A classic croissant, with its perfect buttery layers, is hard to beat in the morning. And knowing that it took a couple of days to create makes it even more special.
But even if simple is sometimes best, we love to see bakers pushing the limits of the traditional pastry. We've seen sweet geniuses bringing them from breakfast to dessert, so it was only a matter of time for the ham and cheese croissant to get a makeover too. Here are nine funky savoury croissants you need to try in Melbourne and Sydney:
1. Lune Croissanterie's ham & Gruyère croissant
When your regular croissant has been dubbed best in the world, your ham and cheese version can be nothing but average. At Lune Croissanterie, Kate Reid bakes shaved ham, Swiss Gruyère and seeded mustard inside her croissant. It's so popular that it's become part of the permanent range.
If you want to take things up a notch, book a seat at the Lune Lab, a dining experience featuring dishes like the fried chicken croissant or the pork rillettes Danish. Or do like chef Andrew McConnell who likes to switch roti for a Lune croissant when he's serving curry.
2. Luxbite's lava salted egg 'bo lo baau' croissant
With Luxbite, Bernard Chu became known for merging Asian flavours with French technique. His bubble tea croissant was an instant hit, but his savoury creations push boundaries even further. Think Spam and furikake or the upcoming spring onion and cheese croissant.
Somewhere between savoury and sweet, lands the lava salted egg "bo lo baau" croissant. "Bo lo baau is a very traditional pastry in Hong Kong. It's a bun with a crusty top so our croissant is also crunchy on the top," explains Chu.
Tip: Make sure to eat this one warm so the salted egg custard starts flowing when you take your first bite.
3. Pavlov's Duck’s Lankan Frenchy
The perfect lovechild of French and Sri Lankan cuisine can be found at Pavlov's Duck. Picture a croissant, cut in half and filled with a poached egg and a coconut, chilli, parsley and lemon "tabouli". Add spicy fried potatoes and a mackerel and potato fritter to the side, and you’ve got the "Lankan Frenchy".
4. Oloiya's bak kwa and cheese croissant
Oloiya is a Malaysian brand of bak kwa, a marinated meat that is dried and grilled, similar to jerky. At their Australian store, you can buy it by the piece or eat it in dishes like congee and a bak kwa and cheddar croissant.
"When we created the menu, our mission was to make bak kwa more relatable to the Australian market. We thought that if we just offered it by itself, some people might not try it. But if we serve it in brioche or croissant, they might want to try it because it's something they know," explains co-owner Ben Chin.
5. Weirdoughs' square croissant fondue
Is it really a croissant when it contains no butter, is cube-shaped and filled with vegan cheese? We're not the croissant police so we'll let you decide. What we know is that if you’re looking for a croissant that is both vegan and a bit crazy, Weirdoughs is the place to go.
"In a traditional croissant, there are about three ingredients. In ours, there are about 12 because of all the different things that have to go into it to make it work at a molecular level. It's pretty intricate, pretty amazing," says co-owner Ruby Shine.
"In a traditional croissant, there are about three ingredients. In ours, there are about 12."
6. Rollers Bakehouse's Vegemite and cheese croissant
Not only is this Rollers Bakehouse croissant filled with Vegemite and Gruyère, it's also laminated with Vegemite butter, to add extra flavour.
"We love to create croissants that evoke nostalgia, and Vegemite and cheese is a classic flavour that most people can relate to and love," says James Sideris, co-founder and baker. "We also just think it's a killer combo! It was one of our original flavours and people love it."
7. Textbook Boulangerie-Patisseries’s truffle croissant
'Tis the season for everything truffle. At Sydney's Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie, the seasonal truffle croissant has been a favourite of customers for years.
"The truffle croissant is filled with truffle custard, made of fresh Australian black truffle. Truffle is an indulgent winter favourite of mine," says owner and pastry chef John Ralley. "We've also done a truffle soft serve, which is served in a croissant cone."
8. Meet Mica's crab and egg croissant
The crab and egg croissant from Meet Mica is a strong contender for the “best way to treat yourself” award.
"We use a crunchy croissant, soft scrambled eggs, crab meat, butter corn and finish with a lavish serving of bright orange fish roe to give the dish a pop of colour and texture. The umami-rich fish roe and the buttery elements gives the dish balance," says owner Mica Chen.
9. Son of a Baker's the Canadian croissant
We're not sure how the haloumi fits with the Canadian theme, but we won't complain because it works perfectly sandwiched with a hash brown and thick-cut maple bacon inside a baked croissant.