I haven’t been back to Aviary Dessert Kitchen for a while, despite the fact it’s been on my list (Although when my list contains most of the restaurants and cafes in Adelaide it’s no wonder I don’t keep up with it). But we were planning the second meet-up for our dessert club, The After Dinner Mints, and we settled on a trip up the parade.
There are two rooms at Aviary, I didn’t even realise the downstairs room existed because I’ve always sat upstairs. We were upstairs again, in the small dimly lit room. There are small (fake) birds peeping out from corners, and vines draped across the ceiling. There’s a little bit of magic about the Aviary, and I find it’s best enjoyed with a little bit of childlike wonder.
You have to wander back down the stairs to place an order, but at least it means you get to eye off all the goodies in the cabinet. I knew I’d be having the Graceland before the place even opened, so I was first to order – adding on a mille crepe cake for the niece and a peanut butter hot chocolate. There was a $15 Eftpos minimum, which was a little bit annoying. It didn’t affect me because I was buying for two, but Tempting Tyson had to add a macaron onto his order because he was short. Surely a $5 or $10 would suffice?
Two on the table ordered the mille crepe cake, and it was the first to arrive. Gee whiz it looked good. It is layer upon layer of thin crepes, with patisserie cream, lemon curd, and a delicious brulée top. Benefit of bringing my niece along is that not only did she make a great choice, but that I got to eat some too. This was a really beautiful dessert, simple but delicious. Many sweets work well in layers, and this is just one more to add to the list. We were all expecting a round stack of small crepes to come to the table, but the slice was very cool.
I wish I could be half as enthusiastic about the Graceland. It wasn’t disappointing as such – more just underwhelming. I should have probably expected it, as both Tyson & Sam have given it similar feedback, but I just had to try it for myself. Here’s the description from the Aviary menu:
legend has it this combo was the King’s favourite. a toasted banana
and peanut butter sandwich served with maple syrup, banana and bacon
crumble and peanut butter ice cream
The sandwich itself didn’t have enough of the elements. The bread was too overpowering – and so you barely got any flavour of the peanut butter or the fresh banana inside. I felt like these should have been slathered on a bit more. While the bacon crumble was there, it was pretty much impossible to distinguish any taste of bacon. A rasher of candied bacon might have been a nice touch. I did like the peanut butter ice cream though. General consensus was that this was a dish with so much potential – that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Tyson had the B&B – a bread and butter pudding made with chocolate croissants and filled with raspberries. Feedback was that it was good, but maybe not quite as good as the description made it sounds.
Chloe went for the macaron flower pot. A gorgeous little dish of a rich chocolate mud-cake with popping candy and a macaron. This was another winner, which you could tell from Chloe’s face every time she had another mouthful of popping candy. She kept the macaron for later, but Tyson still had his salted caramel macaron as a result of the EFTPOS limit. After a few bites he was pretty convinced that they’d got the flavour wrong, so we passed it round the table, and there was barely a hint of caramel.
You could taste the salt, and you could taste chocolate, but there was only the faintest taste of caramel. We ended up deciding that it probably was the right flavour, just not a very good salted caramel.
All in all Aviary was a real mixed bag, which is what I’ve felt from other trips. The love and effort is all there, but not everything comes off how it should. The mille crepe cake and the macaron flower pot are the two signature dishes, and these were definitely the table’s favourites. It would just be good if every item on the menu could be as good.