CHEFS can be tetchy creatures so it’s a testament to Olivier Collas and Franck Gire that they are not only life partners of 33 years, but work together in the pressure cooker of their patisserie Scents of Taste in Mt Lawley six days a week.
The couple still have the enthusiasm to share a joke and a laugh with their customers; in this case at my French name and absolutely appalling pronunciation of merci and bonjour.
Collas and Gire grew up in Orleans, south of Paris, where they learned their trade, before heading down under 21 years ago.
Tucked behind the Astor Theatre on Walcott Street, the patisserie has been sweetening folk from near and far for 13 years.
All the goodies, including the croissants, are made from scratch – except for the crusty baguettes, which are shipped from France for an authentic taste then cooked on the premises.
Along with a fantastic array of cakes the shop sells quite a range of savoury foods, including baguettes stuffed with fillings such as roast lamb and camembert, pork and avocado, or smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Perusing the packed cabinet I missed the stuffed mushroom ($15.50), until my lunch companion pointed it out.
And I was thanking her eagle eye as I tucked into the flavour-packed morsel.
A variety of fresh herbs, notably thyme, pepped up the mix of pumpkin, celery and eggplant, while tiny tomatoes and fetta added a wonderful sharpness for a great balance.
My friend took so long to decide I thought she’d taken root but eventually she went for the chicken and mushroom pie ($15.50), the short crust casing topped with filo pastry for a nice crunch.
“It’s good, not dry and full of flavour. It’s got a lot more than just chicken and mushroom, which is good…and the rosemary is a signature note,” she opined, sounding a bit like a judge on a reality cooking show.
You can’t go to Scents of Taste and not eat cake, so we did, sharing a raspberry and almond and a chocolate and caramel tart ($7.50).
The raspberry tart had a delightful sharpness, while the creamy frangipane filling gave a subtle sweetness.
There was nothing subtle about the chocolate tart, a decadently rich mouse, with a wickedly sweet caramel base.
Good thing we had a couple of hot beverages to settle the taste buds, a very good coffee for my friend and a civilised pot of earl grey tea for me ($4.50).
by JENNY D’ANGER
Scents of Taste
80 Walcott Street, Mt Lawley
open Tues-Fri 8am–4pm, Sat
9.30–4pm, Sun 8.30–1pm