Having been to Oliver Brown when I went to Sydney, I was quite pleased when they opened a store in the newly refurbished Garden City. I was even more pleased when I received an invite to celebrate their opening. So last Saturday, we headed off to Garden City after lunch to try it out.
The menu was very extensive for a chocolate bar, consisting of six boards covering drinks and food. Quite a few cakes and desserts were on display, and I made a note to come back and try it another day.
Ordering is via counter service. Now, before I had attended, due diligence stipulated that I had to conduct a reasonable amount of research before attending. Upon reading reviews by other patrons, the one thing that really stuck with me was the general consensus that the service left more to be desired. Having that in mind, I can say that the counter staff could do with some improvement in their manner. The girl that served me initially was quite snappy and blunt, and I could see she was under a lot of pressure to serve customers quickly, as the line was really quite long and I could see she wasn't very familiar with the ordering system on the machine. After I showed my invitation though, she left the counter and a much friendlier manager took over. I noticed that service improved remarkably after this.
Between the four of us, we shared four drinks and two mains. The iced dark chocolate was topped with many dark chocolate flakes, so it wasn't as smooth as my friend was expecting. The taste was less overpowering than expected, which my companion really appreciated. The milk hot chocolate with crunchy waffle balls was very well received by my companion, he said that it was rich and smooth without a bad aftertaste. He liked the crunchy balls at the bottom and said that it provided a nice change in texture.
My third companion had the cookies and cream frappe, which was supposed to come in a tall glass, but staff were quite apologetic about it having come out in a plastic cup. She said that she really liked the crunchiness of the cookies, and also appreciated how the drink was less sweet than usual, which allowed her more opportunity to appreciate the taste of the cookies and fresh cream. Wanting a clearer palate, I opted for the Lemon, Lime and Mint crush, which to my surprise came out to be sweeter than anticipated. It was thoroughly blended, which meant it didn't have chunks of ice in it, and the lemon and lime flavours were definitely very strong. I would have appreciated it if there was a bit more kick to the mint, as it tasted more like an afterthought in this drink.
Our mains came in quick succession after a not insignificant wait.
The Chocolate fondue for two came with two very large (and deep) servings of chocolate, being milk and dark, it also had strawberries, banana, marshmallows and pretzels to dip. The serving sizes were very generous, even for two people. The chocolate was rich and smooth, whilst not being overwhelming, the strawberries and the banana were fresh, sweet and not overly ripe, which is always great. The pretzels were crispy, and an unusual addition to a fondue.
As for the Churros for two, I can only compare them to San Churro, which I've been several times, and Eat Street. They were served at room temperature (the other ones I've previously had were fresh and hot), and there was a distinct lack of cinnamon. Whilst I appreciate that its hard to be compared with specialist churro stores, it would have been appreciated if they had been warmed up for us. As for the chocolate though, the portions were generous, whilst the flavours were rich and smooth.
In summary, I would concur with most of the reviewers in saying that the service, especially from the counter could be improved, but the food still definitely makes it worth going.
Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of Oliver Brown and Platinum Media and Communications, but as always, our opinions are solely our own.