Monday, November 23, 2009

More lemon in my meringue please, or: Tart'n'Round, Northcote on a Friday night

My ability to consume Tart'n'Round Cherry Bliss and Peanuty Caramel chocolate balls is second to none. To none! Having been well behind the eight-ball on this one, with Kristy, Cindy and Michael, Johanna and Steph all having visited already, I went to the Tart'n'Round cafe in Northcote with the lovely Miss Jose.

We started with chocolate soyshake, which was made of ickysoy (*a technical term), was not very chocolately at all, and had one huge floating chunk of soycream with almost condensed chocolate flakes in it. Given that a good whizz of So Good or Vitasoy chocolate or vanilla soy milk, with some So Good soycream, makes a pretty thick and cocoaey soyshake, I couldn't drink more than a few sips of this one.

Our mains were an improvement, especially Miss Jose's. She had the vegie burger which came on some flat bread (I think because it was gluten free), and was filled with diced veggies. It wasn't really a burger but more of a veggie mix, but we rated this one.

My lasagne was also nice, although a little too potatoey for me. I couldn't really taste any different vegetables; the layers seemed quite squasyh, perhaps leading to squashification of individual flavours. Nonetheless, it was hearty and enjoyable.

Knowing that I am not a cream-liker, I bypassed the Black Forest cake, and another very creamy looking cakey thing, and ordered the lemon meringue for dessert to share. It looked fantastic - heaps of whippy cream and a homemade pastry cup. I chose choc-orange soycream to go along with it, and I am happy to say that the soycream was seriously good, with a lovely soft - but not soft serve soft - texture and a very well balanced, un-Jaffa-like flavour.

Upon some digging into the meringue. we discovered that the cream on top descended about 6/8 down the shortcrusty pastry cup, which was pretty diappointing given that the lemon part underneath was fabulous. Smooth and tartly sweet, it was our mutually-agreed favourite bit. After a couple of bites I could clearly taste Nuttelex in the whippy cream, which was offputting (and I have a terrible palate, as if I 'd been a two pack a day moker for 30 years. At a recent ill-begotten trip to the Vegie Bar where a few of us were served the dairy and eggy chocoate cake instead of the vegan one, when everyone else could taste the animal products, I was blissfully unaware). The pastry crust was dry and crumbly; perhaps a result of it being gluten-free, but enough to cause sticking-in-the-back-of-the-throat coughing. We left quite a bit of it which was sad as we knew that Tart'n'Round is rightly famous for its ridiculously delicious desserts.

So, it was hard to reconcile my passionate, greedy love of the Tart'n'Round chocolate balls with the just-slightly-off dishes I tried at the cafe. That said, eveything was nice and the service friendly; I just think it still needs a few tweaks. You can't help but respect a company that is vegan, wheat and gluten free, and I hope that the cafe, in its excellent location and with a store of ready-made fans, really takes off.


Mandee said...

It's a shame you weren't impressed with some of their meals but the veggie burger and lasagne do look good! Tart'n'Round is definitely on my list of places to visit in Melb.

Miss T said...

Oh yeah, it's totally worth a visit! I guess I just expected the meals (which were perfectly fine) to be up to the out-of-this-world benchmark set by the peanut butter and cherry bliss balls.