Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cupcakes by Paolo

I love Footscray for the way it constantly subverts my expectations.  One time, meandering through the "little Khartoum" arcade, I spied some golden morsels in the normally-empty bain marie of the little Somali café.  Oh, I thought excitedly - perhaps these are some rare golden morsel of East African street food, redolent with Red Sea spices?  No - they were good old dim sims!  In another subversion, I love that the Northern Chinese places, 1+1 and Dumplings & More, do better lamb kebabs than the tired old Nicholson St kebab shops.  To really enjoy Footscray, you need to "give in" to it, go with the tide, and not let your expectations and preconceived notions get in the way.  Otherwise, you might just stride on past Lutong Pinoy in the Footscray Market undercroft, assuming they are only good for fried milkfish and pork blood stew... and then you would totally miss out on their boutique line of imports by the fabulous Cupcakes by Paolo!

I have been just itching to try these since Maria of the Gourmet Challenge posted her droolworthy photos and reviews.  However, Paolo's little beauties are only available on Saturday mornings, and are usually sold out whenever I have been passing by.  This last Saturday, there were some left, and thank goodness - I don't think my beautiful pregnant friend who was coming over that day would have appreciated the runner-up prize of a bowl of pork blood stew to accompany her cup of tea!

Very Berry Raspberry, $3

First cupcake out of the box was raspberry.  This had the heady, sticky scent of raspberry lollies, and took me back to my childhood, clutching a 20 cent piece in a sticky palm, waiting in breathless anticipation as the milk bar lady filled a little white paper bag with mixed lollies.

Exotic Buko Pandan, $3

Pandan has been described as Asia's "vanilla essence", as it often lends its sweet, aromatic, almost musty aroma to desserts.  This green beauty was fragrant with pandan.  And if you are wondering - yes, the icing is as good as it looks!

Pineapple Crush, $3

The pineapple didn't do it for me, though - Sarah and I both thought it tasted more like banana lollies.  All these three cupcakes were on ultra-light bases, which Sarah likened to Asian-style sponge cake.  Personally, they were not "meaty" enough for me - I prefer a denser, richer cake, especially as a complement to all that sinfully indulgent icing.

Cookies & Cream Delight, $3

Well, Paolo must have read my mind, because the Cookies & Cream was the bomb!  The base was dense, moist chocolate mud cake - like a big, squishy hug.  So many times cupcakes are all about the icing, and you may as well toss out the dry, mealy cake underneath.  Even though I personally didn't like the ultra-light bases, Paolo has really nailed it with the chocolate. 

Next time you're out picking up your vegies from Little Saigon and your lentils from the Indian shop to serve on Ethiopian injera, grab some cupcakes from the Filipino takeaway for dessert.  Now there's a meal fit for Footscray!

Available through Lutong Pinoy, Footscray Market food court (map)
Hours: Saturday mornings only (although Lutong Pinoy is open during the week)
Price: $3, or buy 6, get one free


  1. NICE! I am trying to cut down on calories. And then I read this post....

  2. Ummm Yum! I always eat at this place when I'm down. Never knew they do cupcakes. I usually get the hot food. Their Paksiw Lecheon is amazing!

  3. Oh! I am curious about the pandan cupcakes. Perhaps I should whip up a batch for myself!

  4. penny - sorry!! :)

    Adrian - I have still never tried Filipino food! Still lusting after the pork at that place in Cairnlea you posted about a while back. Thanks for the paksiw lecheon rec!

    Anh - do!! I would love to see.

  5. Hi! Thank you for the Cupcakes by Paolo review! We have posted your review on our Facebook fan page. For those who would like more information regarding our cupcakes which includes online ordering please visit :D Paolo

  6. This is a dodgy place. Bought the Cudo voucher and wanted certain flavors and did not get get a single one I ordered as they didn't cook that flavor. Was treated like a second class citizen. Will never shop here again!


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