Fancy Nance : 21 Daly St, South Yarra

July 12, 2015 at 8:18 pm (Bakery, Bar, Dessert, South Yarra)

Fancy Nance - Entrance

After creating a literal conveyor belt of sugar with the dessert version of a sushi train, Adriano Zumbo is shaking up high tea.  Fancy Nance is his new high tea salon tucked away on Daly St behind South Yarra’s Olsen hotel.  The warehouse, once the location of Manu Feildel’s Le Grand Cirque, has been transformed with typical Zumbo flamboyance.  The impression is Alice in Wonderland with a dash of French glam; whimsical murals of pink flamingos in a landscape of rolling green hills and giant spotted mushrooms adorn the white walls, overlooking a large dining area furnished with plush, forest green banquette seats and bentwood chairs at white-clothed tables.  Glitzy, pink-glass-edged mirrors extend the length of the open kitchen and chic, modern bar on opposite sides of the room, reflecting the glow from upside-down, hanging teapot and teacup lights, a clever effect that takes the hard edge off exposed ducting and concrete floors.  It’s a mish-mash of ideas that somehow just come together in the way that the master pâtissier has taken kalamata olives and wasabi into dessert territory.

Fancy Nance - Dining Room

Fancy Nance - Dining Room 2

Fancy Nance - Lights

Fancy Nance - Kitchen

For a 90 minute seating, you have the choice of a $45 menu featuring 3 sweets, scones and 3 savoury items, or the extravagant “I’m So Fancy” degustation that serves up more of everything for $65.  Gluten-free and vegetarian guests are well-catered for by separate menus and a devonshire tea option is also available.  As it would be expected of Zumbo to defy convention, sweets are served ahead of savoury courses (life is short right?), possibly starting with marshmallow ice cream sandwiched between chewy chocolate biscuits, kept cool on a bed of chilled pebbles.  The Chouxmaca is an eye-catching profiterole-macaron mash-up; milo macaron with a swirl of cream sitting atop a berry-filled, bright red choux puff.

Fancy Nance - Ice Cream Sandwich


Fancy Nance - Chouxmaca

Chef-y desserts may be in the form of tapioca-studded, lemongrass panna cotta, layered with passionfruit curd and finished with coconut foam, or a deconstructed “pie” of lemon-stewed apple on a golden biscuit base, topped with cinnamon marshmallow tubes and sorrel leaves.  It’s a restrained and thoughtful balance of flavours; slightly savoury choux pastry paired with lightly sweetened cream, tart citrus contrasting sweet, buttery biscuit and marshmallow.

Fancy Nance - Apple Pie

Scones are served with cottage cheese spread and capsicum jam (which leaves just a remnant of heat on your tongue), alongside the traditional whipped cream and raspberry compote.  The delicious savoury twist allows you to jump straight into olive-filled puff pastries topped with smoked ricotta, golden-fried meatballs filled with gooey molten cheese and skewered with mini potato crisps, and moreish pork rilette sliders.  The glossy, salt-flecked, pretzel buns are an interesting change from customary brioche.

Fancy Nance - Scones

Fancy Nance - Puff Pastry w Candied Olive

Fancy Nance - Meatball

Fancy Nance - Pork Rillette Slider

To drink, there’s fair trade coffee, proper hot chocolate prepared with milk and dark couverture, and a wide selection of teas – classic breakfast and earl grey, alongside Japanese sencha, smooth Comoro vanilla, and herbal tisanes – served in an eclectic assortment of teapots.  Those who fancy an afternoon tipple can upgrade to a glass of bubbly, with a cocktail menu also in the works.

Fancy Nance - Tea

Playful, refined and elegant, Fancy Nance is a must-try Melbourne high tea experience; a twist on the finger-sandwich/scone/teacake affair that will keep you intrigued with the unexpected.

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