I'm not a huge chocolate fan, never have been, and I doubt I ever will be. But my friend (who is a self-confessed chocoholic and also a bit of a chocolate conoisseur) was having a craving for some after our meal at HuTong's.
Having never been to a Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar before, I decided that it was a good option being fairly close by. I have seen this place packed to the rafters on many occasions and I have to admit, the fact that it was always so busy did make me rather curious. I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about - this Israeli chocolate chain.
This particular Max Brenner's is on Level 2 of the QV centre and has outside as well as inside seating. It was fairly busy and with enough chocolate to satisfy all die-hard chocoholics, I can understand why they flock here. However, it was probably a bit too much chocolate overload for me. Even the chocolate drinks sounded rather sickly I thought.
I like my chocolate, don't get me wrong. But I prefer chocolate of the gourmet dark chocolate kind. All the sickly sweet mass produced stuff, I really could live without. I guess you could call me a chocolate snob, or just plain fussy, whichever way you want to look at it that is.
Anyhow, on entering this place, there is a glass topped table with little bite size chocolates. Then there is the counter with a huge wall menu filled with sweet sounding treats such as fondue, soufflé, chocolate lick (a petite pot of melted chocolate) and other sugar filled frenzies.
Patrons simply go up to the counter to order and pay. You then get given a table number and go find a table to sit at and wait. I conservatively ordered a Belgian waffle with drizzled chocolate sauce. My friend on the other hand wanted a real chocolate fix. So on suggestion from the waitress, she ordered the chocolate soufflé, chocolate lick and ice-cream.
My chocolate drizzled belgian waffle looked the part, but was in fact rather dry and brittle. The chocolate sauce was sweet and milk chocolatey. The verdict: the waffle itself was pretty disappointing, but the sauce was nice enough. I've had much better waffles elsewhere.
My friend's trio looked great though. The plate had the same chocolate drizzle as the waffles. The soufflé smelt and certainly looked divine. Hot chocolate oozed out of it, just like it does with my home-made Nigella chocolate lava puddings. I think I was having chocolate envy at this point...does such an affliction even exist?!
From the look on her face, it tasted bliss. At $15.50, it was a pretty decent dessert and it only confirmed what bad a choice I had made. If I ever come here again, I think I will be going for the soufflé with ice-cream.
As I looked around, I saw a few others having the chocolate pizza with marshmallows. For some this may be heaven, but for me it looked utter hell. All that dough with sickly chocolate sauce and sweet sweet marshmallows, not to mention all the calories. And the girls that were eating it were stick thin and drinking milkshakes as well. Now I was really green with envy!
Before I end, I must add that the staff here are super polite and friendly. From how young they looked, I guessed that they must have been students and they really were the most courteous.
This place seems to be a popular place for students and chocoholics alike. It's not a place that I will make a special effort to come back to though. But I can see the attraction for Gen Y's. It's a nice place to come hang with friends whilst getting a chocolate fix.
Max Brenner Chocolate Bar
25-27 Red Cape Lane, Level 2, QV Square, 21 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9663 6000