“I've seen some pictures of things like milkshakes with pretzels all around the rim and then doughnuts over the top,” patissier Adriano Zumbo says, laughing. “It's not a milkshake. It's got half a plate of dessert on top, do you know what I mean? I don't understand that one.”
Even for the man behind our obsession with macarons, croquembouche and V8 cakes, the latest internet food craze is a step too far.
Little Frankie's is a move back to basics. Housed in the same building as his high-tea salon, Fancy Nance, it focuses on the simple art of Italian baking. While Nance was a tribute to his glamorous mother, Little Frankie's is a nod to Zumbo's father.
“There were two Frankies in Coonamble, where I grew up,” he explains. “There was Big Frank, who lived over the other side of the bridge, and my dad was Little Frank.”
Although Zumbo was born in rural New South Wales, his parents' Italian heritage has been an inspiration for him.
“I love eating Italian pastry," he says. “Cannoli, zuccherati and ricotta cake – so simple and tasty.”
To reconnect with his Calabrian roots, last year Zumbo went to Italy for a study trip. “Every day I was in someone's house, someone's kitchen learning something different,” he says.
He's returned with a menu that's full of Italian classics. All of Zumbo's Italian favourites feature on the sweet side of things, plus some stellar panettone buns. There's also a gelato cabinet, stocked with flavours such as vanilla risotto and olive oil with lemon.
If you're feeling more like something savoury, grab a ragout-stuffed arancini, or a mbriulata (puff pastry scroll). Zumbo says he's looking to add pizzas, calzones and more, once his giant oven arrives.
If you're in a rush, everything is available to go from the takeaway counter. Otherwise, grab a table in the 30-seat cafe and enjoy over an espresso.
The colourful fit-out, courtesy of Studio Tate, is classic Zumbo territory – his signature blush pink features, and there is a striking flamingo mural by artist Dan Wenn.
21 Daly Street, South Yarra
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat & Sun 7 am–5 pm