Oliver Brown, Haymarket

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.