Opening Hours:
Mon – Wed: 9am – 6pm
Thurs – Fri:  9am – 9pm
Sat: 9am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 5pm

Coffee: 5 Senses

Mr LB:
Passion [noun]: a strong and barely controllable emotion.

Passion is a burning sensation that we all possess. We are all passionate about something or someone, but it’s what we do with that passion which matters. For Cacao’s Head of Retail Division Tim Clark, his passion of providing a truly classic dessert/chocolate experience burns strongly.

‘We have to thank H&M for this creation’, Tim happily boasts. Cacao once had a small kiosk on the ground floor of the now defunct GPO. Pass-byers would buy their coffee and often purchase a small sweet to get them through the day. ‘We found that some of our customers who would get their daily coffees from us didn’t know who we were,’ reflects Tim. After some  analysis of the business, it was decided that Cacao needed a fresh direction – enter Cacao Lab.

Cacao Lab‘s fit-out is stunning and bold, drawing on a clinical theme. ‘The idea was to have a lab feel; however we still wanted to be inviting so we installed the architectural style light fixtures,’ Tim explains.

The location is unique and brings a very Melbourne experience. Located at the end of Drivers Lane (off Little Bourke Street) you will find a light-filled store with clean décor and a pleasing bright orange and white colour interplay.  On display are the various cakes in scientific-like glass domes and the window shelves display their popular designer chocolate products. The popular macrons are organised in endless rows in the front glass cabinet next to stunning, new-age éclairs and an assortment of small cakes.

Cacao Lab offers quiche and sandwiches for lunch, sourcing their bread at the delicious Woodfrog Bakery in St Kilda. Ordering an Open grilled Chicken – Brie, Avocado, pesto on light rye, served with leaf salad [$13] with a long black, we got onto talking about previous work careers and future direction. Whilst only being one slice, the sandwich was filling and satisfying with the basil pesto working well with the soft chicken beast pieces. Chicken and avocado always go well together and the melted brie was a delightfully soft element that rounded off the dish.

Open grilled Chicken – Brie, Avocado, pesto on light rye, served with leaf salad

The question of desert came up and we couldn’t say no, electing on a Double Chocolate Cake to share. Visually appealing with its carefully designed dome and well-placed chocolate dots, the taste didn’t disappoint. The chocolate mousse filling was rather rich and it’s advised that this dish should be shared!

Cacao Lab provides a unique chocolate experience that seriously contends with other Melbourne CBD operators. Its side street location and themed space makes for an exciting experience, not to mention being perfectly located for a post-shopping debrief at Melbourne Emporium. Cacao Lab should be on every foodies must-visit list.

Miss SL:
“Dessert houses are simply beautiful. Delicious macarons, eclaires and other French pastries are simply too good to pass up with a coffee or tea on a cold Winter’s day. When I found out the newly opened Cacao Lab in Drivers Lane did lunch, I was intrigued. Would it be nearly as good as their lamington macaron and stunning desserts? We put them to the test.

Arriving midweek around noon, the venue was quiet. Co-owner Tim Clark greeted us and joined us for our meal. Discussing his past gives interesting insight into the creativity and perfection found at Cacao Lab; starting his career on a luxury cruise ship as a patisserie chef, it is no wonder that each piece on show is perfectly made.

As we chatted, I perused the lunch menu and opted for a Passionfruit Tea and a Croque Monsieur – ham, bechamel sauce, Emmental & Mozzerella cheese, served with leaf salad [$13].

The passionfruit tea had a really beautiful and unique aroma. Sweet in smell but gentle in flavour, the tea was not as sugary or sweet as it let on, and was actually very easy to drink.

When our dishes came out, I must admit I was very happy – the bread was perfectly toasty and cheesy and the salad provided a nice contrast with the balsamic vinegar. The toasty held its form nicely as the meal went on and I was quite satisfied by the end of it.

Tim was very kind to us both and offered some take home desserts. Completely spoiled, I got a sample of each of the macarons on offer – hooray! In case you were in the market to buy some, please my one-word summary below.

Cacao Lab does a fast, efficient lunch with the added bonus of a huge selection of brunch desserts on offer. So close to H&M and Melbourne Emporium, it’s the perfect place to sit down, relax and enjoy a meal before getting on with your day.”

Final thought: “An excellent venue for a workday lunch – fast, efficient and delicious”

Miss SL’s macaron summary:

  • Raspberry – sweet
  • Pistachio – savoury
  • Jam & cream lamington – favourite
  • Milk chocolate banana – lollies
  • Peanut butter – delicious
  • Vanilla – perfect with tea
  • Chocolate – rich
  • Cookies & cream – creamy
  • Violet & cassis – surprising
  • New York cheescake – dessert
  • Cafe au lait – classic
  • Salted caramel – balanced

Cacao Lab on Urbanspoon


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