Posted on November 1, 2010


Since I’ve already teased you with a little intro to Passionflower (2/168 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC) in a previous post, it’s probably good form to follow up with an actual entry about the place. This company started up in Sydney, and in fact my first couple of visits to Passionflower was at Sydney’s Captiol Square. It’s predominately an ice cream palour with specialty Asian flavours (ie. coconut, jackfruit, azuki red bean, black sesame etc.), but they also do a pretty decent range of desserts including fondues, crepes and waffles (all served with ice cream of course).

Like I’ve said before, this place has quite a buzz about it. It’s been a full house on the Friday and Saturday nights I’ve walked past and the lines run out the door for their takeaway options! It tends to be full of hip young things, majority being of the Asian variety. The fit out is very white and bright – fitting for an ice house.

Now let’s talk ice cream! The ice creams look pretty hard, with the scoopers behind the counter using quite a bit of arm muscle to scoop out the ice cream into medium sized spheres. Despite this, the ice cream is surprisingly smooth. Not the smoothest ice cream I’ve had, but definitely nice and creamy. Per scoop takeaway (in a cone) will set you back $4 for the normal flavours, in a cup costs another 50c. Premium flavours will again require an extra 50c. That is pretty steep in my books. A $4 – $5 price tag will usually buy you 2 scoops, so at $4 a scoop, it had better be something quite special! And, I’m afraid I can’t say it was really worth it.

Loyal fans will tell me that the price tag is justified because it offers unique flavours that you can’t find anywhere else in Melbourne. And I’ll say they haven’t looked hard enough. Il Dolce Freddo (116 Lygon Street, Carlton VIC) does beautiful velvety soft ice cream, made fresh on the premise daily may I add, in a range of Asian flavours and only charges $4.80 for a 2 flavour cup. Various Asian grocers will stock Asian ice creams for as low as $1 a hit.

Ok, granted I haven’t yet come across a place in Melbourne that does jackfruit or sticky rice ice cream. There – they have 2 truly unique flavours in my eyes. But both of which I’ve tried and decided weren’t that crash hot. The jackfruit ice cream had a slightly grainy texture to it (I know, I know this is probably due to the fruit itself not the ice cream maker), and the sticky rice one…well the rice bits through it were a bit hard given that it’s effectively frozen rice.

I will say that I think their dessert options are slightly better value, they range from about $10 – $26. The $15.50 ‘as good as it gets’ gives you 4 scoops from the premium range (taro, pandan, durian and jackfruit), some glutinous rice balls, jellies and a shot of coconut milk to drench it all in. Strange thing is they won’t let you change the flavours. Although it’s made to order, they can’t (or rather, they refuse to) scoop out a different flavour.

Overall, it’s ok. Call me cheap, but I honestly don’t think the price tag is justified. In spite of all this, I can see the appeal of the place, especially for those of you with more money than myself. It’s a funky hangout and the range of desserts on offer departs quite a bit from mainstream Melbourne, so why wouldn’t people flock there to at least try it out?