16th on Park
My most recent visit to Freestyle Toute wasn't 100% satisfactory so I was on the lookout for another dessert cafe, knowing that in Brisbane, it was likely that there was none. It seemed like fate that on the next day, I drove along Park Road and saw 16 on Park with the words "Dessert Cafe" stamped underneath the restaurant's name. I nearly did a double take and quickly racked my brain for upcoming special events I could use as an excuse to go check the place out.
Ultimately, I decided I didn't need an excuse: a dedicated dessert cafe in Brisbane was a special enough occasion to justify itself. So a few days ago, I got my chance.
16th on Park doesn't just do desserts. They have a specific menu full of wonderful dessert creations and special hot chocolate but should you fancy something savory, there is also a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.
We saw that they had tapas on offer and since we wanted to make the dessert the main affair, we chose 3 tapas to share, plus a light pork salad.
Food didn't take long to arrive at all. Our tapas platter looked very pretty and came with three dips. The garlic prawn twists in particular where much more... well 'artistic' than I expected. You bite down and get a burst of garlic before the prawn filling becomes noticeable. It was crisp and interesting; I liked this. The calamari was a bit less well-received. The crumble-coating sort of flaked away from the calamari ring. Though the calamari was tender, it was also a bit bland. We also chose duck spring rolls which were pretty good. I couldn't taste the duck but if you just think of it as a spring roll, that's alright. It wasn't as good as the spring roll from Bretts wharf (not a fair comparison since the spring rolls from Bretts Wharf were seafood ones).
The pork salad was quite good. Salad leaves were fresh and the pork was nicely marinated and tender. It was also inexpensive so I wouldn't mind ordering one of their salads again.
After our dinner, we poured over the dessert menu, contemplating which ones to limit ourselves to. I was leaning towards the dessert platter for two but Charlie is a bit more sensible than me and insisted we behave like normal people (as opposed to bottomless pits) and order 1 each. He wanted cold, so he chose the Chocolate Lover's Sundae and I went for a tiramisu, plus a Toblerone hot chocolate.
I was really grateful we didn't have to long for the dessert (suspense and sugar deprivation was driving me crazy). When they came, I spent all of 5sec admiring how nicely they were presented before quickly snapping my photos and diving in.
The tiramisu was divine. It's one of those desserts that can be made in many different ways so I guess part of it comes down to personal preference. I don't have a specific personal preference, more so leaning towards 'whatever works'. This particular tiramisu is cheesy (marscapone, I suppose) and creamy and not too sweet. The texture is very rich and heavenly on the palate. I would have liked a bit more coffee infusion but as is, this dessert is excellent. It was all I could do to try and eat slowly (and savor) rather than gulp it down.
I didn't bother much with Charlie's sundae (was too absorbed in my own pick) but he praised the macadamia ice-cream so much that I had to try it. We've ordered the berry sundae and chocolate sundae from Freestyle Toute before so I asked him how this compared. Even though I had a fit about the Freestyle sundae not containing any nuts, I recognized their quality of gelato was fantastic. Charlie raised my interest by claiming that the 16th on Park ice-cream was better. I tried some and (note: my taste buds were a bit tainted from tiramisu) it was really good. The macadamia flavor was very strong and there were huge chunks of them too.
Unfortunately, there is a slight bump in this success story. The hot chocolate was a bit pointless for me. It was basically Toberlone pieces dissolved in hot milk. Maybe if you have it on its own, it would be alright but remember that I had it with another dessert.
My conclusion is that 16th on Park has acceptable food offerings (weekday specials make it all the more affordable - check their website) but the standout is their dessert items. I'm glad that there's another place in Brisbane with a firm focus on their dessert menu, endeavoring to supply restaurant-standard dessert items. They also have regular cafe sweets like cakes, baklava, cookies etc in their cabinet (which I'm bound to try next time... and there WILL be a next time).