A few weeks ago while one half of the team was soaking up the Parisian sun, I headed to the next best thing, That Place. This quaint corner patisserie is fast becoming the go-to for all things delicious. We sat down with Ashlea, owner, pastry chef and visionary behind the Belmont establishment.
Tell us about That Place, where did it all begin and what was your vision?
That Place is a result of so much inspiration, vision and learning that i have gained over the last ten years. Eight years ago, I decided to put a hold on my career in exercise science and make the big move to France to take on a career as a pastry chef. I had always loved cooking. Any spare time was spent in the kitchen and more significantly, any hard period of my life. My love of food and the exercise go hand in hand. Keeping fit allows me to eat more pastries. My partner Tom and I purchased our little Mt Pleasant Road property one year ago and after some pretty major renovations, That Place was opened in October. Our goal was to provide a modern version of a corner store bakery/patisserie. A small warming shop front, where people come to enjoy a beautiful selection of pastry items along with a European style breakfast and lunch. My viennoiserie’s (croissants, danish etc) are one of my specialties, so there is a large focus on these. We create wholesome tarts and cakes that keep customers coming back for more. At That Place we make as much from scratch as possible; all of our breads are made from our very own culture into beautiful sourdough loaves. brioche, puff pastry and croissants are all made from start to finish. We make our own jams, muesli's, sauces and even bottled cold drinks. We have already got lots of beautiful local suppliers on board and we are excited to get a lot more.
Where did you learn to make these delicious treats?
I studied at L'école Grégoire-Ferrandi before working at La Pâtisserie des Rêves and Le Grenier à pain. When I returned to Australia I worked at Tivoli Road Bakery in South Yarra This is where I learnt so much about baking wholesome sourdough breads and using high quality seasonal produce to make simple products taste so good!
What was your inspiration when designing the interior of That Place?
As soon as Tom and I walked into the space we knew it was the one. It exemplified the corner store bakery feel that I had been looking for. We have tried to create a minimalistic but stylish space that puts the food on show. Nordic details like beautiful wood features help to warm the small space. There is a steel framed croissant room where the customers can see our chefs at work. Tom comes from a trade background and has created some classic wood and tiled features. The space may seem small at first but it is an inviting space that aligns with our food and design philosophy of less is more. We did not want to create a huge cafe with lots of tables. We love that people wait and mingle out the front of the cafe on weekends because it is too small to fit everyone inside. There is also our outdoor deck, which captures the afternoon sun, there is a large window that opens into the kitchen. We want our customers to be able to see exactly where their food is being made and with what ingredients.
You have such a wide variety of pastries on offer, what are your person favourites?
The pain au chocolat is my morning go to. That, with a coffee, is my most perfect way to start the day. For an afternoon snack I definitely would choose our choux buns. Choux pastry full of creamy custard and whatever other delicious filling.
What is on the horizon for That Place?
Lots more fun and exciting pastries. We have been overwhelmed with how busy we have been from Day 1. We still have so many other pastries to offer that have not even made the counter yet. We are also finalising plans to offer private high teas, for small groups, which should be lots of fun. So stay tuned for all of the details.
Next time you are looking to treat yourself head over to That Place, 110B Mt Pleasant Rd, Belmont VIC 3216. Don't forget to take in your keep cup to have yourself 50c on their delicious 7 seeds coffee, and a container for those takeaway pastries. We'll be sure to bump into you there soon.