Black Star Pastry founder takes over Stanmore's Mrs Underwood cafe site

Black Star Pastry founder Christopher The's strawberry watermelon cake.
Black Star Pastry founder Christopher The's strawberry watermelon cake. Photo: Unox/Ikon Productions

The creator of the strawberry watermelon cake, an edible Sydney icon that became famously more popular with Chinese tourists on social media than the Sydney Opera House, is back with a new food business.

Black Star Pastry founder Christopher The has snapped up the Mrs Underwood cafe site in Stanmore, where he wants to go "next level".

The chef sold Black Star Pastry in 2019 to Jackalope Group, owners of Victoria's luxury boutique hotel Jackalope, after its founder, Louis Li, noticed the popularity of the strawberry and watermelon cake on Chinese social media giant WeChat.

Black Star Pastry founder Christopher The.
Black Star Pastry founder Christopher The. Photo: Supplied

True to his word, Li has taken Black Star to the world (it recently opened a branch in Shanghai). Meanwhile, The has spent the past few years doing consultancy work before deciding to scratch his kitchen itch full-time.

The doesn't want to create another Black Star empire, content this time with a single mothership.

"I remember going to Vulcans and seeing Phillip Searle [who built a reputation on his chequerboard ice-cream] and thinking that's a great way to do the next chapter," The says.

He's stripped the Mrs Underwood signage from the site, with a plan to run it as an unnamed pop-up cafe until early June, when he'll close for renovations. Later this year he'll unveil a new concept and name at the Douglas Street site.

Over the next six weeks, locals and visitors (it's near Chef's Armoury) will get the full range of The's cooking talent.

A chef at several fine diners, Quay included, before he branched into pastry, The will punch out dishes such as soft polenta with spicy meatballs as well as pastries and cakes, which he says are good but they aren't his recipes.

The chef's heart is clearly in the inner-west. He lives locally and was born in Haberfield.

Open Mon-Sat 6am-3pm.

16 Douglas Street, Stanmore