Nine Taiwanese Dessert House located on Swanston St is similar to Dessert Story, serving a variety of ice-y sweet treats and Bubble Tea drinks. What I love about Dessert Story is their ice machine for some of their “snow” menu options, has this delicious slightly sweet and milky shaved ice. This dessert house also has the same but is it as good?
Their Green Tea Snow Ice, comes with red bean, jasmine jelly, taro and sweet potato balls topped with a scoop of green tea ice cream. It’s decorated with this green syrup of sorts. The snow ice here isn’t too bad, it lacks the same creaminess that the Dessert Story ones have. It’s also very sweet all over, with this sort of odd fake taste to it. The jasmine jelly is nice though, and is the reason why I tried making Ooolong Tea Jelly, not too sweet but with this subtle tea flavour to it.
I liked their Taro Bubble Tea though, but the one they gave us was warm because they just cooked the taro so that was a bit disappointing. At least it’s real taro!
Maybe their other dessert options are better? First impressions weren’t too great, I might come back again but for now I’d still go to Dessert Story if I had the choice.
Nine Taiwanese Dessert House
268 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
I’ve already reviewed Gânache Chocolate Macarons, now it’s time to try their cakes. Well… cake (no s) for the time being. One step at a time!
I bought the above pictured cake at their Collins Street, Melbourne CBD store. I heard from a few friends that their Passionfruit cake is pretty darn good but I was instantly drawn to their Hazelnut Fan Slice aka Hazelnut Mousse Cake. Being a fan of both Hazelnut for its tasty nutty flavour, and mousse as it’s so soft, light and delicate it seemed like a fantastic combination with chocolate.
Their mousse cake has a couple of layers as your can see. The bottom layer is this biscuit base that has elements of nuts mixed through it, I found it to be absolutely delicious. They call it a sponge but I usually identify sponge as light and fluffy, but this seemed more like biscuit to me.
The next layer is a hazelnut praline, which is basically soft hazelnut chocolate that’s similar in texture to Nutella. Hazelnut overload yet? I think not!
Apparently there is a layer of Paillete feuilletine, which I have had no experience in tasting nor could I recall eating it but it was there…I think.
The next layer, more like huge chunk, is the chocolate mousse which was beautifully light and melts in your mouth instantly. It’s what I’d call a perfect mousse.
The top layer is a chocolate glaze that is so soft and tasty, it really just blends well altogether. As edible decoration on top, we have a tempered chocolate curl that has that fantastic snap required. To finish the whole dessert off, there is hazelnut pieces to complete the Hazelnut cake.
I’ve got to hand it to them, they really know how to create a cake for Hazelnut and Chocolate lovers. It’s almost as if this dessert was made just for me!
The mousse along with that strong hazelnut flavour really creates this pleasant not too overly sweet treat. Of course it’s sweet, but it’s not sickly sweet. Now I’m really tempted to try their Mango/Passionfruit cake for a less rich option.
245 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
The Black Toro on Kingsway, Glen Waverley opened its doors in July 2012, replacing the Urban Burger before it. Their menu is Hispanic influenced and is one of the few higher priced eateries in the area but it’s fine dining and it has good reason to be, the quality of food served here will speak for itself.
Their interior is mostly dark, with black tables and chairs. Aesthetically, it’s pleasant with a huge Toro artwork on the walls providing a hint of Mexico to Melbourne and adding to that Spanish music playing in the background. It’s a nice touch that creates a different atmosphere.
My two companions and I were a bit overwhelmed with the menu at first, undecided on what to eat. There is a nice selection of starters/entres, mains and desserts, not too many options but enough to ponder on. We wanted to try the Lamb barbacoa as our main but to our slight disappointment we were told it’s unavailable for lunch due to the lamb needing to be slow cooked.
Instead of choosing a couple of dishes, we opted for the $45 Set Menu, helping us decided instead. The waitress mentioned these Set Menu’s are the Chef’s choice, but as we wanted the Sher Wagyu rump as our main, she mentioned that it could be our main if we wanted to.
To start us of we were served Guacamole with tortilla chips, as shown above, and marinated olives (Not pictured). It’s pretty much your standard tortilla corn chips, but the guacamole didn’t appear to have enough avocado flavour to it but was creamy and tasty nonetheless.
Our second dish was the Grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayonnaise and toasted masa. As suggested by the waiter, we squeezed the cut lime on top . The corn was nice and juicy, and the mayonnaise not too rich but complementing the corn well. The toasted masa, gave it a hint of saltiness to the corn and mayo. The mayonnaise was delicious as it had a nice spiciness kick to it. A wonderful start to our lunch.
We were then served each a piece of Potato and Chorizo croquette with manchengo foam. The croquette itself was nice and crunchy. The fried layer wasn’t too thick and the perfect ratio to the potato and chorizo inside. The foam was quite mild in taste, I couldn’t really describe the taste to be honest. It was slightly plain and a tad salty but it worked well with the crispiness of the croquette and potato and chorizo pieces inside. Overall, it’s very filling but very tasty.
Our next dish was something I’d probably have never ordered but was glad to try. Pickled baby beetroot, goats cheese, quinoa and caperberries, it was an interesting combination of flavours. There was this jelly like diced pieces in this dish that I don’t think is mentioned in the menu, but it’s plentiful so I’m unsure why it’s not included in the dishes name. I found this dish to be overly salty. I’m unsure what it was that made it so salty. I think it might have been the goats cheese but because of the saltiness of the dish it was a bit off putting. I’d say it’s an interesting dish, but I’d probably not order that again.
Pardon me for the awful picture above. We dug into this one too quickly before I remembered to take a snap. Oops. This was the Mezcal cured salmon, avocado puree, smashed coriander meringue. The cured salmon was salty but still had a very nice salmon flavour to it. The avocado puree was smooth and I believe it had a hint of citrus juice that made it slightly sour. The smashed coriander meringue was slightly salty too but had an interesting coriander flavour. Quite something different to what I’ve eaten, to be honest. There was caviar on the dish too that wasn’t mentioned on the menu. Overall, it’s a pleasant, more refreshing dish to the two rich dishes before it.
We had seen many patrons order the Wagyu beef sliders with onion, tomatillo relish & jack cheese before us. Before this we were full already from the croquettes but these little burgers were too appetising. The wagyu beef was so juicy, it was just delicious. Perfect. The cheese and tomato relish complemented the beef well, and really you couldn’t as for a better dish.
At this point, we were wondering when would the food stop! This dish was the last one before the main. We were served, Pulled pork taco, shredded cabbage & sour cream. I loved this dish because of the surprising spiciness to the sauce. The pork was well cooked and really you couldn’t fault it. A winner in my books.
Ah the main, the Sher Wagyu rump, chimichurri, parsley & shallot salad. It’s only one shared between the three of us so I’m uncertain how it may go for less or more people. The wagyu beef here was tender, still a bit tough due to the cut but that’s expected. I don’t know how it’s marinated but the juices from the beef were absolutely delicious and with the chimichurri sauce it was just perfect. With this you are served with a shallot salad (Unfortuntely, not pictured) but it reminds me of a coleslaw but without the rich mayonnaise. The bitterness of the salad worked well with the wagyu. A good match.
We were also served a side of Triple cooked potatoes, paprika salt, garlic aioli, and my golly were these chips good. Boiled, and then deep fried twice, I think slightly different to how Heston Blumenthal does it but works just the same to obtain crispy chips but not overcooked inside. The chips are so crunchy and crispy but inside the potato it was still nice and soft. Delightful. I could certainly do without the garlic aioli and paprika salt as if I didn’t have a couple of salty dishes beforehand, this would have been perfectly fine though. The aioli was creamy but not rich enough like a mayonnaise would be so it went well with the crispy chips.
Although we didn’t get the set menu with desserts, after seeing a couple of these desserts go out we thought let’s having something to finish our meal off. This was called Peanut butter cheesecake, honeycomb, chocolate sorbet, and as you can see the peanut butter cheesecake is slightly deconstructed. The crumbs of biscuit is what you’d normally find at the base of a cheesecake, and we have a quenelle of the peanut butter cheesecake. I have to say the cheesecake was so flavourful, and intense, delicious to boot. As you’d normally find in peanut butter, it’s a tad salty. My palette was overly salted but again, on its own, adequately salted. The chocolate biscuit crumb gave it that added texture to the dessert and was just as if you were eating a cheesecake.
The honeycomb was crunchy and sweet, but in the mouth it gets stuck to the teeth easily. I actually liked the chocolate sorbet, it had a beautiful chocolate flavour to it unlike most chocolate sorbet or ice-creams around where the chocolate is almost artificial in taste. The sorbet was so light, and melt in your mouth, I couldn’t have asked for something better. A fantastic dessert overall.
The Black Toro goes high above what you’d find in Glen Waverley in terms of service and food quality but of course for a price. Their menu encapsulates the Hispanic flavours but makes it their own. My one main complaint would be the over use of salt in their dishes. If you have an aversion for salt, their dishes may not be too your liking. Although if you only order a few dishes, the salt probably won’t be as noticeable.
The Black Toro’s dishes overall are delicious, there are a few I’d probably not order again but many of them I definitely would. I would like to point out even the water had lemon flavour to it which was a nice touch.
The service here was excellent, the two staff members made our dining experience much more pleasant and fuss free. I tip my digital hat to them.
At first I was a bit hesitant to try The Black Toro, it’s not normally in our price range. For a special occasion though, it’s perfectly reasonable. Full to the brim, a bit less in the pocket but immensely satisfying.
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Thursday – Sunday 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Seven Days 6:00pm to late
T: 03 9561 9696