Monarch Cakes

"She's got Kugels and she knows how to use them"...

Monarch Cake Shop
103 Acland Street
St Kilda, Melbourne, 
T (03) 9534 2972
Yazza had  promised a tram ride on a cool day, to stroll and sample cake on Acland Street, one of St Kilda's two retail strips. The cool spring Melbourne day was perfect for such indulgence.    

St Kilda,  long  renowned for its Jewish-Euro cake shops  has felt the impact of rising rents, so I wasn't prepared for the cake-fest to follow - let alone my newfound conviction that if I had to eat just one cake at the Last Supper it would be the  
Chocolate Kugelhopf  from Monarch Cake Shop

The  wicked cake shops - synagogues of  sugar-hit sin - are tempting diversions along Acland.  But the  more modest Monarch Cake Shop with its 100 Year Old Polish Cheese cake recipe, cup cakes  and other tempting "original recipe" delights displayed in the window - finally proved impossible  to resist. 

The shop, originally known as 'Monaco' was  established in 1931 in Lygon Street, Carlton.  When bohemian Deco era society moved to bayside St Kilda in the 1930's the Monaco followed, rebadging itself under the name 'Monarch' in 1934.  The owner, a Polish emigre, continued to make and sell some of Melbourne's finest cakes using the delightlful traditional recipes of her home country. Today the shop is an independent family owned business and continues the traditions of European baking using the freshest  ingredients (according to the website) - no premixes - using the original Polish recipes as well as others from Eastern Europe - Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia.

At Monarch Cake Shop Kugelhopf comes warmed with your coffee, and breaks open to reveal luscious swirls of melting chocolate in a moist yeast-cake mix.  Its origins seem lost in the confusion of time - one story has it that the Kugelhopf was a gift from the Three Magis coming back from Bethlehem 2000 years ago... but anything that has been around this long must be good.

If you are sharing - be mindful - one forkful and the inner savage you didn't know you had, may well be released.
 Affordable sin 
- the heights of divine cake delight combined with the knick-knack ambience of your grandparents living room, and stacks of  reading in the form of 1970's/80's architecture mags - this unique cafe experience and slice of history comes for the price of a $6.50 cake.  

This onetime outpost of bohemian 1930's Euro-cafe society still delivers  the goods. But it's wise to remember that as a well known and well loved destination there can be a kugle queue.  New York Times in 13 Highlights of Melbourne City, recently classed it as  
one of Melbourne's "four best food experiences"

Weekdays are perfect for quiet kugeling - so  
whenever you can
... just go... feed your inner savage

And the coffee? Gravity Coffee - according to the website. The 6 Degrees Darker blend -  "a mix of beans from Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil..." and other exotic climes.... but really I was too distracted to notice. 

St Kilda:
6 km south of Melbourne, St Kilda is an eclectic mix of architectural styles. The 19th century boomtime mansions of  wealthy Melburnian gentry still line St Kilda's waterfront and the colourful and innovative facades of  modern apartments lend inner city ambience and amenity.
St Kilda is also home to many of Melbourne's recreational attractions including Luna Park, St Kilda baths, Saint Kilda beach and many annual events and festivals. 

Get there:
Tram 96 from Bourke Street Mall
Tram 16 from Flinders Street Station on Swanston Street

All photos: Donna Broun.  Copyright 2012

Cafe Noir is a midnight blog cafe - and records the architecture + coffee experiences of Muz and Mez around the world.  
Mez is a Melbourne Lawyer and Muz is a  Landscape Architect and Urban Designer. 

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