La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie, The Rocks

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Upon first hear­ing from N about a cake using lychee at La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie, I knew it was time to make my way across the City. Past exper­i­ence has proven than La Renaissance can execute a fla­vour not only accur­ately, but with flair.

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This beauty is the Monet ($9.50).

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The Monet is white chocol­ate and vanilla bav­aroise on a base of coconut and almond meringue, layered with fresh rasp­ber­ries, a cen­ter of lychee jelly on pain de gene, and fin­ished with a white chocol­ate glaze.

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This is the light­est cake, with the centre of lychee jelly barely sweet but fla­voured with authen­t­ic mel­low notes of fresh lychee that carry through each bite with the oth­er ele­ments of the cake. Any stronger, and the fla­vour of lychee would have veered into arti­fi­ci­al­ity. The dens­er tex­ture of the lychee jelly con­trasts with the soft­ness of the rest of the cake, with the lay­er of fresh rasp­ber­ries adding to the refresh­ing fla­vour without being overly tart to over­whelm the sub­tlety of the lychee notes. The coconut and almond meringue base was soft enough to hold the lay­ers without mak­ing its pres­ence too obvi­ous either in tex­ture or flavour.

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The cake is topped with a freeze dried lychee, a fresh rasp­berry and blue­berry, and pista­chio crumb. I love the intens­ity of fla­vour in freeze-dried fruits, and while this lychee wasn’t crispy but chewy, it still packed a good lychee fla­vour. The rasp­berry was quite tart in con­trast to the lay­er inside the cake, while the white chocol­ate glaze was very sticky and held all the top­pings (almost too securely) to the cake.

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Overall, the Monet is an impress­ively light, refresh­ing and bal­anced cake, bring­ing out both the fla­vour of lychee and rasp­berry without either fla­vour over­whelm­ing or com­pet­ing with the other.

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One of the incred­ible joys of hav­ing T with N and me when we have lunch is that we get to choose his dessert for him. Invariably, it’s our second choice on the offer­ing that we’d oth­er­wise have left behind for our first choice. And this is Goya ($9.50).

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The Goya is a rasp­berry mousse cake, encas­ing a pas­sion­fruit cre­meux centre, crunchy almond nou­gat­ine and an almond sponge base.

Raspberry is focus here with the mousse hav­ing a smooth tex­ture and a punchy sweet rasp­berry fla­vour in stark con­trast to the sub­dued notes in the Monet. The pas­sion­fruit cre­meux pleas­antly cuts through the sweet­ness of the rasp­berry with its intense tangy fla­vour, while the almond nou­gat­ine provides some wel­come crunch to the soft­ness of the cake. Again, the sponge base car­ries the cake without mak­ing it’s pres­ence obvious.

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Fresh ber­ries, a macar­on shell, and a disc of white chocol­ate dec­or­ate the gold speckled top. The acid­ity from the fresh ber­ries also cut through the sweet­ness of the mousse, while the macar­on shell provides a chewy crisp­ness along with the white chocolate.

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As I’ve come to expect from La Renaissance, the Goya show­cases the fla­vours of rasp­berry and pas­sion­fruit with care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion as to com­ple­ment­ing and con­trast­ing tex­tures and flavours.

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La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie is loc­ated at 47 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW 2000.