Saturday, July 31, 2010
MakMak macarons, Redfern
Have you got macaron fatigue yet? Nevermind, as MakMak is here to respark your interest. While the business is off to a small-scale start (making cameos in some inner-city cafes, offering limited online orders), its current range is assured and impressive – these flavours are no warm-up act.
My favourite is the Raisin Toast macaron, with its spiced-fruit warmth, raisin-studded sweetness and creamy ganache. I love it. In a perfect (nutrition-irrelevant) world, this is what I would have for breakfast everyday.
The Peppermint and Chocolate has a good minty punch and choc-slick centre, while the Black Sesame is full of fighting flavour - it's something you'd like to see on an Asian dessert plate, or gracing more contemporary yum cha trolleys.
Being a bit of a wimp, I was worried the Sea Salt Caramel would be too much, but it's levelled just right – the ganache has a full-strength nutty chew, with the thick biscuit cushioning out any overpowering sugar-salted tones. The same is true of the Mocha, with its coffee jolt – just sweet and bitter enough to satisfy.
The only flavour I didn't entirely love was the Quince and Grape, but that's just a personal quirk – I think grape-anything was ruined for me by some type of oven-baked fruit muesli bar that parents must've been guilted into packing into kids' lunchboxes when I was growing up. I think my tastebuds have had a grudge with that oversweet baked-grape flavour ever since.
I really like what MakMak is doing and am excited to know that one of its upcoming flavours will be Raspberry & Cardamom-scented White Chocolate 'Rice Pudding'. (I think that one needs no full-hearted pitch – it already sells itself on title alone.) Given that the company is still young and small-scope, its hope is to slowly add and change the range seasonally (giving us yet another reason to yearn for spring).
One of the creative forces behind MakMak is Carlos Heng, who used to be a chef (alongside Dan Hong) but now is in another area of the food industry (where the work hours are less deranged). He converted to macaron-making after Gourmet Traveller gave the sweet front-cover-status for its French issue last year.
Since then, he's had bake-offs, sold at markets, and begun selling his multi-flavoured confections at Sydney cafes such as Cafe Lounge and Room 9 in Surry Hills and Baffi and Mo in Redfern. (In fact, macaron orders for the latter cafe have quickly bumped up six-fold.) He's about to head to New York for more research - via Paris, where the meringue-and-ganache treat has queue-attracting pull, particularly in the salons of Laduree and Pierre Hermé (who was famously dubbed the "Picasso of pastry" by Vogue).
MakMak is based in Redfern and can organise inner-city orders ($25 for a dozen) – that's how I picked up my mixed dozen box. Email the business directly for more information. Otherwise, try Lounge, Room 9 and Baffi and Mo cafes, and keep an eye on the Facebook page for developments (and the debut of the delectable-sounding Raspberry & Cardamom-scented White Chocolate 'Rice Pudding'). You can also follow MakMak on Twitter.