Monday, October 31, 2011

Adriano Zumbo's Concept Store and Dessert Train - The Star, Pyrmont

On a superficial level people generally don't think Cheesecake Boy and I have anything in common.  However, in all honesty we share many interests and are quite similar creatures deep down.  One of the smaller, but still important things we thankfully have in common is our love for sweets.  However, sometimes I think Cheesecake Boy might love sweets more than I do.  For instance, we initially went to Adriano Zumbo's latest store at The Star because I wanted to buy our dear friend Flying High Girl some macarons, as it was the first time in years that she's been able to come down to Sydney for a visit.  We'd talked about visiting Zumbo in the past, but a lack of time always prevented Flying High Girl and I from going together.  

Anyway, my point about Cheesecake Boy is that on our first visit he noticed that there was a sushi train layout next to the concept store, and when he found out that it was going to be a dessert train, he couldn't contain his excitement.  Originally the dessert train was meant to commence trading on the 22nd of this month.  He even took me out for a drive to check it out that day, but to his disappointment the train was delayed and not running to schedule.  To play it safe this time round Cheesecake Boy actually called last Sunday to make sure that the dessert train was going to open as planned, and with the green light that it was definitely going ahead, Cheesecake Boy couldn't wait to try it out. 

Our first visit to the concept store really left an impression on us,  as the surroundings really did live up to the fun and exuberance of Zumbo's crazy creations.  Each creation has its own display unit and to order all you have to do is speak to one of the lovely staff.  With their electronic ordering system in hand, they put your request through and then provide you with a number before you proceed to the counter to collect your goodies.

Every time I have headed over to the counter, I always managed to get sidetracked by the piping and assembling of macarons taking place.

Anyway, our first visit was meant to be all about buying a gift box of macarons for Flying High Girl, but Cheesecake Boy has been a bit of a workaholic lately and realised that he hadn't eaten all day.  I couldn't let my better half starve until dinner time, so we bought a couple of cakes to keep him going for the time being.

The first cake that we settled on was water my melons, the watermelon creation was too cute to pass up.  It consisted of an orange crèmeaux, watermelon jelly, compressed watermelon and yoghurt crème légère.  I will admit as much as I love some Zumbo creations, I don't always love them all. Upon tasting, we found that the latter applied to us with this watermelon inspired creation.

Water my melons, $9

The top half seem to be comprised of orange crèmeaux, bits of compressed watermelon and yoghurt crème légère which is a slightly fermented cream like creme fraiche, but has a lower fat content.  I didn't mind the top half, but there was a slight sourness to it due to the yoghurt crème légère, and it felt very moist and had an almost spongy texture to it.  Unfortunately, the bottom half of watermelon jelly was this creation's downfall for us, because the watermelon jelly tasted like overripe watermelon.  It was a shame as I loved the presentation of this creation and the white chocolate shell shattered nicely into shards when bit into.

I'm a bit crazy about choux pastry and I always seem drawn to snowman like shapes as our climate never seems to snow and I'm never really had a chance to make a proper snowman.  I tried once, but the snow was too slushy, so for all these reasons the ssnowmanor was an alluring choice for me.  It doesn't hurt that it was also made of all things I consider delicious being pate a choux, bubble tea custard, lychee coconut crème légère, lychee gel and coconut crunch.  The ssnowmanor I have to say is definitely one of my favourite Zumbo creations in a long time.  It was just wonderfully subtle and sweet in all the right places, and felt gooey, soft and slightly crisp all at once.  It also helps if you love lychees, as that really comes through here and just rightly so.

Ssnowmanorr, $9

I can't remember the order of the flavours in the box, but I did choose lychee, passionfuit and tonka bean, raspberry caramel, hot chocolate, blood peach and the one at the right end was the chocolate coated surprise macaron.  Flying High Girl did message me to say later that they were delicious though.

Assorted macarons, $2.50 each

Now fast forwarding a couple of weeks to last Sunday's dessert train happenings.  As  mentioned Cheesecake Boy called that morning and was told that the train would open at 6pm, but there was a delay and the opening was pushed to 7pm that night.  Anyway, after having a nice chat with one of the girls in the concept shop, we were told to get ready to line up around 6.30pm as there is limit of only 16 places per session, where you can indulge your sweet tooth cravings for only thirty minutes at a time before the next session commences.  Also, all desserts are unique to the dessert train and not available in any other stores.  Intrigued we decided that we would stay and wait.

We returned slightly earlier than 6.30pm and Cheesecake Boy wanted to maintain our first place in the queue, but after looking at the production process he caved in to his sweet tooth a tad earlier and dashed off to buy some macarons.

Macarons, $2.50

While we were waiting outside there were some cute critters that travelled by us on the dessert train.  However, once the dessert train was in full swing with drinks and desserts, the little critters got ditched as they kept toppling over.  Such a shame as I thought they were quite adorable.

A bit after 7pm, the doors slid open and we were finally seated.  There are no menus as of yet, so if you're curious in relation to what you're eating, have no idea or simply wish for some clarity, then you'll have to ask the staff.  The prices of the plates were set at $10.50 for any black plate, $9.50 for each pink plate and $8.50 for a white plate.

The very first plate that graced the train was the salted chocolate and Aero cake. The slabs of salted chocolate cake were slightly dry, but the silky chocolate mousse rectified that issue.  This dessert was sweet, but more bittersweet and the piece of bubbly and crumbly Aero was a nice contrast against the softness of the cake and mousse.  However, my favourite part was that extra sprinkling of sea salt, as it just intensified the sweetness of the bitter chocolate in this dessert.

Salted chocolate and Aero cake, $10.50

We saw foam and without knowing what this was, we grabbed it.  It was actually coffee brulee, and I wasn't fond of this only because coffee tends to give me migraines, so more of a dislike by association, but Cheesecake Boy who needs his daily caffeine kick wasn't taken with the coffee brulee either.  However, I was confused by the interpretation of this dessert as the small and subtle crisp toffee strip seemed to be overshadowed by the softness of the roll of firm custard, pieces of chocolate cake and generous squirt of foam.  In my opinion the best part of any brulee is the crunch and sticky sweetness of the sugary toffee top that seemed almost forgotten here against all the other elements. 

Coffee brulee, $10.50

For something different they also offer soft serve ice cream, and best of all it's complimentary.  There were three flavours available.  Cheesecake Boy and I settled for the salted caramel flavour, but there was also the unusual combination of white chocolate and pepper and the other choice was a mix of both salted caramel and white chocolate and pepper ice cream.  The salted caramel tasted more to us like a mealy salted caramel ice cream that was more sweet than salted.  However, in my opinion if there was such a flavour, it tasted more like a soft, but icy concoction of a salted caramel macaron mixture.

Salted caramel ice cream, complimentary

Out of all the deconstructed desserts, I was most taken with this watermelon, yoghurt, meringue, orange custard and green apple foam creation.  The sweet pieces of watermelon was refreshing against the tangy yoghurt and light meringue, but what I loved most was the wonderfully robust orange custard and the acidic green apple foam.  This was an ethereally light, sweet but tangy dessert on the palate.

Watermelon, yoghurt, meringue, orange custard and green apple foam, $9.50

I thought we were done, but this play on carrot cake caught my eye, and we vowed that we were going to stop after this one.  At first taste I thought this was a deconstructed pumpkin pie, but it was actually carrot cake and it made sense when I started tasting bits of walnuts and cream cheese.  The carrot puree was an unusual mix of sweet and savoury, but I loved the subtle cinnamon ice cream.

Play on carrot cake, $8.50

My only gripe with this dessert train was that I wished that they didn't stagger out each different dessert at certain intervals, as you missed out on seeing the full range from the beginning.  However, with all the delicate elements, I understand why they do, but I was stuffed by the time this dainty caramel creation came along and when a few other enticing desserts were being churned out.  Unfortunately, all I could do was watch.

Zumbo's love of sweets knows no bounds as shown by his interpretation of the cherry ripe.  Although, I didn't try this one, the mother and child next to us seemed to be enjoying each spoonful.

Interpretation of cherry ripe, $10.50

I missed out on tasting the hazelnut mousse, as my stomach had reached it's full capacity and I could only managed to gaze at this one longingly.  I was truly gutted due to my affinity for all things hazelnut.

Hazelnut mousse, $8.50

I forgot to mention that while we were queuing up, everyone was trying to take some happy snaps of Adriano Zumbo at work in the kitchen.  As an extra treat Adriano Zumbo himself came out and talked to each one of us.  He's definitely a nice guy and  more than friendly enough for me to hint that I wanted the return of the vanilla milkshake that used to be available at his now closed Chocolat Cafe that was in Balmain.  I swear it was not a command, and it was all in good fun.  It was the best vanilla milkshake I'd ever had, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The session was coming to an end, and in true sushi train fashion I stacked up all our plates to get it ready for the final tally.  The bills here are electronically tallied as opposed to the usual pen and paper slips that I've experienced at most sushi trains.  Subsequently, an itemised bill gets generated and sent over for payment. 

The doors slid open and that's our queue to scoot as times up and they need to get the second session under way.  Cheesecake Boy and I loved the novelty of the fun filled dessert train concept.  However, we'd like to see different types of desserts board the this train than just the deconstructed kind, but for the first session ever they did a great job and things went pretty smoothly.  It's definitely on the pricy side, but for sweet tooths like Cheesecake Boy and I it's the answer to our fanciful sweet dreams, but only in moderation of course.  

After note: we happened to walk past the other day and saw that trading hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm onwards, and menus are available on the train with prices now.  Unfortunately the soft serve is no longer complimentary.

Sugared out, Dumpling Girl.

Adriano Zumbo Patissier
The Star
Level G
80 Pyrmont Street (entry via Edward Street)
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Ph: (02) 9810 7318

Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier on Urbanspoon


OohLookBel said...

I've always wondered who would be first to come up with a dessert train, so of course it has to be Zumbo. Not sure how much I could eat, though. Thanks for the great commentary and roundup.

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Lots of fun! And good to get a peek at what they're offering after seeing the conveyer there on opening night.

Kim said...

Ergh - so jealous right now! :)

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Wow, but how many desserts can one really eat...? (sweet tooths out there must be hyperventilating...)

gastronomous anonymous said...

wow sounds really fun but not sure how many desserts i can eat!! id need something savoury beforehand i think or even after!!! great pics and write up :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Sounds great! I tried some of those cakes at the launch but those cake train ones are new!

Von said...

The idea of a dessert train sounds amazing!!! And they all look so good too :) the blue domo!

Christina Kim said...

Dessert train??!!! Oh goshhhhh, this could just make one put on tons of pounds in an instant!;p

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi OohLookBel, we're not surprised that Zumbo was the one to come up with the dessert train concept either. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the post :)

Hello Rita, we did have a great time, we had no idea what to expect either.

Lol, perhaps Kim that's incentive to come down for a visit soon. Trust me our waist lines are not thanking us :)

Hey Tina, surprisingly it's not as sweet as I expected so we ate more than we thought, but we are ultimate sweet tooths.

Hello GA, we some savoury to start the night, as I can't eat sweets on an empty stomach, but as I was saying to Tina the sweetness was not overwhelming.

Hi Lorraine, apparently all the desserts on the train are unique to the train.

Hey Von, we thought it was an amazing idea too. The blue domo was my favourite too :D

Hello Christy, have been detoxing ever since, but it was worth it :)

JasmyneTea said...

Dessert train was late, huh? Was it CityRail? :p I love Zumbo, but have only been to his cafe in Balmain twice, so I'll definitely have to check this place out.

Lucy @ Lucyeats said...

AHHH I am so jealous! Dessert train is by far the best idea I've ever seen and everything looks amazing!

Joseph said...

Thats so cool! I love the idea of a desert train!! At $9-10 each could get expensive though...

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello JasmyneTea, like CityRail on a rare occasion, I get pretty good service on my line, lol. Well starts at 6pm everyday but closed on Mondays, have fun :)

Hi Lucy, I think it means a trip to Sydney is in order soon :D

Hey Joseph, yeah it gets expensive if you eat heaps, but it's a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

it had to be zumbo to invent a dessert styled sushi train!! wowwww! I'd be afraid to go in case I fall into a sugar coma and spend too much money.... lol

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello minibites, yeah you do get sugared out and the prices definitely catch up with you :)

Spencer said...

Awesome pictures! I have heard alot of great reports about Adrian Zumbo's dessert train. Will definitely check it out next time I visit my sister in Sydney.

Dumpling Girl said...

Thanks Spencer. Definitely something different, so it's worth checking it out.

girl in a food frenzy said...

Love this! I have been meaning to go for aaaages!!! No excuses any longer! You've completely inspired me to get my Zumbo groove on!!! Thanxs, :)