Two hours standing in a line going around the block at the crack of dawn for the promise of some oh-so-sweet and perfectly baked french goods. No, this isn’t New York and I’m not in search of a Cronut. It’s Elwood and possibly the best patisserie in Melbourne.
Or is it boulangerie, or viennoiserie?
Lune – http://www.lunecroissanterie.com – (ah, croissanterie) is a hole-in-the-wall French style bakery hidden down an Elwood side-street. So well hidden, that despite living in the suburb for the last few years, I had not heard of it until a friend mentioned it. Shocked were they to discover that I was oblivious to its existence that they insisted I “had to go, but, just get there early.”
Further research revealed Lune’s presence in Elwood for a few years as a wholesaler of fine french pastries to equally fine and established Melbourne cafés and restaurants. More recently opening its doors on the weekends (Fri 7:30am, Sat & Sun 8am – until sold out) to provide locals with an authentic Parisienne experience. That feeling of wandering down a French laneway enticed by buttery aromas emanating from a small secluded patisserie where you can get a croissant fresh from the oven with a strong black coffee to go.
Over the last few weeks I’ve stumbled out of bed before the sun has risen to have my Parisienne wake-up experience on four occasions. Three times I’ve walked away with fantastically indulgent breakfast fare. One time, however, I was left up the Seine without a kouign-amann.
Lune has become so popular that to be near the front of the queue and thereby guaranteeing service means arriving at least an hour prior to the official opening time. I can deal with this, as long as I know the standing around is worth the effort. However, this one time after standing in line for an hour and then waiting another thirty minutes for the queue to starting moving at more than an escargot’s pace, one of the croissanterers came out to inform us that supplies would very likely run out well before I and my fellow early-morning shiverers would reach the serving window.
This was a first-world problem that I wouldn’t stand for.
So I left in a huff. The huff made worse by having watched other people queue jump in front of me, joining their friends who had saved them a spot in the queue. Due to Lune’s popularity and limited available produce the owners place a limit of 6 pastries per person. This means each queue jumper subtracts six from the day’s available produce. Add four or five queue-jumpers and that’s up to thirty items off the menu. Maybe now you understand my frustration as I slowly watched my prospects for pastry dwindle.
I head home and don my grumpy old man beret and write an email. I compliment Lune’s delicious food but vent my anger at the inequality in the queuing. I do not expect a response. I feel better for writing. My anger abates.
A few hours later I get a response. To my astonishment the owners are grateful for my rant and let me know that as of the next day they will be introducing a ticketing system to ensure a fairer level of service. The squeaky wheel does get the grease.
On my return the following the week I find that there is indeed a simple ticketing system in place. Before queuing I go to the front window to collect a ticket. I’m told my ticket guarantees I will get served which makes the still hour or more long wait in the queue worth it and not a chance investment in what could have otherwise been a warm doona on a crisp Sunday morning.
It’s a great example of good business ethics and means I will still be getting up early on the weekend and getting in line for my little dose of France and I highly recommend you do too.
Just don’t push in front of me. I will cut you.