I waited for the day to come. The day when a freak combination of circumstances resulted in an unusually short queue at Lune Croissanterie on the corner of Rose and Young streets. I’ve looked at that queue and kept walking to Babka for croissants in the weeks since they opened. I’m not queuing for hours just for pastries.
Yesterday was that day. At about 9.30am the queue ended in the doorway and I joined it. It was so unusually quiet (thanks to half of Fitzroy being at the Meredith music festival) that they were open well past when they have been selling out, about 10.30am, and they were tweeting that they still had some available after 1pm.
I bought 4 – a plain croissant, a ham cheese and mustard croissant, a tiramisu cruffin and a twice-baked pandan coconut croissant. There’s no written menu inside – the menu is on their website and some people were busy perusing it while in line. My first thought was there was a lack of savoury options. Only 1 of the 14 items available was savoury. I understand the menu varies, so this week may not be representative.
I was curious in general about the quality. Can a $5.50 plain croissant that you can queue for hours for be that much better than, be worth the effort of obtaining it, a $3 Babka croissant (their prices have recently gone up)? I think Babka’s are the best available near me. Rustica‘s are good but a little too crisp for my liking, and I’ve only tried those from Faraday’s Cage once and can’t make a fair comparison.
The answer is no. Lune croissants are perhaps a little lighter, and less greasy in the hand, than Babka’s. They’re very delicious, but not significantly better. I wonder if we can thank Lune for the price rise at Babka (which may have belatedly realised that it was undercharging, and that people are willing to pay more)?
The cruffin was delicious and the twice-baked pandan coconut croissant was very good, but I’m not a lover of the more elaborate sweet croissants. My favourite was the savoury ham, gruyere and mustard croissant, which was exquisite. I’d like more like this.
The interior is like a space-age science lab and took months to construct. You have plenty of time to look at it as the queue moves unnecessarily, unreasonably slowly. There were between 1 and 3 staff serving the customers in the queue, but they also seemed to be packing orders that were not for people in the queue. It took about 30 minutes for the dozen people ahead of me to be served.
I assume there is a relationship between the speed of production and the speed of sales. Baking is ongoing and fresh product is being prepared during trade, not just before opening hours. So possibly selling much faster would not sync with production. Even taking this into account, I still don’t see why it was as slow as it was. They should have more staff serving.
They could have signs explaining the menu is on the website, as it’s not obvious to everyone, and this may have resulted in less time explaining each item. The slowness seems to be a deliberately designed part of the ‘experience’. If so, it’s a tedious wank. 30 minutes tested my patience and if it had been any slower I would probably have quit. If you can be bothered, or are clever or lucky enough to find a short queue one day, give it a try. But it’s not a revelatory experience, merely a satisfying one, and it’s not one that I am desperate to repeat.
Finally, Lune sell a lot of take-away coffees from the separate coffee counter to people waiting in the pastry queue. They need to do more to encourage their customers not to litter the street with their discarded paper coffee cups, such as by providing bins and cleaning up afterwards if necessary. N2 Gelato has annoyed local residents and business neighbours for refusing to acknowledge that their frivolous packaging is being discarded in the street by their customers, and Lune should make an effort to avoid causing a similar problem.