It’s safe to say that Beatrix owner and talented pastry chef Nat Paull was no ordinary teen. While her peers were scouring Dolly and idolising Michael J Fox, she was collecting Gourmet Traveller magazines and worshipping Maggie Beer. Starting her career working as Beer’s young apprentice at Pheasant Farm taught her to “cook from the heart” and she later went on to work as a pastry chef alongside names like Greg Malouf, Stephanie Alexander and Cath Claringbold, developing a deep and enduring love affair with all things baked along the way.
After a recent two-year sabbatical (and much needed break from the ovens), Paull decided that it was time to open her own place, “doing the things that I love to make every day”. So after securing her dream location and renovating a character-filled, one-time butcher shop, Beatrix emerged in March this year and has been charming the hearts of lucky locals ever since.
Seating just a handful of customers, the lo-fi, vintage shopfront ambles at a pace that is relaxed, neighbourly and super-friendly. The blackboard menu lists savoury options like the ‘Eddie’ ciabatta filled with Chianina white beef meatloaf, cheddar and cider caramelised onions, or the popular ‘Beggbie’ roll of grilled Otway Ranges bacon with fried egg, beetroot, apple aioli and roquette. Produce is sourced from ethical and local suppliers where possible, and customers’ home-grown fruit often makes an appearance on the menu.
Sweet treats are definitely the main deal here though, so it’s tough to go past the heavenly raspberry ripple angel food cake or Paull’s weekend-only brioche donuts. Things start getting tricky when you spy the signature, nutty, Jewish rugelach or the truly decadent ‘Moroccan Snickers’ tart – milk chocolate and date caramel tart with a peanut cookie crust.
There’s excellent coffee by Allpress and the neighbourly spirit extends to discounts for customers toting Keep Cups or arriving by bike. Plus there’s a free slice of cake when you donate your old, vintage eggbeaters to add to the proudly displayed Beatrix collection. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us.
688 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
(03) 9090 7301
Mon 8am–4pm (kitchen until 2.30 pm, coffee until 3.30 pm, cake all day)
Wed-Fri 8am–4pm (kitchen until 2.30 pm, coffee until 3.30 pm, cake all day)