Foodie friends are the best. They feed you, they eat with you…and they don’t judge you when you decided to eat a crap ton of sugar and call it dinner.
In fact, they’ll do it with you.
That’s pretty much what happened when Simon, Christine and myself went to the opening night of Passion Tree at the new The District Dining in Chatswood. We pretty much had a “give me one of everything” moment, and it’s no child’ s play, let me tell you that much.
And it didn’t help that I was prepping some food at home before the event and only had roast chicken skin to eat. Yes. The whole chicken.
ARE YOU PROUD OF ME NOW MA?? ARE YOU PROUD OF ME???!!!
Anyhoo, you know how sugar always seems like a good idea as a kid because you pretty much don’t remember the crash afterward? Like how women who go through childbirth supposedly have some sort of amnesia that makes that forget the worst of the ordeal?
Yeah. No such luck here. We knew we were heading straight for a sugar crash, and we were going down in a blaze of glory.
We started off with macarons, which were surprisingly good in texture, but lacking in the flavour department. And in the age of Adriano Zumbo, there’s no reason to have bland macarons. The Chocolate didn’t much taste like chocolate, and the Blueberry left us scratching our heads wondering what we just ate.
The Jasmine was the best of the lot, bringing out lovely floral notes that made a macaron refreshing. Salted caramel and Strawberry came a close second, with actual oozing strawberry sauce coming out of the bright pink macaron.
We then had the Green Tea Bingsu, which is a Korean dessert made of finely shaved ice and topped with all sorts of ingredients, from fruit, to cereal, to ice cream. yes, it IS customary to have ice cream on top of your shaved ice, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
Unfortunately though, this was no Kanzi cafe and its towering pile of melon and snowflakes. In this case the actual shaved ice was not quite finely shaved enough, and somehow managed to be a touch watery. The green tea ice cream was quite nice but not especially so, and the cereal and azuki toppings made it all like a Japanese parfait. So points for that.
The Original Honey Toast gallantly rode in and saved the day – crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside toast (or should I say, loaf) was drizzled with sauce and covered with ice cream and whipped cream. And a blueberry sauce on the side, just for funsies. I really enjoyed how the really absorbed all of the melted ice cream and sauce while retaining its crunch, and it gave me the same warm, fuzzy feeling like when you dip garlic bread in soup. But sweet.
Think about it. Yeah, you know that feeling.
And this point we were about to keel over in a sugar crash so large it would reduce any rational adult into a floor-lying-air-kicking tantrum, so we decided to wash it all down…with sugary ice blended drinks.
DO. NOT. JUDGE. ME. JUST DON’T.
The Turkish Delight was my favourite of the lot, with actual Turkish delight pieces in the rose and chocolate flavoured drink. Colour me impressed. And pink. Like the colour of Turkish delight. It did get a touch cloyingly sweet about halfway through, but that may just be influenced by the fact that we were already hitting that wall of sugar rush. Just maybe.
And you know what the treatment is when you hit a wall where you think you can’t go on any more? You push past the pain. It’s exactly like running. Or an all you can eat.
Same same, really.
So we head right back down the rabbit hole with waffles.
We were pushing past that wall so hard, we ordered two waffles. TWO. Take that, sugar crash. The S’mores waffle was a diabetes-inducing Nutella-marshmallow-strawberries-and-cream, while the Caramel Popcorn was a more straightforward caramel sauce/popcorn/cream sorta deal.
The S’mores coulda really don’t with some actual blowtorching of the marshmallow – rather than just the pillowy white gooey state it was in – Aqua S style. And no Nutella. Please no Nutella. It just pushed it over the top, and gave me that sticky peanut-butter-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth sticky feeling. Caramel Popcorn was heaps better, but really should be enjoyed without cream.
Repeat after me. Whipped cream does not make everything better.
I like that Passion Tree joins the ranks of other late night dessert cafes like Max Brenner and Oliver Brown without completely cornering you into the chocolate corner. It may be sacrilegious to say, but I don’t always want chocolate in my dessert, thank you very much. Sure, it’s not crazy amazing in terms of the food, but with a tiny kitchen just for assembly, it’s really more about giving you a bright space to have a seat with your friends and while the night away over some sugar. And I think they’ve done that nicely.
Not everyone can be a Cafe Creasion, you know.