Chef’s Palette, Strathfield

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.