Trader Spotlight: La Tropezienne
Upon walking into La Tropezienne, you’re instantly greeted with a window of French pastries, cakes and desserts. This attention to the baked goods is the heart of the café – providing authentic and high-quality French sweets for the people of Hawthorn.
French chef Guillaume Desquidt started La Tropezienne in 2005, and handed overthe reins to Shubjit Oberoi (middle in image) two years ago. Guillaume is still involved and organises all of the supplies for their desserts, while Shubjit and her husband ensure that the café runs smoothly day-to-day.
Arriving in Hawthorn when she was 27, Shubjit and her husband ran the Indian restaurant Bombay Beat on Burwood Road for 15 years. When the restaurant closed, they moved to Sydney for a few years. Soon however, they returned home to Melbourne. Even though they now live in Doncaster, when they were trying to find a business opportunity, they felt there was no discussion about location.
“My son said, ‘It has to be Hawthorn.’”
The family originally bought La Tropezienne with the thought that Shubjit’s son would run the café, but he has now moved on and operates the café Sardi on Church Street, Hawthorn. Now, Shubjit and her husband Harry run La Tropezienne like a family business. Harry comes in early in the morning and begins preparations, making the sandwiches for the day. Shubjit handles the everyday operations and manages the staff, who are all students.
Breakfast times are usually the busiest, and La Tropezienne’s counter often sees regular customers come back for their most popular items – croissants and macarons. In the lead up to holidays, though, the seasonal foods like hot cross buns become the focus point. Shubjit is proud of the returning customer base – she sees that Guillaume always provides sensational pastries, and customers know this and keep coming back. Shubjit notices a big mix of age groups that come into the café and she loves the attitude of the customers in the Hawthorn area.
“The people in general – everyone’s so friendly...”
“Being a foodie myself, I just love it”