Oliver Brown is somewhere I’ve associated with being a chocolate cafe that serves up waffles and drinks. My first visit last year seemed to confirm this impression because T ordered a mint hot chocolate while I had a chocolate lava cake.
An Oliver Brown, however, opened in Haymarket recently. Having run out of other dessert choices, N and I popped in after lunch one week. To my surprise, chocolate desserts feature on probably half their menu. The other half is based on fruit. Chocolate desserts are rather heavy for post-lunch dessert, so fruit flavours are welcome.
I’m always on the look out for successful Japanese inspired Western desserts. So trying to yuzu and green tea opera cake ($7.50) was a no-brainer. I have a recent weakness for all things yuzu and N has a spot for opera cake. There a four layers of green tea sponge, three layers of yuzu cream, and one layer of passionfruit cream. Perhaps to cater to more Western tastes and the more general public, the yuzu is very mild and has none of the punch that I’ve come to expect from yuzu flavoured foods. The yuzu doesn’t register when you take a bite of the cake with all the layers — the passionfruit overpowers despite only being one layer — and lingers only as an aftertaste.
When I separated the top few layers from the pasisonfruit, however, the yuzu makes it presence known albeit still in a very subtle barely-there way. While I’d have prefer a punchier yuzu flavour and a slightly more bitter green tea sponge, overall, the cake was ‘adventurous’ but remained elegant and tasty, unlike the recent creations of some famous Sydney patissieres.
One of the four menu boards is dedicated to ‘frutti crushers’. With the cake, I had the Lychee Frutti Crusher — it tastes of canned lychees (not a bad thing!) blended just enough that there’s some texture on the tongue. It wasn’t amazing but it’s certainly a nice drink to cool down with on a hot day.
And another time I visited, I had the Lemon, Lime and Mint Frutti Crusher ($7.80), which I much prefer to the lychee. Lime is the dominant flavour, which gives it the pretty green colour. There’s flecks of lime zest, as well as bits of pulp, that add texture to the drink. As lime is the dominant flavour, the drink is quite sour despite being sweetened. I like sour, though. As for the lemon, I can’t detect any of the bitterness I usually associate with it. The mint component, however, was pleasantly subtle — Western drinks seem to be less heavy handed in using mint than Asian drinks.
Evidently, Oliver Brown has made its way into my dessert heart.
Oliver Brown is located at Shop 6, The Quay, Haymarket 2000 NSW.