4 October 2010
Passionflower @ 168 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Passionflower is a newly opened dessert haven that purports to entice us with sweet exotic flavours. With a prime focus on ice cream and ice cream based desserts, you will find Asian inspired delights such as green tea, durian, jackfruit, lychee and black sesame. 

A week has passed since my initial visit to Passionflower. I remember watching in anticipation as the waitress placed my “Superstar” before me. The dessert contained a generous serve of plump white glutinous rice balls, three scoops of ice cream – sticky rice, black sesame and azuki red bean – and a sprinkling of crushed peanuts. Served in a beautifully presented martini glass, the “Superstar” appeared to have leaped out from the glossy menu pages from which I had just made my order. I was impressed. 

It was time to assess whether the dessert tasted as good as it looked. The morsels of glutinous rice were pleasantly chewy without being too sticky and were nicely jazzed up with a coating of lightly roasted black sesame seeds. As I placed the first spoonful of ice cream in my mouth, I suddenly found myself pausing to relish the texture of the ice cream. It was exceedingly smooth and creamy, disappearing into my mouth as if it had never been there. After experiencing such an ethereal moment, I had heightened expectations of the flavours to come.  My taste buds waited patiently to be tantalised. They waited some more. It soon became apparent that the highly anticipated moment was never going to eventuate. The ice cream flavours were lacklustre. The use of a full-bodied cream had produced a perfect texture, but unfortunately, the consequent milkiness had overpowered the intended flavours of the ice cream. My taste buds felt cheated. 

I didn’t have plans to return to Passionflower in the near future, but I had been tipped off that the lychee rose ice cream was a true delight. As an avid fan of both lychee and rose flavours, I was determined to give this place a second chance. 

Second time around, I ordered the “Playmate” and was similarly greeted with a stunningly presented martini glass. With the gorgeous hues of pink, red and white emanating from the lychee rose ice cream, coconut flavoured agar agar jelly, strawberry syrup and dollop of whipped cream, the dessert was asking to be admired rather than  to be devoured. Occupying the greater part of the martini glass, the three scoops of ice cream promised to be the hero of the dessert. The creamy texture of the lychee rose ice cream had transported me to a heavenly place, before bringing me back down to Earth with its anticlimactically dull and dreary flavours. The sweet concentrated lychee flavour that often permeates lychee sorbet was sadly absent. Although the tang from the strawberry syrup managed to compensate for the uninspiring flavours, it was so overpowering that any traces of lychee and rose had vanished. Admittedly, the strawberry syrup was enjoyable, but frozen cream with strawberry topping is not what I had ordered.

Passionflower will bring smiles to those who are simply looking to be dazzled by a wide range of exotic ice cream flavours. Passionflower will also bring smiles to those who are simply looking to admire the aesthetics of picture perfect desserts. However, and most importantly, Passionflower will bring nothing but sheer disappointment to those who are actually looking to consume any of the desserts on offer. 

Rating: 2/5 (Poor)


Passionflower on Urbanspoon

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