Freestyle is now so popular that I didn't know whether I should actually write a post about it. However, I reasoned that for anyone that doesn't know (perhaps if you're from interstate?), Freestyle Tout deserves a little recognition as Brisbane's reputably best dessert cafe.
With its not-very-subtle location in the Emporium (Fortitude Valley), Freestyle offers regular food, high tea and a large selection of desserts. They're predominantly famous for their dessert menu. Indeed, I have been to Freestyle a number of times but I've never ordered actual food. When (if) I do, I'll update this post accordingly.
In terms of how good the dessert is, let me be clear - I don't know anywhere else in contention. Not necessarily because Freestyle is SO GOOD that it BLOWS THE COMPETITION right out of the water, but because I can't name another cafe that occupies quite the same niche.
I know that Coffee & Chocolate in Paddington presents their cakes in quite a dessert-like manner, and I heard that 16th on the Park in Milton calls itself a dessert cafe but I haven't tried it so I can't compare. There are many cafes that I love because they have excellent cakes and slices - but, at the end of the day, these are regular 'cafe offerings', no matter how good they taste.
What Freestyle does different is offer restaurant-standard desserts, at restaurant prices. Not just cakes or muffins, Freestyle has such well-known dessert options as creme brulee, rich chocolate mousse and deluxe gelato sundaes. No item stands along. The creme brulee, for example, comes with biscotti, pistachio coffee and a scoop of pistachio ice cream. Each dessert feels like a stand alone choice, rather than something you order to 'accompany' something else (like a slice of cake to go with coffee).
You can expect a queue, especially if you, like many customers, go to Freestyle for dessert after already having your dinner some place else. The good news is, I noticed the queue dissipates rather quickly. There's an outdoor seating area and the indoor space is more expansive than it appears. There are couch/cushion-lined seats along the windows and regular dining tables.
Real lily on our chair - no it wasn't grey and pink but I didn't meddle with Photoshop either; one of the guys did something weird but cool with my camera
A few times I've been, I noticed that Freestyle would change their menu slightly to match the season or to introduce a bit of variety. When I went last time, nearly 6 months had past since my previous visit yet the dessert menu was exactly the same. Slightly disappointing.
We ordered a number of desserts to share. I have one issue with Freestyle that seriously annoys me - the water is never cold. Because of their customer turn-over rate, sometimes the glasses you drink out of are fresh out of the dishwasher and are warm. That combined with room-temperature water makes the water practically undrinkable for me. I might be unreasonably picky about this but Charlie and I give instant points to any restaurant that provides icy cold water. Really, it's not that hard.
On a broader note, service is efficient but from my experience, not outstandingly friendly. That's alright because they're busy and I'm really just there to eat. You can expect a bit of a wait on your desserts but nothing too ridiculous.
Desserts for the whole table always arrives at once. One thing I can't fault Freestyle on is their presentation. Their desserts look amazing. Serving sizes are quite decent too so you might want to share 1 item between 2 (unless you, like me, can never decide on just one).
White Chocolate Raspberry Brioche Dumplings - with choice of white/dark dipping sauce, liqueur raspberries & vanilla bean ice cream
I chose the white chocolate and raspberry brioche dumplings, since I've had them before and thought they were good. This is an unconventional dessert which showcases Freestyle's creativity. I think the dumplings are great, reminds me of gulab juman but without the sickly sweetness.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownie - with white chocolate sauce, dark & white chocolate ice cream and garnish w more chocolate
The chocolate brownie is unbelievable. If my brownies could taste like anything close to these, I would die happy. Very dark, rich, and the texture is a perfect balance of sticky and cake-like. It goes down very will with the vanilla bean ice-cream. For your information, 'A little Bit of Queensland' is a bit like the white chocolate or blondie version of this.
We chose the Sorbet Supremo not realizing that it would be all fruit-flavored sorbet. As Charlie pointed out, the first few tastes are refreshing and tangy but after a while, all the fruit flavors start tasting the same and you get over it. I think they should have at least included one milk-based flavor like vanilla or chocolate, but then again I guess we should have ordered a sundae instead. The sundaes have greater variety in gelato flavors and also, some chocolate sauce etc to make things a bit more interesting. Out of everything I've had at Freestyle, I liked the Sorbet Supremo the least. Even though I think their sorbets are good quality, I guess it's not really my thing... I didn't like the Berry Deluxe Sundae so much when I tried it either but I think the chocolate version would have gone down well.
The baked passionfruit cheesecake was lovely. I normally don't like fruit-based cheesecake that much but I thought the texture of this cheesecake was exceptional. It was somehow light yet dense at the same time (undoubtedly, that would sound ridiculous to you). I suppose what I mean is that it was dense and creamy but you could still spoon it easily and there was a nice melt-in-the-mouth quality.
A Little Bit of Chocolate - layers of dark chocolate, hazelnut, meringue, drizzled w chocolate & caramel sauce finished w cappuccino mousse and espresso foam
'A Little Bit of Chocolate' was almost 3 mini desserts in one. Of those, I liked cappuccino mousse the best. The others liked the layered cake part. I think this is a good choice if you want to try a few things and can't decide.
I always leave Freestyle happy and full but I still wish we had more dessert cafes around here. Also, it would be good for the regulars if they had a few new options on their menu every few months or so!