Level 1, Crown Metropol Hotel
Corner Whiteman and Clarendon Streets
Southbank VIC 3006
+61 3 9292 8300
What a weekend this has been! Adam’s birthday festivities, numerous Easter celebrations, a road trip to Geelong and Torquay and having to deal with yet another Vodafail fiasco (those of you who are unfortunate enough to be on that blasted carrier will know what I’m talking about). Short of a miracle, I’ve found a bit of free time in which I can indulge in some essay-writing, CTWV-viewing and blogging. So hooray for that.
So after spending a day down at Torquay and trying our best to avoid all the surfies who were in town for that surfing competition at Bell’s Beach, we drove back to Melbourne to have dinner at Neil Perry’s Spice Temple restaurant. A review for that restaurant will appear on this site very soon (and by that, I mean within three months – hah) but tonight you’ll just have to live with a short review of maze’s pop-up dessert table. If you’re a loser like me and follow all the restaurant goss, you’ll know that maze at Crown are doing this once-off dessert table during the Easter weekend. From the 22nd to the 25th April, they will plonk a table at the bar where diners can rest their tushes on an vacant seat and watch as pastry chef Dan Fletcher whips up desserts in front of you. You can select one dessert (at $14-18 a pop) or go for the three-course trifecta at $35. The dessert table is open on a first come, first serve basis so if you see no empty chairs when you rock up, you’ll have to wait. That’s okay though, because the turnover is pretty high thanks to Dan’s ability to whip up amazing-looking desserts with such speed and efficiency.
Having had an epic dinner at Spice Temple, there was no way Adam and I were going for the three-course-er. After ordering a long macc for Adam, we decided that getting one dessert each was the way to go. The choice of having a matching wine to go with your dessert was available but we didn’t take it up. After all, our stomachs were pumped with chillies and spices, do we really need alcohol to make it worse? Hah.
Adam’s coffee ganache, salted caramel, hazelnut ice cream. This was originally going to be my choice but when Adam said that he wasn’t interested in getting anything else BUT this dessert, I had to choose a different one (and there was no way in hell a food-blogger was going to choose the same thing as her dining companion!). In hindsight, I should have just gone with my first choice (i.e. this dessert) for mine wasn’t THAT fantastic while this one was. The frozen slab of frozen ganache hid a pool of sticky, salty caramel and supported a sprinkling of crunchy, roasted hazelnuts and creamy hazelnut ice-cream. The flavours were rich and intense, and sipping the coffee in between bites heightened the taste of it rather than drowned it.
My white chocolate, yuzu jelly and eucalyptus ice cream. My photo of this dish is an effking fail (and I don’t know Photoshop well enough to un-redden the image and didn’t think to adjust the white balance on my camera), but the dish was only slightly better than this photo. A neat white chocolate parfait provided a sturdy platform for the rest of the elements – a eucalyptus ice cream, which had a subtle flavour not unlike a Vick’s Vapour Drop, and a slightly tangy yuzu jelly. A delicate white chocolate swirl completed the pretty picture which was cool to look at but unfortunately, didn’t really do it for me in terms of taste. I just felt that the whole thing was too sweet – the tons of sugar used to create each element (except maybe the yuzu jelly) overpowered any flavours that were supposed to be apparent. The tangy yuzu jelly did assist somewhat in balancing the flavours out, but when that little blob was finished, it was just me against a mountain of sugar. And that wasn’t good.
The dessert pop-up bar is open for one more night, folks (tomorrow night!) so make your way to maze between 7:30pm and 10:30pm for some post-dinner sweets. I would highly recommend the coffee ganache but not the white chocolate parfait. There are other desserts to choose from too, such as a pavlova, in case none of the above desserts tickled your fancy.