Crème brûlée is making a creative comeback in Sydney (and here are five to make you cringe)

The light crackle of a silver spoon against the crisp, caramelized shell of a crème brûlée propelled the classic French dessert to the fore in the 1980s, when high-end restaurants, such as New York’s Le Cirque, l presented as a symbol of the decade. decadence.

Some thirty years later, crème brûlée has reappeared on Sydney restaurant menus, where social media stars enjoy the dessert for its visual spectacle as much as its luxurious taste.

But where dessert once demanded high prices and strict adherence to an age-old recipe, some of its best iterations are now found in hole-in-the-wall takeaways infused with Thai flavors or with no trace of dairy. .

Here are five to get you excited.

Air Lab Crème Brûlée Soufflé Crepe, $11.80

The team at Petit Café Cabramatta have been perfecting their creme brulee soufflé for more than three years, but it took time viral tiktok video for their number one dessert to take off.

Their crème brûlée is airy and light, made with whipped egg whites, milk and flour, then passed over a hot grill and topped with a sweet cream sauce. Air Lab uses a blowtorch to scald the outer layer, giving the dessert its classic caramelized outer shell and deliciously wonky interior.

Air Lab manager Nelly Chen says she loved seeing customers, some of whom travel up to two hours to sample the dessert, “rubbing their eyes” in disbelief.

“They’ve never tried anything like this in Sydney before,” she says.

Shop 5/85 John Street, Cabramatta NSW 2166, 0434 640 900,

Félix vanilla crème brûlée with almond tuile, $18

Merivale’s classic French restaurant offers a traditional creme brulee, with a delicate “just taken” vanilla custard and burnt sugar crust, topped with fresh rhubarb sorbet and pistachio crumble.

“Creme brulee really is the ultimate dessert,” says Felix’s head chef, Mike Flood.

“You get the sweetest satisfaction from breaking off the burnt top to reveal the custard below, which evokes memories of our childhood. It’s a dessert for any occasion.”

2 Ash Street, Sydney, 02 9114 7303,

Mango Coco Coconut and Pandan Crème Brûlée, $18

Tucked away in the Thai town of Haymarket, Mango Coco serves up crème brûlée with a “unique and unexpected twist.”

The custard is infused with the flavor of pandan leaves, a mild-tasting tropical plant with an earthy, sweet aroma, and the sweet shell is topped with coconut granola for extra crunch.

Mango Coco has become known for its bright, almost whimsical aesthetic, and this dessert is no different. Served in a coconut shell, surrounded by dry ice, it caught the attention of thousands of TikTokers.

421 Pitt Street, Haymarket, 02 8065 7034,

Ester Burnt Pancake, $14

Two-hatted Chippendale restaurant Ester made mouths water this week when photos of its new menu, the Crepe Burnt, recently appeared on Instagram.

Australia’s modern take on the traditional dessert is silky vanilla custard rolled into a thin crepe, caramelized in a wood-fired oven and served with lemon caramel sauce.

Food blogger WL Foo tried the dish when it was served on Saturday, telling Good Food he liked the way the chef played with the texture.

“What sets Ester’s apart is the addition of the pasty element, which is foreign to classic creme brulee,” he says.

46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale, 02 8068 8279,

Le Gourmand creme brulee, $6.50

Classically trained chef Frédéric Mariage has put his 26 years of experience in French catering to work in creating the first and only French vegan French catering company, Le Gourmand.

The hole-in-the-wall cafe Newtown serves dairy-free, egg-free cremes brulee that some claim is “even better than the non-vegan version,” Mariage says.

“The main challenge is to figure out what the main ingredients are in a crème brûlée and what I can use to replace them, but it’s not that complicated,” he says.

“What I created is so creamy and so smooth you’ll never be able to tell the difference.”

414 King Street, Newtown, 0466 060 650,

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