Alrighty Ladies and Gents, welcome to the follow up from the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar Review I did last week. J and I visited both of these establishments just for you. It was a terrible sacrifice, but one we were willing to make.
Now as before, this review will contain a cooking section and a feeling section. However I’ve also taken on board a suggestion I got after the last review and included a with section as well.
So let’s get started shall we?
What I thought: I’ll be honest, after having eaten all that we did in Max Brenner about fifteen minutes before we arrived at the Lindt Café, we didn’t actually sit down and eat anything right there and then. I’ve eaten at a Lindt Café before, and so I’ll just pretend that was a part of this time as well.
The hot chocolate comes with a pot of melted chocolate and a pot of warm milk, so you can make it to your taste. It’s amazing, and I don’t know how they get it to be so smooth (much smoother than I can make myself at home).
The menu does offer a few non-chocolate lunches, for light-weights I suppose, but there was no way I was going to eat something that wasn’t somehow chocolate-y.
The degustation plate was a great way to try a few things in one go, and all of them were at least good, and some were great. It also included my favourite Lindt product of all time, a little biscuit-type thing they call a delice. They’re a bit expensive, but to my mind totally worth it. You bite into it expecting a normal sandwich-style biscuit, and instead there’s no resistance at all. Your teeth just glide straight through, and you don’t just get a melt-in-your-mouth experience, it’s as if it was never solid to begin with. Some magic was holding this liquid joy in the shape of a biscuit but as soon as it goes in your mouth that magic disappears, leaving gooey amazingness behind. They come in all sorts of flavours, and the two best that I’ve tried are hazelnut, and caramel and salt.
The selection of take-away chocolates is amazing. They have Lindor (those round ones you can buy in the shops with the liquid centres) varieties that I’ve never seen available anywhere else, and little chocolates in a variety of flavours that have something for any taste. Plus they have the delices of course.
I’m a huge Lindt fan, so maybe I’m biased, but they don’t put a foot wrong foodwise to my mind.
J’s opinion: A little bit vanilla.
Words change on people. The word ‘sick’ for example. Did you know that vanilla, as an adjective (or that movie is a bit vanilla) did not always mean what it means. A little bit vanilla used to mean, in those wild days of the Victorians, a little bit naughty. “With a dash of vanilla” used to describe sex with a touch of S and M.
Note the delice biscuits…
So when I say the food is a little bit vanilla, I mean that in the very old, very fun way. It has been a while since I tried the sample plate, but I still have memories of rich chocolate sauce and creamy ‘vanilla’ ice cream, a layered chocolate cake, with seven or eight different textures that produced a complex yet subtle effect. Like a chocolatey cloud, with hard bits—much too good for my impotent prose. The takeaways were better yet. A wide variety ganashes, macaroons and forty dollar cakes. Everything, just every thing, was spot on. It was truly eating with a dash of vanilla.
What I thought: Overall, J is a pleasant enough dining companion.
His conversation was free-flowing and jovial, and he seemed to actually enjoy spending time and evaluating each food place. He was also very good with having his picture taken and smiled very nicely at the little bird puppet that I used to attract his attention.
I did however find his unwillingness to gorge himself a little frustrating, since I could hardly eat until I was about to explode if he just ate a normal amount.
J’s Opinion: I have this reoccurring dream. It is pitch black. I can not move. And I hear a deep voice sounding incomprehensible words. I feel like I am standing before the devil. It scares me. I even know it is a dream but it still scares me. To get through it, I think of T. She is the answer to the devil, depression and boredom. She is magnificent and on the day we visited the Lindt café, she was no different.
What I thought: I loved it.
Everything was so very fancy, which is exactly the atmosphere I want in a specialty chocolate café. The music was unobtrusive and calm, not the terrible poppy distracting music I hear in so many food places these days. And everything was decorated so stylishly, with clean and simple lines. It’s the kind of place that makes you stick your pinky finger out so far it kinda hurts after a little while.
There was also an almost ceremonial feeling as you bought chocolates to take home. They are mostly sold by weight, and so they are carefully weighed on some very fancy looking scales, and then carefully placed in a little box ready to go.
The staff were older than at Max Brenner, but they were very friendly I thought, and they clearly knew their stuff. I imagine someone might possibly find them a little snooty, but I didn’t. If anything it added to the fancy feel of the place. They were also a tiny bit slower than I would like, maybe because there were only two people serving in both the café section and the chocolate shop section combined. But with good company and so many delicious chocolates to look through and choose from, a tiny bit of an extra wait was no hardship.
J’s Opinion: Lindt Café is an exercise in austerity. This place takes itself way too seriously. First of all, it is pricy. Not that the quality isn’t there to justify it, but you are not getting a bargain. However, along with the seriousness, comes professionalism. The staff can all do their jobs. You get your stuff promptly and you get plenty of time to browse… Ah, this is all nonsense. Look it is fine place to eat. But like so many things, I could not fall in love with it.
There is a whole non-chocolate menu at Lindt. That pissed me off. It was like they were saying chocolate isn’t enough. Come on Lindt Café. Come on. I think the thing about chocolate is how it still makes you feel like a kid. With so many indulgences taken away from us as we grow up, chocolate is that last great playful joy. Eating chocolate, for me, is raiding your stocking early Christmas morning. It’s throwing Easter eggs against the wall to smash them up in the foil—why? Who knows? But boy I loved to eat the pile of chocolate chips when I opened up the foil. The Lindt Café however, doesn’t think of it like this. To the Lindt café, chocolate is serious business.
Well that’s the long and the short of it. I think the Lindt Café was the victor in this little comparison, but as always, it’s down to individual tastes.
(P.S. J wanted his own conclusion: T has big breasts. Big big breasts.)