After two days of public holiday (Christmas Day and Boxing Day), you can’t shake that odd feeling when you go into work on a Thursday, because you’re constantly thinking that it should be a Monday. Normally my Thursday day goes by very quickly as it’s my last working day of the week, but today it dragged on like nothing you can imagine. But all things eventually come to an end and like a bullet from a gun, I was out of the office at my early-mark time of 3.00 pm. I half-heartedly browsed for some shorts at the bustling Pitt St Mall (my energy had been sapped from starting the Boxing Day sales the day before at 6.30 am) before the delightful pinging from my phone informed me that my girlfriend Lara Croft had been dismissed early from work and was free to play.
Neither of us could linger for dinner, but we had the time for a quick sweet snack and so decided to make the trek to Baroque. Alas, upon arriving there we discovered that their trading hours had changed due to the Christmas and New Year period. Upon making our way back along George Street, Lara Croft noticed the Guylian Cafe and proposed we stop off there instead.
We were in awe at the array of cakes and chocolates on display, and after oogling them, we waited patiently and were seated fairly promptly.
The store, being situated in the very centre of The Rocks, had moments where it was flooded with chattering groups of tourists clutching their chunky SLRs, to moments where the wait staff stood around with no one to serve.
I ordered a slice of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake ($15.50) and a regular-sized latte ($4.50), while Lara Croft went for a Guylian Praline Mint Cake ($14.50). My coffee arrived first, with a seasonal Christmas chocolate on the side.
The coffee was larger than I expected, and when the waitress returned with another latte, regular-sized, it turned out that my coffee order had been mixed up with someone else’s. I had already added sugar so the waitress let me keep the larger. Unfortunately I didn’t particularly enjoy having the larger coffee, as it was burned and bitter, and I struggled to finish just half of it. The chocolate was quite good though.
My cheesecake arrived shortly after and it was presented beautifully. The baked cheesecake had a heavy hit of dark chocolate, and was a little on the dry side, being a little crumbly after one got past the ganache outer covering. It was borderline sickly-sweet.
After about 15 minutes of sipping my coffee and not touching my cheesecake, we were still waiting on the Praline Mint Cake. In that time, the same waitress with the coffee mix-up tried to give us a Guylian shake, which we hadn’t ordered. I hailed down another passing waitress and questioned her about the cake, to be told that it was being prepared. For a cake that was in the same display cabinet as my slice of cheesecake, I was rather surprised it was taking so long.
The long-awaited mint cake finally arrived, also beautifully presented.
I regret to say that while Guylian cakes arrive beautifully presented, the good part ends about there. The Mint Cake had a peppermint-scented outer sponge, with what was supposed to be a ‘mouthful blast of mint bavarois’. The outer sponge was very dry, while the inner bavarois didn’t have much flavour at all, of chocolate or of mint. The waitress had also forgotten our request for water, but we decided to just forget about it.
Overall, we were quite disappointed and decided to make a speedy getaway, so I called for the bill. I was pleased to see they hadn’t charged me for the mistake over the coffee, but dismayed that they had charged us for the Guylian shake, which we hadn’t ordered.
Upon pointing this out to the waitress, we were brushed off to one of the waiters at the till, who, without checking the table, a waitress, or asking for clarification, merely printed out another copy sans the shake, without any apology. We quickly paid before departing the premises.
While a fabulous location, I have to say I was very disappointed about the whole occasion. The service was very poor, and they weren’t so busy to excuse confusing so many orders or making a customer wait 20 minutes for a cake already in the display cabinet, which merely needed to be plated. The flavour, texture and quality of the cakes need to match their perfection of the appearance. Good presentation alone will not get you anywhere.
I’m not certain I will be visiting here again, unless it’s just for a hot chocolate – I really do hope they can at least get that right.
Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe
91 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000
(02) 8274 7500