Umami cookies and coffee at Mascavado

A twist on pastry classics has produced an Adelaide foodie haven filled with miso choc chip cookies, strawberry basil scrolls and Chamomile cakes. Lea Chairesa, owner and pastry chef of Mascavado on Hutt Street, is pushing the boundaries of pastry and prioritising locally sourced produce. 

What is a 'must have' for any new customer?

"We have a customer's favorite which is the lemon tart, you can't really go wrong with a classic or you can go a bit more adventurous - try our chai blondie which is a white chocolate based brownie instead of a 'chocolate chocolate' with jam-packed spice. 

We have the chamomile cake which we use actual organic chamomile flowers and we have also the miso cookie. Instead of a salted caramel or your salted dark chocolate that everyone has, we use miso to get that umami flavor."

Lemon tart mascavado

All-time customer favourite, lemon tart

When did you open? 

"We opened during South Australia's peak COVID numbers which was Easter. I remember everyone was being told not to be with their family because you know they had to stay home... but i made the call of opening anyway with obviously following the rules of takeaways only and maximum number of people in house. 

It was quite overwhelming that everyone came to support. It was because of COVID everyone had the stronger bond of like trying to support all their local businesses, so when I opened everyone went "oh let's go there and check it out and show our support and have a chat".

We ended up selling out a lot pretty much the first few weeks because I always underestimated because I thought... people would have been isolating but they all came out and helped and showed their love and we show our love back."

What makes a great coffee?

"What makes a really good cup of coffee is the same as how we make a really good croissant or cake. We work with the very passionate producers and suppliers. We use Tweedvale Milk which is in Lobethol and we have Elementary Coffee which is right here in the CBD in Young Street, as well all of our other very passionate suppliers... to create that really perfect cup of coffee."

Coffee mascavado

Their coffee is made with Tweedvale milk and Elementary beans

Where does the cafe's name come from?

"The name Mascavado is from the mascavado sugar and it's pretty much a dark toffee flavored molasses... and we do use it in a lot of our products just because I like to play around when I create a recipe for a cake or a pastry or anything. 

I like to play around with the base ingredients - sugar, flour, eggs, butter - using high quality ingredients or... like I said previously, great suppliers and producers that really makes a big difference in the end product."

Using mascavado sugar is just a less boring than a white sugar so that adds that caramel, which I'm pretty sure no one hates caramel.

What led to you to pastry?

"My background is pastry and I grew up in Indonesia. I was that kid that hangs around the kitchen or whatever it was, like a street vendor. I would be right next to the guy making a skewer or whatever it is... watching people, every move they're making you know... trying to watch things very closely, how everything starts to cook, everything starts to burn, everything starts to smoke. 

I remember begging my mum to buy me the Betty Crocker's packet blueberry muffin and because I just thought - I can make, I can cook, I can bake and I thought that was baking, but that's how I started. I was very inspired with how things were actually made and then growing up... I realised 'ah maybe I do have some sort of interest in it' and my mum was actually the one who went 'why don't you try it out, work somewhere in a patisserie in Sydney' and I ended up loving it. Years later still here I am, opening my own place, doing my own things."

Lea chairsea

Mascavado owner and pastry chef, Lea Chairesa


175 Hutt St, Adelaide