I told you this week was going to be 'weekend events' heavy but I promise this is the last and I'm sure you will appreciate a completely dessert related post, because, who wouldn't? And I'm not talking about just any kind of dessert; I'm talking about a dessert train from the brainchild of one of Sydney's most exciting patissiers.
On Saturday night, Sarah and I went to Zumbo's Dessert Train at Star City Casino and we decided then and there that no matter what happened all weekend, it was the best bestie weekend event a girl could hope for.
Warning: dessert porn overload ahead.
If you're unfamiliar with Adriano Zumbo I just feel sorry for you! The quirky Sydney patissier became a household name through the big Aussie cooking show, Masterchef, and is well known for torturing contestants with dessert monstrosities such as the infamous croquembouche (I wanted to show you a link to this epic profiterole tower on his site, but alas, the site is a fail so click here to see what I'm talking about.)
Visiting the Zumbo Patisserie has been a long time coming and, since we recently discovered the Zumbo Dessert Train, there was no way we could miss this when SJ came to visit. Yes, it is exactly as it sounds, kind of like a sushi train but with just Zumbo creations traversing the conveyor belt before your very eyes. There are a lot of bright lights at Sydney's Star City Casino, but none can excite Sarah and I the way Zumbo's neon experiment did.
From the moment you set eyes on the place (and it's like a maze through the Star City Cafe area to find it in the first place), you know you are somewhere special. The pink neon I <3 Zumbo sign is difficult to miss and the dessert-holding capsules in the window of the patisserie section are awe-inspiring.
When you tear yourself away from the take-away patisserie (complete with 'in case of emergency' macaron cases) and continue through to the wonderland of coloured at the dessert train, it is exactly what you'd expect to find in a child's imagination of their very own candy land – the difference being that the desserts are very grown up.
In the middle of the train is an artificial grassy knoll with candy-coloured cogs, the pink and blue water jugs and cups add an spoonful of sugar to even the most insignificant element, plus you get to watch the pastry chefs through a window, like you're at some sort of Willy Wonka zoo. This is definitely an adult treat, a fact Sarah and I commented on as we squirmed with excitement in our seats like five-year-olds and some very young girls nearby with their mother looked almost bored.
The menu is slightly confusing, there were about five or six different desserts on the train, plus the option for $5 bottomless ice cream, and a few a la carte dishes. The dessert train items included a deconstructed Crunchie, a coffee brulee, a cherry coconut, watermelon yogurt, hazelnut crunch, and a strange corn and safron dessert (we weren't game to try it). The dishes were pretty damn tasty, but I definitely recommend checking your plate before taking it off the train, some dishes had clearly been sitting there a while and the foam had dissipated or the cake had gone a bit stale (the portion sizes varied too, look out for a mammoth chunk of honeycomb if you select the Violet Crunchie)
The a la carte dishes were drool-worthy, featuring a creme brulee, chocolate fondant, home made chocolate ice blocks, donuts, and an ice cream toasted sandwich. We decided to share the creme brulee but got mutually ecstatic by the sound of chocolate peanut butter fondant and couldn't resist so we had that too!
The food was amazing and the company was perfect, meaning little else was required to make the trip special. The look of the dessert train and patisserie are just too much fun to not check out, should you find yourself in Sydney – it really is a must-try experience. Sarah and I love deconstructing places, so we might have been a little harsh, but we felt that the staff were nice girls but had very little knowledge or enthusiasm for the product and brand.
We both thought that so much more could be done to encourage customers to visit the patisserie on the way out and take some macarons home for loved ones and when we enquired about items on the train and menu, it took some time for the girl to go and ask the chef and half-heartedly translating it to us. We were very lucky to stop by during 'happy hour' (score!) but were put off by the unwelcoming bollard at front of the door, despite there being about four customers inside when were arrived. It should not be so hard to get people excited about this unique dessert dining experience, but it felt like it was.
Having said that, I am merely nit picking. Grab a few friends and don't have any sugar throughout the day before heading to the Zumbo Dessert Train; you will need to work your way up to this kind of sugar rush, even if you have a sweet tooth! This is an sensory overload that you just cannot miss.