Max Brenner Chocolate Cafe - Shellharbour NSW
Although Max Brenner has been around since 1995 in Australia, I had mostly in the past stuck to its chocolate, mocha or coffee drinks - and not much else. I recall the long queues - of mostly under 25s - waiting patiently to make their orders. Staff working at Brenner's are always busy. I usually drop by in the late evenings when I do get there. The decor has to be dark and brown, and when the cafe is full, there may seem to be a kind of disorder, with yet a semblance of order.
The new outlet at the revamped Shellharbour Stockland Shopping Centre looks attractive. This cafe is sited near a high traffic area for those entering the shopping precinct, within a stone's throw of a small playground facility, a gig space and with Aldi Supermarket and a KFC joint in sight. This time around, the Campbells were with me, and I had opportunity to try two interesting choices. First up was the choc pizza, laden with breakfast cereal, marshmallows and nutty bites (photo above). It looked heavy, but on first bite it was just right - light crusted dough with dripping wet chocolate and a crunch on the top!
Second up was the aptly named Apple Berry Fondue. Green apple slices accompanied by seasonal strawberries. Small bites of banana cake sat with the popular marshmallows. (Photo above)
Max Brenner does proclaim that "chocolate is not just about taste". So they came up with Hug Mugs, souffles, a love story and the Bald Man. Max tries to view chocolate differently - to quote him, "chocolate can be savored like fine wine, and yet, it can also be licked hungrily straight from your fingers." He further links emotion with eating or drinking the stuff, leading this to an experience of embracing this delight instead of just viewing it only in packed boxes or behind glass displays.
The next time you find yourself in a Brenner, check out if chocolate is in the air, and not just in front of you. It can be in the piped in music and definitely on the wall designs. If you prefer the online world, they do have offerings from blocks and suckao cups to pralines, nuts, sets and tin boxes. And one can always rely on the traditional milkshakes, sundaes, waffles, crepes and brownies.
e and yet, it can also be licked hungrily straight from your fingers.