Let’s quietly ignore the fact that I’ve been silent on here for over a month and move straight along to Adelaide’s newest dessert offering: Astonish Patisserie. I was actually invited along to their opening night/party on the 14th, but unfortunately missed out on it because I was a bit sick. So when Sam called me up to try and book something in for Saturday night, I knew I could stay a hermit for any longer, and away we went to Astonish.
It’s a very cute little store, located in a blink-and-you-might-miss-it spot on King William Street by Gilbert Street on the Southern End. It doesn’t seem like the most central location, but who are we kidding, all of Adelaide is central. Because it’s a less busy part of town it’s easier to find a park, or you can catch the tram to the City South stop.
There are 4 separate dining sections: a small section as you first walk in, a larger room that can be used for private functions as well, an outdoor courtyard, and the ‘library’ type room complete with shelves of books and a fireplace that can be fired up in winter. Of course we chose the library. Because of the 4 different areas Astonish manages to have a lot of space, without losing any atmosphere or feeling hollow.
We had an early visit, at around 7:00, so we were the only ones in there. It was great because we got to go on a little tour of the building, and had the entire menu explained in full. We also made a few trips running back and forward between our table and the display cabinet, trying to decide what desserts we’d be trying.
It really wasn’t too hard. I knew I’d be having the panna fire before we event arrived. Vanilla panna cotta, rhubarb jelly, pistachio bombe alaska, and brandy snap. I had absolutely no idea how the dish was going to be presented, but being able to enjoy panna cotta and a bombe alaska in the one dish – I’m instantly sold. Sam ummed and ahhed for a while, but ended up settling on the warm banana cake. Freshly baked banana cake, caramelised banana, and almond praline banana smoothie.
The banana cake came out first. Three slices of very moist banana cake, with the cream and caramelised banana, laid out on a wooden board. I unfortunately didn’t try the smoothie, but it was very cute, a nice little shot to follow the cake. The serving was a little smaller than I expected, but it ended up being a good size – especially with the addition of the smoothie.
My panna fire came out with the blowtorch blazing. A long block of panna cotta with a mini bombe alaska on the side. I’ve probably said it before, but the resurgence of the bombe alaska is one of my favourite dessert trends. It’s such a visually stunning dish, even without the flame, and I love the different textures of the gooey meringue and the creamy ice cream or parfait. This was a lovely little example. I perhaps let the flame burn a little too long, charring the outside of the meringue. But it was delicious, just like biting into a black marshmallow after it’s been held over the campfire. The panna cotta was nice and light, it didn’t blow me away with it’s flavour, but it was vanilla. Nice and subtle, but ultimately very tasty.
Overall I loved everything about the dish, except maybe the brandy snap. It was just a little bland. I still ate the whole thing and enjoyed it. Obviously I wasn’t complaining too much.
We mulled over the menu as our first desserts settled; trying to pick the last one to share was a very hard task. Thankfully our problems were solved when we were asked if we’d like to try a special dessert that wasn’t on the menu. How could we refuse?
We were presented with a huge profiterole filled with caramelised banana (like with the banana bread) crème pat, and other delicious things that I can’t quite remember. The surface had some sort of coating, almost like a crumble, which was delicious and gave the whole dish a nice crunch. It looked beautiful on the plate, in a kind of naughty way; we knew that the only way to enjoy it was to skip being dainty and just dig right in. I’m glad we got to taste it, because I think it was my favourite dish of the night. I never thought I’d be saying that about a profiterole.
At one moment the music stopped playing, we were still the only ones there so it was silent. All you could hear were the mmms and ahs as we savoured every mouthful.
I had a bit of a chat about the menu. There are small sweets like cakes, tarts, and macarons that are likely to change depending on current flavours, but the dine-in menu will be a fairly permanent menu. Apparently after they’ve been around for a bit longer they’ll start bringing out specials, which judging from our night tonight I’m excited about.
We couldn’t leave without trying some of the macarons. I chose the salted caramel, and Sam went for the dark chocolate and got a pistachio for us to share. I enjoyed salted caramel, but it wasn’t the best I have had. I loved the amount of saltiness, but I felt it could be a little too much for some people. The pistachio was fantastic, such a clear pistachio flavour, and a beautiful texture.
One thing regular dessert eaters will notice is that the prices are a bit higher than some places. The cakes, tarts, & mousse section ranges from around $5.50-$7, but the dine in desserts are $12-$18. It’s definitely more expensive for some, but when you consider the fact that most places seem to greatly undercharge I don’t think it’s much of an issue. They’re about on par with prices you’ll find in any restaurant around town, but with better desserts than most.
They’re still only a couple of weeks old, so they’re quite obviously still finding their feet. So far I’m excited to see them join the list of Adelaide dessert bars. Keep an eye out for them, and if you’ve been there, let me know what you think.