At the newly opened Petal Met Sugar in Woolloomooloo, the blooms and sweets are so good-looking that you’re surprised the furniture doesn’t get an inferiority complex. Here, the prettiness levels are dialed up to 11 – everything seems like it’s amplified to impress your eye. Each floral feature or pastry detail feels like it’s been colour-graded to cinematic perfection.
The friendly rivalry between the flowers and the food works well – and is best epitomised by Terrarium ($9.50), which is so luxurious looking, you’re surprised it doesn’t come with its own anti-theft device (it’d definitely inspire stealing)! A white chocolate dome houses cocoa nib soil and is planted with zingy passionfruit finger lime panna cotta, baby lemon balm and a mini-bouquet’s worth of edible flowers.
I also love the Peach Oolong ($9), which has way more Technicolour and architectural dazzle than your average cuppa. It’s a sculptural installation of blood peach compote, yogurt mousse, Lupicia peach oolong tea brûlée, coconut glaze, and little set of coconut macaron gatecrashers. Chasing it with a Watermelon Earl Grey Iced Tea ($6) is not a bad move!
Also in the display cabinet are Vanilla and Rhubarb Eclairs ($7) with rhubarb chips, the Chocolate Candy Bar with burnt butter ganache and praline feuilletine crunch ($9.50) and other tarts and gateaux. You can also order pastries such as Banana Bread with espresso butter and honey-infused mascarpone ($6).
Petal Met Sugar is a collaboration between patissier Elsa Li (who has worked for Adriano Zumbo) and florist Angela Wong – and I can imagine it’d be a good stop for someone planning their big day (Angela, in fact, happened to be in Hawaii preparing for a wedding when I dropped by).
Here’s the origin story behind the business.
“Elsa and I met about four years ago,” says Angela. “She was the pastry chef putting together all the desserts for the dessert bar at my wedding. Through the planning process, we became fast friends and often talked about how fun it would be to have a place of our own that combined her pastry skills and my passion for flowers. To us, the two things just seemed to fit together so nicely!”
“At the time, neither of us had the capital to actually start anything, so we started out very small by doing flowers and dessert tables for weddings and events and working out of our own homes. We did this for almost 3 years when finally everything started to fall in place. We both quit our jobs (Elsa was working for Merivale and I was an event manager at Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation), which was super terrifying (!!), and started working full time on getting this dream of ours together.”
Their career leap has definitely led to a venture that is incredibly un-terrifying (and very charming) for visitors. The menu is tea-splashed (“tea is a common flavour that we both really love,” explains Angela, and they use fruit-flavoured brews to lend a distinct flavour profile and sweetness to desserts, instead of artifical flavours and colouring) and you can find petals climbing and thriving and blooming throughout.
“When we were planning the dessert menu, we wanted to ensure a good portion of the desserts incorporated floral accents and tones to really reflect what our business is about – flowers and desserts. All of our desserts are finished with edible flowers and most notably, the terrarium encompasses an edible flower garden,” says Angela. “Once we settle in a bit more, we will be looking at expanding our product line with more floral-influenced sweets, so please stay tuned!”
In the meantime, if you’re after baked goods and bouquets that look like they’re the dream creation of an image-processing department, you’ll want to head to this small-scale venue. (And yes, the pastries aren’t just view-stunning creations – they resonate with vibrant flavours, too. Remember to toast them with tea, of course.)