Desserts by Night

Posted on August 16, 2011


It sounds so limiting doesn’t it, Desserts by Night (38 Edgewater Boulevard, Maribyrnong VIC), what about those poor sweettooths hanging out for a sugar hit in the afternoon? But then again, being tucked away in a new estate in suburbia, there will probably be limited custom during the daylight hours. Night time is the go! Especially over here in the wild wild west. It was after a particularly heavy dinner that I found myself there one night not so long ago.

The fit out is warm and inviting. Deep chocolate toned walls on one side, a rather lurid lime patterned wallpaper on the other, modern gas fireplace set against a stone feature wall, pendant lighting to fill the ceiling space and a glass cabinet proudly showing off the cakes on offer. Overall it’s a fairly suburban fitout and accordingly, it gives off a nice chilled vibe. Nothing more relaxing than hanging with some friends catching up over coffee and sweets.

Service was ok, there were 2 floor staff on that Saturday night and they were probably 30% full when we got there. Being part of a bigger group, they seemed to struggle with our orders a bit. One of the waitstaff was clearly more seasoned than the other but otherwise there were no major hiccups to report.

The coffee was fairly decent, but I suspect it’ll be the desserts that intrigue you. It looks like crepes is their big ticket item, and we all know of the great crepe debate. It’s like the big taco debate, do you like them soft or crisp? It’s the kind of thing that can lead to the boycotting of establishments who make their crepes ‘wrong’ or even tear friendships apart. Well, despair no longer for Desserts by Night will bend to your will and cook you a crisp or soft crepe at your request, served with a fruit filling, topping and icecream of your choice. Although I must say it is priced rather highly at $13.95 (or perhaps it was $12.95?). In case you weren’t aware, Harajuku Crepes in Melbourne Central happily hand over their crepes from as low as $5 a serve.

There is a slight take on Asian fusion desserts, with typically, lychee flavoured things and interestingly, a pennyworth panna cotta. Pennyworth (otherwise known as pegaga or centella asiatica) is a little known plant in the Western culinary world, but has a strong following in Asia. It’s a herbal plant from the parsley family that is oft revered for its medicinal properties. In terms of Chinese medicine, it is regarded as having  a ‘cooling’ or anti-inflammatory effect. In Melbourne, pennyworth leaf drinks can be found in many Vietnamese restaurants and it has quite a fresh grassy flavour, not too dis-similar to wheatgerm. I was curious to try it, but didn’t get to this time round.

Pricing of items is along the same early teens line of their headline crepe offerings. I opted for their current promotion of Belgian waffle with banana (or strawberry), maple syrup (or various other toppings) and vanilla icecream and a free coffee at $13.95. Bargain! The serve of banana alone is probably worth $5 in this climate (bananas are currently about $13/kg in the supermarkets if you hadn’t yet heard). As a whole dessert, it was pretty average. The waffle was a tad dry and accordingly tough, there wasn’t enough maple syrup and it was very evident that they used a low rate supermarket icecream. Given that desserts in Melbourne are becomingly increasingly sophisticated, there really is no excuse to use cheap icecream in a dedicated dessert bar. Most serious dessert venues even make their own on site! So suffices to say I was a little let down.

As a relaxed coffee hangout for a gossip with some pals, it’s perfectly fine, and yes I am most likely to become a repeat customer. But as a true dessert destination, it still has some way to go. So I guess depending on what Dessert by Night really aspires for, one could say it has already fulfilled its mission.