It is a very rare thing to find a place and immediately know that it will be there forever.
I am, unfortunately, no fortune teller. The future is an absent friend and you never really know when they’ll turn up or what news they’ll bring with them. But standing on Queensberry Street and looking at Beatrix there on its corner, you cannot help but get a feeling of belonging and time. It is truly a place that says, “I will be here“, “I will stay”, and now more than ever, it brings a smile to our face.
If you told me that Beatrix had opened in the early 1900’s I would probably believe you. I would say, “Of course it did. Look at it. These types of cake shops never go out of business“. You would of course be wrong, it opened in 2011. But it’s fun to imagine this little bakeshop doing its thing oh so long ago. The staff, all in their blue aprons, running out with boxed slices of deliciousness – smiling and waving off the locals by name as they went about their daily business – the bakers in the back with clouds of powder whirling all about them with every smack of the dough on the wooden countertop as a whole new concoction came to life in the ovens.
What’s actually amazing about that image is if you take away the black and white picture of which we all imagine the distant past, away, and travel forward a few hundred years to 2021, you’ll find exactly the same thing.
Beatrix is exactly that. It is the bakeshop that all the locals know, the bakeshop that knows its locals. Its bakers are always creating and conjuring new and delicious things, and the old classics are always at the ready to be boxed up and waved off with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. And Beatrix is also much more. It is the heart, the soul, the passion, and the craftswomanship of one, Nat Paull. Baker extraordinaire.
Like most success stories Nat’s began at the ripe age of seven. The playful seven-year-old would hang about the kitchen helping her mother cook all sorts of things, until one day, her mother asked Nat to help her bake a butter cake, and like most artists and artisans who are destined for the world of creativity a spark was lit in little Nat’s heart; and the ember very quickly turned into a roaring flame that would propel young Nat into the world of all things pastry.
It didn’t take long before Nat’s Dolly Magazines became old news and food magazines started piling up in her room. This passion ultimately led her to a mentorship under some of the best food smiths in the kitchen. Names like Maggie Beer, Greg Malouf, and Stephanie Alexander all contributed to the development and the skills of Nat Paull.
Her passion and that fire deep inside her only grew over the next few years, and eventually, Nat Paull put her money where her mouth was (or where her hands were), starting up Little Bertha Bakery in 2005 as a wholesale business. Passion, hard work, and pure unbridled love for what you do are the cornerstones of success, and in 2008 Nat Paull sold Little Bertha Bakery, and eventually, in 2011, Nat hung her baker’s hat in North Melbourne, in a little place called Beatrix.
Like her dough, Beatrix has risen to become one of Melbourne’s best bakeries.
When it comes to her work ethic, Nat is relentless. She remains faithful to seasonal produce, sourcing all her ingredients from farmer’s markets, growers, and hands-on producers. St. David Dairy Butter, pure cream, buttermilk, Milawa Free Range Eggs, Laucke Flour, and the deliciousness of Lindt Chocolate to name just a few. Beatrix hand makes its own fruit preserves from scratch, and sources all its nuts and dried fruits from Australian owned.
Simplicity in craft and care in quality is vital at Beatrix and her “Killer Cake Squad” are a dedicated group of passionate bakers focused on baking great cakes for those who walk through the doors.
The recipes are a mixture of the classics, the ones we love and share, and those taken from the decades-long experience of Nat as a pastry chef, along with a hand full of those delicious treats a young seven-year-old Nat used to gaze at in her magazines.
There is a ton of innovation at Beatrix, too. Nat Paull and her squad appreciate the traditions of the craft but also understand that traditions can and must change. Beatrix has become a place of creativity and artistry. A place where old can meld with new and the pillars of baking can become something else.
Standing on Queensberry Street and looking out at Beatrix one can’t help but think, “This place isn’t going anywhere“. It is a place of belonging, of time, and of love. A place that says, “Don’t worry, we’ll be here“. This is Beatrix, and this is Nat Paull.
688 Queensberry Street. North Melbourne 3051
040 36 988 36
Tuesday to Saturday: (9 am – 2 pm) (check website for updates)