The Dessert Kitchen, Haymarket

The Dessert Kitchen opened fit­tingly in Sydney in the middle of our 2016/​17 Summer. While they’ve had their store in Melbourne for a while, this is the first store in Sydney for the 10-year-old Chinese cafe chain, which spe­cial­ises in health-con­scious desserts that con­tain a min­im­al amount of fat and sug­ar. Low sug­ar desserts were just what we needed in dur­ing a sum­mer marked by heat­wave upon end­less heat­wave. It seems long ago now.

This is Purple in Love Shaved Ice ($12.80) with Kyoho grape sea­weed balls, grape shaved ice, mini rice balls, grapes and taro mochi ice cream. This was a win­ner is the Hong Kong Gran Cuisine Awards in 2009.

The grape fla­vour of the shaved ice (crushed, not shaved) was deli­cious — not too strong, nor too syr­upy — and recalled the Kyohou & Honey by Sugi Bee Garden. That and the fact that the grapes were seed­less were the high­lights. While the sea­weed balls (their arrange­ment reminds us of Buddha head­dress!) had the sweet and bright fla­vour of Kyohou grapes that we enjoy, their hard, almost crunchy non-dis­solv­ing tex­ture with none of the firm and melty squish­i­ness of jelly was not a hit. Neither was mochi ice cream a hit — not only does taro not jump to com­ple­ment the fla­vour of grape, they tasted like chocol­ate with a ter­ribly mushy tex­ture. Once you’re half way through, the shaved ice turns into grape fla­voured soup and you’re left to scoop through it.

This is their Ujikintoki Traditional Japanese Style Shaved Ice ($11.50) with green tea shaved ice, red bean, mini rice balls, and red bean vanilla ice cream.

The matcha fla­vour on the shaved ice (crushed, not shaved!) was a hit, with a very healthy dose of veget­al green tea notes, and def­in­itely one for those who appre­ci­ate the slightly bit­ter notes of matcha. After a while, the matcha mixes with the con­densed milk of the shaved ice to cre­ate a deli­cious matcha latte fla­vour with the plump and juicy red beans adding pops of fla­vour to break up the matcha. The vanilla ice cream looked and tasted a lot like com­pressed shaved ice, giv­ing it a pleas­antly fluffy tex­ture punc­tu­ated by pops of red bean. The one down­side were the rice balls, which would’ve fared bet­ter if they were more like dango as these were far too soft and soggy.

After get­ting crushed rather than shaved ice, we go back for their prop­er Mango Shaved Ice ($11.50). The shaved ice is light and fluffy with a gentle bite, hold­ing its shape without melt­ing imme­di­ately upon eat­ing or turn­ing into liquid on the plate. The mango fla­vour in the shaved ice is fresh with a gentle sweet­ness and the canned mango fruit is pleas­ant, rather than the intensely sweet syr­up or the ter­ribly sour canned man­goes used at MeetFresh. We’re still not a fan of the rice balls but the Nato de Coco jelly has its sig­na­ture bounce.

And finally, this is the Matcha Red Bean Eggettes ($11.00). I’ve a minor eggette obses­sion at the moment and these are green tea fla­voured, topped with whipped cream, azuki beans and green tea ice cream.

The eggettes had a pleas­antly strong green tea fla­vour with a gentle sweet­ness. We were sur­prised to find no red bean in the eggettes them­selves. but the pleas­ant­ness of the green tea fla­vour made up for that. The red bean paste is sweet and nutty, with the green tea ice cream hav­ing a gentle bit­ter­ness to counter the sweet­ness of the eggettes.

Flecks of green tea can be seen in the eggette bat­ter, which has a light green col­our and a crispy edge.

Overall, The Dessert Kitchen serves up decent Chinese desserts with the prop­erly shaved ice and the eggettes being the high­lights and items to draw us back.

The Dessert Kitchen is at 78 Harbour St, Haymarket NSW 2000.