When you think doughnuts, it may evoke the cartoony, jimmy-covered kind that Homer J. is partial to, or maybe the sad, glazed rings that sit in the fluorescent-lit display case at the petrol station. Doughnuts are so much more - and once you get started, you’ll find that it’s a whole dimension of chocolate-dipped, cinnamon-dusted, custard-piped, sugar-rolled glory that will make your eyes glaze over.
Doughnuts also happen to be booming in Melbourne at the moment, so we hit the streets to rustle up the best in town.
Coming out of nowhere (well, that’s not true – his CV is studded with Michelin stars from around the world), British-born pastry chef Matt Forbes has created a cult following for his doughnuts that seem to be taking over the city. Flavours change week to week, but range from salted caramel, to raspberry and custard, and the suspiciously addictive ‘cigar’ doughnut with tobacco-infused custard.
Footscray Olympic Doughnuts
While the massive redevelopment of Footscray Station went on around him, Olympic Doughnut owner Nick Tsiligiris just kept doing what he’s been doing since he opened the now-rusted, graffitied caravan in 1981. It’s an old, familiar dance for the ever-white-smocked Tsiligiris: the dough is shaped into balls, deep-fried until golden, rolled quickly in sugar, then speared by the ceramic dolphin-shaped dispenser for a generous dollop of raspberry jam. Before you can even reach for your change, it’s handed to you in a brown paper bag and they’re serving the next customer. The Jiro of hot jam doughnuts.
51 Irving Street, Footscray
(03) 9689 4819
Tivoli Road Bakery
When Movida Bakery announced that they were changing hands, the majority response was: “but will there still be doughnuts?” New owner and head baker Michael James isn’t mad – of course there are still doughnuts. Alongside the rotating favourites of salted caramel, lemon curd, and rhubarb, there’s also the new dossant (known by its more common alias, the cronut), comprising flaky, croissant pastry with a well of custard in the centre. Blissful marriage or unholy union? You decide.
Doughboys is more the stoner-meets-artisan class of doughnut. Since their first pop-up at Mr Nice Guy, and as they prepare for their first permanent store at 535 Bourke Street in the CBD, we're seeing their flavours get more creative: from maple bacon to roast blueberries and lime toast. Keep experimenting fellas.
Visiting Candied Bakery in Spotswood is like an after-school trip to the milk bar you wish you had as a kid. If you can spot them through the crowded display case, the doughnuts here offer a choice of jelly or zuppa inglese (Italian custard); or if you can’t decide, go the jelly slice – a combo of both. The doughnut fillings are very generous – careful with that first bite or you might lose half of it on the pavement.
Europa Cake Shop
These fat, Polish paczki (or ponchkis) are a meal in itself – baseball-sized dough with a simple, light glaze on top and sweet, dark plum jam in the centre. Open in 1982, Europa may not be the oldest cake store on the St Kilda strip (Monarch has been at it since 1934), but these doughnuts are as old world as it gets.
81 Acland Street, St Kilda
(03) 9534 2156
Baker D. Chirico
Definitely the daintiest of the lot, the doughnuts at Baker D. Chirico are fluffy, light and elegant – they almost call for a fork, napkin and a smouldering espresso to be placed neatly alongside. Filled with speckled vanilla bean custard, the dough is flecked with a subtle citrus peel that sets it apart, and is finished with a dusting of sugar. Perfect.