After the debacle that was our visit to My Sweet Memory in the Sydney CBD earlier in the year, N and I swore to never return. Then some months later, the previously closed branch at Strathfield reopened under the new name of Chef’s Palette with a pretty selection of cakes and staff (including chefs with impressive resumes working in big hotel restaurants). So N and I decided to give it a go again despite its ties to the My Sweet Memory franchise.
Whereas My Sweet Memory eschewed a coffee shop-cum-stationery store aesthetic, Chef’s Palette looks like a hipster cafe straight out of the suburbs of inner city Sydney with its exposed brick walls and beams, polished concrete and metal fit out, and decorative sewing machines lining its walls. As long as you’re inside the cafe, you could be fooled into thinking you’re in Surry Hills or Chippendale and the large number of Korean patrons would be the only sign giving your location away.
I tried their Lemon Crumble Pie ($7.99) — a tart filled with a layer of lemon curd, topped with vanilla Chantilly cream, crumble, and a fresh cherry. The base was thin and buttery, and likely the star of the pie. As for the filling, I was disappointed — the lemon curd lining the base was painfully disproportionate to the amount of vanilla Chantilly cream slathered on top. To every bite of the pie, there was 2 parts vanilla Chantilly cream to 1 part lemon curd and 1 part crumble — the lemon curd was not tart or zesty and so stayed only in the background to flavour the vanilla pie. While the vanilla Chantilly cream was nice, a vanilla crumble pie was not what I was after. And the cherry was neither here nor there — it was fresh and pretty but it did not have any flavour ties to the rest of the pie.
N tried their Champagne and Watermelon Cake ($7.99). It consisted of layers of almond dacquoise sandwiching a watermelon slice and layers of vanilla Chantilly cream, and topped with a slices of fruit (orange, strawberry and bluberry) set in a thin slice of champagne jelly, and more crushed champagne jelly and rose petals.
From my taste, I was a bit confused by the slices of orange and berries in the slice of champagne jelly — it’s a watermelon, not a fruit salad, cake — although the tartness of the fruit and the jelly itself went well with the general sweetness of the cake. Generally, as with the lemon crumble pie, N found the vanilla Chantilly cream so pronounced in the cake that it lost the light and refreshing qualities of the rose and watermelon cake at Blackstar Pastry.
And I got the Chocolate Cronut ($6.50) for D who was picking N and I up from Strathfield Plaza. This cronut was flakey like a croissant and filled with chocolate. Overall, the pastry was a quite oily (although this meant that it was more crispy) and the inside was not light and fluffy like you’d expect from a croissant. D and I will probably always compare cronuts to the perfectly light and fluffy chocolate cronut we got for ¥194 from Mister Donut in Japan and this one did not quite compare.
On the whole, Chef’s Palette is a definite improvement from our experience with its former namesake My Sweet Memory, and while not amazing, their cakes are something I might return for.
Chef’s Palette is located at Strathfield Plaza, 12/4 Churchill Ave, Sydney NSW 2135.