198 Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Kumo Desserts has taken over what used to be Don Don – a beloved Melbourne institution serving up unfussy Japanese meals faster than you can say sashimi don for a tenner (back in the day, anyway) – and seeing the space repurposed into a dessert bar is upsetting to say the least. But admittedly, it’s hard to stay mad at the bright, adorable décor, as well as the super cheerful and friendly staff. And even though it irks me to get into a line 15-deep for some Instagram-famous souffle pancakes, I gotta say – it’s actually pretty worth it here, especially if you come in small groups for a shorter wait. There’s actually a very respectable amount of care put into everything on the menu, and you do actually come away feeling like the food tasted as good as it looked. I’m still pretty upset about DonDon, but definitely not nearly as much as I had expected to be.
Rating: 13/20 – worth the hype
Good to know: if you’re desperate for the pandan coconut pancake, you’re gonna have to wait until after 7pm.
Tip: don’t bother paying extra to get ice cream on the side – you won’t miss it.
I’m owning up to it – I am very much a basic bitch – which meant that the Boba Brûlée Bomb ($18, whipped cream) was a must order. And it was actually every bit as delightful as I had hoped. The fluffy pancakes, topped with thick brûléed custard and a generous tumble of pearls in brown sugar syrup is popular for a reason, and this is a great way to get your fix.
On the lighter end is the Strawberry Skies ($20, Kumo’s Signature Gelato). The summery berry coulis really brings out the rich egginess of the pancakes, and gives room for the airy texture to shine.
Just as considered as the pancakes are the drinks. The Creamy Hojicha ($8) comes in a gorgeously large and huggable mug, filled with fragrant roasted rice tea and topped with a dense, sweet foam. It’s almost rich enough to be dessert on its own. The Criollo Hot Chocolate ($6.5) promises to be made with ceremonial grade cocoa, and whilst I’m not sure what that’s mean to mean, this does boast a deeper, more robust flavour than your usual hot chocolate, and goes well with the pancakes.