When I moved to Sydney from Perth, I didn’t leave behind any chocolate-centric cafes. But two years later I’m back in the west and there’s a chocolate lounge on every corner. What exactly happened while I was away?
The first whiff of it came when the Welshman reported the appearance of San Churro Chocolaterias in Northbridge and Fremantle, which effectively killed our dream of opening up Max Brenner-esque chocolate bars in a few key Perth suburbs. (We thought chocolate cafes in Perth was a very original idea. Apparently not). Then the Melbourne institution Koko Black popped up in the Claremont Quarter, and a few weeks ago I was at the revamped Karawara shopping centre near Curtin University when I spotted a sexy-looking café called Theobroma Chocolate Lounge.
I quickly roped my friend Chris into checking it out with me, so a few days ago we traipsed in for a look. It has a very nice interior, with lots of chocolate browns and ochres; rather reminiscent of the Max Brenner décor but much more grown up.
The standard drinks appear on the menu: coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milkshakes, frappes et al. The cups of hot chocolate were $5.50 each, and for $6.80 you could have one in a mug’n’warmer, which is a mug set over a tea-light candle. Chris and I ordered a tea-light hot chocolate each with marshmallows on the side for an extra 80c, and decided to share a chocolate fondue plate, which was around $17.
The girl at the counter explained that our fondue would take ten minutes “as there’s only two of us here”. I hope this meant that they were short-staffed that day and two wasn’t the usual roster, because out of about eight free tables, seven had piles of dishes waiting to be cleared, and we lingered like idiots for a minute before we spotted the clean table and made a beeline.
The ten minutes stretched into 20, and finally our hot chocolates and fondue arrived. The hot chocolates were obviously made with real chocolate buds so they were smooth and rich, but the taste didn’t blow me away. Since milk makes me feel ungood, my hot chocolates are few and far between and I try to only drink them when they’re really worth it. Thus my standards are pretty high.
The fondue plate featured a pot of melted chocolate set over another tea-light doovery, and an array of fruit pieces: strawberries, oranges, kiwi fruit and bananas, and some marshmallows. Kudos to Theobroma for including the bananas – it’s easy to skip them while the prices are high, but it made the plate look just a bit more premium. I have no complains about the melted chocolate; it was lovely, and I enjoyed dipping the fruit in, even the orange slices that I wasn’t initially sure about.
Aside from the lack of staff, I think Theobroma has something good going on; it’s a nice alternative to the usual coffee shop style, and the dark surrounds are quite sexy and classy. It seems more suited to Leederville or Mt Lawley than Karawara, but who knows? With Como and Salter Point close by, perhaps this will be the next stylish little shopping precinct. Maybe. Let’s wait and see.