
“Our business model works, but we felt that we weren’t giving the customers and our wholesale customers a chance to see what we actually do,” Hart says. So the duo decided to open a store, selling their pretty cakes, mousses, eclairs and tarts.
“We wanted to be more the VW of pastry of this particular product,” he says, referring to the small cakes and pastry items in which they specialise. “You go to [other] pastry stores and you’re spending $15 a cake – and we know what they actually cost.” At Don’t Lose Your Temper, the most you’ll pay for a small cake or sweet treat is $8.50.
When the space that formerly housed restaurant Ibla Cucina Italiana opened up, Hart and Furness seized it. The fit-out hasn’t changed too much: most of the shelving’s been kept, it’s just been rearranged, while the exposed-brick walls have been left untouched. The pizza oven has been swapped for a front kitchen, which is used for cake glazing, decorating and chocolate work.
Don’t Lose Your Temper works double time. To customers who happen upon it, it’s a pastry-focused cafe, which also has a small range of house-made sandwiches and toasties, and croissants from Cobb Lane. There’s also a serious coffee and hot-chocolate offering. For wholesale clients, the space is a showroom for products they’d otherwise only see online. Bestsellers include a green-and-red-rhubarb cheesecake and coconut caramel slices.
Almost everything that’s available wholesale can be bought in store, and Hart and Furness are constantly rotating new creations, using the store as a test kitchen for eventual wholesale products.
When Broadsheet visited, the duo were trialling a roast pumpkin, salted caramel and spice mousse with a dulcey chocolate glaze.
Don’t Lose Your Temper
256 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9973 1134
Wed to Fri 7.30am–4pm
Sat to Sun 8.30am–5pm
This article was updated on July 27, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.