The evening didn’t start well. First I literally just missed the tram – I was five meters to the tram stop when I saw the tram slowly roll away. Wah wah guitar.
I then became lost at Crown. I thought I knew where Mr Hive was located, but I was wrong – I had no clue. Which lead me to walk up and down the street several times trying to figure out how to get to the first floor of Crown Metropol until it finally clicked that I needed to go “inside” the main part of Crown. Into the disorienting Crown maze I went. And first thing I did? Went in the wrong direction and took the wrong escalator. BAH. Things weren’t going my way.
Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar used to be Maze (you know, Gordon Ramsey’s Maze), and was rebranded late last year / early this year with some minor renovations. It’s located on the first floor of Crown Metropol – you can either go through Crown or walk up the stairs from the lobby of the Metropol hotel.
It took me a while but eventually I found my way to the restaurant where Hazzie was patiently waiting for me. And I’m happy to say that once I arrived (and had a cocktail) the evening picked up. Alastair, Gazman, Adrian and CnC showed up not too long after, and we wandered through to the dessert bar. We were there for a dessert bar degustation – a multi course sugar extravaganza. We were so dedicated to the cause that we hadn’t even eaten dinner yet (and it was only 6.30pm!).
We perched at the bar, where we had a great view of head pastry chef, Daniel Fletcher, preparing the desserts.
Our first course was a rhubarb compote on yoghurt mousse and Sichuan ice cream. It was really delicious – smooth and tangy, with crunchy biscuit crumbs that were super buttery, and slightly peppery ice cream. It was a great dessert to start with – it had a hint of savouriness that was really appealing and a different range of textures.
For the second course, it was mixed up slightly. We all received a dessert each, but not the same dessert. There were actually three different ones, so we shared and were able to sample more of the menu.
First up was the praline soufflé – the spoon in the middle is where jasmine tea and coco nib ice cream was inserted. The soufflé was wonderful: light and eggy and fragrant with hazelnut. And I loved the contrast of the warm sweet soufflé with the ice cream.
Second was a plate of the ricotta cheesecake with yuzu, ginger and seeds. The small squares of cheesecake were smooth and creamy, with the yuzu and sorbets providing a contrasting sourness.
The last of the trio was everyone’s favourite dessert of the night: white chocolate, mango, basil and coconut. Interestingly, this is one I probably wouldn’t order based on the menu description, so I’m really glad we got to try it.
The vibrantly green basil sorbet was intensely fresh. Underneath it was a couple of blobs of mango, some caramelised coconut that looked like cornflakes, and layers of coconut mousse and sweet white chocolate. I can’t describe how brilliant this was – it tasted so fresh and clean and vibrant. It was amazing how well all the components worked together.
On to the third course, and this time there were two chocolate desserts. Again, we received a dessert each – and these were full sized desserts (gulp).
One was Mrs Hive’s chocolate bar with peanuts and caramel – a long bar of chocolate mousse on top of a crispy wafer with peanuts and peanut butter ice cream. It looks amazing, hey? This must be one of their most popular desserts – we saw several being prepared while we sat at the bar.
There was also a chocolate fondant with cardamom ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Check out that oozy chocolate – perfect. The cardamom ice cream was a good touch against the very rich and sweet chocolate, and the salted caramel was both salty and sweet in equal measure.
The two chocolate desserts were really good, but Alastair and I really struggled with the richness and sweetness of both of them, and we much preferred the first two courses. But they would be perfect for chocolate dessert lovers.
And finally, to finish off there were small bottles of thick chocolate milk corked with a salted caramel truffle that was completely liquid inside.
After all that sugar, we had a quick kitchen tour (hoorah!) and wandered off to eat something savoury at The Boatbuilders Yard – we definitely needed it.
Reverse dinner ahoy.
Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar hold the dessert degustations in the evenings at the dessert bar after 6pm. They don’t take bookings for the dessert bar and it only seats six people. It costs $45 for three incredibly generous serves of dessert, with matched wines an extra $25. I don’t think you *have* to do three courses – but hey, if you’re there anyway, you may as well eat enough sugar to last a month. Right?
For more on the dessert bar, Peach water also paid a visit as part of dinner.
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Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar
8 Whiteman St
Southbank, VIC 3006
Phone: 03 9292 8300