Sublime: Save room for dessert at LuxBite.
Sublime: Save room for dessert at LuxBite. Photo: Ken Irwin

38 Toorak Road South Yarra, Victoria 3141

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Opening hours Daily 10.30am-7pm
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Mastercard, Visa
Phone 03 9867 5888

LuxBite is a dessert cafe in South Yarra, a suburb where sweet-tooth emporia and teeth-whitening clinics seem to operate in roughly equal numbers. Owners Bernard Chu and Yen Yee worked the pastry stations at restaurants including Rockpool, Quay and Comme before opening their own sleek, petite pleasure dome in 2010.

LuxBite is deservedly beloved for its East-meets-West macarons (pandan, say, or kaffir lime) and superbly outlandish cakes, but should also be celebrated for its Malaysian-style savoury snacks and brunches.

The brunch menu is small but the dishes are sublime, mixing Malaysian and European elements to inspired and purposeful effect. Satay-marinated chicken leg is turmeric-tinged, crisp-skinned and as juicy as an overripe tomato. It pulls easily from the bone into soft, creamy polenta rimmed by burnt butter sauce. Salty crunch comes courtesy of anchovies and peanuts, rumbled together in a jammy version of ikan bilis, a dried anchovy condiment.

Satay-marinated chicken leg with creamy polenta.
Satay-marinated chicken leg with creamy polenta. Photo: Ken Irwin

Chicken also features alongside lap cheong (Chinese pork sausage) in a sticky rice dish that's so hearty I was afraid it would overwhelm my dessert stomach. Luckily, it's tempered by a crunchy iceberg lettuce and cucumber salad.

Braised beef is textbook comfort food, resting on soft bacon and potato mash, and topped with a fried egg with a wok-style crisp fringe.

The small dining room and elaborate cake display mean this isn't your average brunch hangout; if you want the bathroom, you need to trot to a local park.

I am not the world's biggest macaron fan, but LuxBite's sour strawberry flavour could be the one to turn me. I'm also fully on board with the Lolly Bag Cake and gluten-free Meringue Monster. Or you could buy a cake-scented candle for sugar-free swooning.