Just desserts: Get yours in Sydney

By Jay Chabon

We come from a family where a sweet tooth is in the DNA.

When we get together, the dessert spread is generally larger than the main course.

So imagine our sheer delight at the wisdom of Sydney eateries serving up dessert as the main meal. Genius!

Whether you want a fine dining experience, cafe culture with chocolate at its core, or scrumptious morsels to enjoy on the go (or as takeaway in a Y Hotels room) the city caters to every sweet craving.

Here’s our fab five selection:

Above: Churros for two at San
Above: Churros for two at San Churro.

San Churro Harbourside chocolateria – Darling Harbour

Chocolate as a beating heart, a religion even – now you’re talking our language!

After sampling a dessert named “death by chocolate” we’re sure we’re going to heaven.

You can dip, dunk and drink it or go for the shake, sundae, sandwich or share plate.

Whichever way you like to enjoy your chocolate, the San Churro Harbourside chocolateria provides plenty of worthy excuses to skip the main meal and go straight to dessert.

Be sure to sample the signature dish the churro too.

The Spanish doughnuts are cooked fresh to order, dusted in cinnamon or icing sugar and served with a dip-cup of pure melted couverture chocolate.

It’s considered the best way to start the day or end a night of celebration in Spain and thankfully we Aussies are quickly catching on! The Spanish tradition of tapas also gets a chocolaty twist.

Plus there’s truffles and macarons – perfect takeaway to enjoy in the rooms back at Y Hotels.

Above: Royal Cobanhagan
Above: Ice cream from Royal Copenhagen.

Royal Copenhagen ice cream – Manly

We love a portable dessert, and none so simple yet scrumptious as an ice cream cone.

The universal dessert of the young and old.

We’ll take ours as a double-scoop (old fashioned toffee and boysenberry ripple please) in a waffle cone with whipped cream and chocolate topping thanks!

Whenever we’re in Manly, strolling along The Corso from the ferry wharf to the beach, we’re always drawn to the delicious aroma of fresh cones being turned out in the waffle irons at the Royal Copenhagen ice creamy.

We opt for a cone over a cup every time, but deciding which of the delectable flavours of ice cream to sample is a much harder decision.

We’re pros when it comes to licking while walking to the beach: best place to enjoy dessert with a view is on the steps of the oceanfront esplanade.

KOI Dessert Bar – Chippendale

If you’re a Masterchef fan, you’ll be well acquainted with the “king of desserts” Reynold Poernomo.

Admittedly we’re not among the devoted groupies of the hit reality TV series, but 2015 contestant Poernomo’s moniker is enough to earn our respect.

And send us rushing to his KOI Dessert Bar, conveniently located a handy 500 metres from Y Hotel City South in Chippendale.

We also love that KOI elevates dessert’s status to be the sole focus of a fine dining experience.

Indulge in the $65 per person set dessert menu, which includes Poernomo’s famed “moss” dish (a much simpler name for a magical combination of pistachio mousse, caramel gel, white chocolate matcha dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime and yoghurt and green apple).

For a more casual but equally scrumptious experience, the ground floor shopfront satisfies coffee and cake needs from 10am to 10pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Oh yeah, and you can have dinner in the restaurant too – it’s a set menu with a snack, entree, main and plenty of dessert!

Above: High tea and coffee at the Intercontinental Sydney.
Above: High tea and coffee at the Intercontinental Sydney.

OK coffee addicts.

Now the charmingly regal experience that delights tea lovers can be yours too.

Yep, when it comes to upscale sweet pursuits, The Cortile, located at Sydney’s InterContinental Hotel, has coffee covered.

The 1851 Treasury Building setting’s not half bad either – atrium, tiered sandstone arcades and all.

Munch (politely) your way through the three-tier high tea stand, with a whole library of matching beverages to wash those yummy nibbles down with (weekdays 11am – 4pm).

Or come the weekend (from 1pm – 2:30pm and 3pm – 4:30pm) there’s a whole buffet to chose from.

The menu includes “tea treats” (Jasmine Gold tea crème brulée – yum!) hot sweet and savoury treats and sandwiches, plus plenty of tea including a green tea affogato.

There’s a gluten free menu too.

High coffee is available daily (11am – 4pm) with as an extensive an offering as the high tea menu (including gluten free), only with a coffee twist.

Did someone mention café au lait macarons?

Emperor’s Garden Cake and Bakery – Chinatown

If you do one thing on your visit to Sydney’s Chinatown, make sure it’s to sample the delectable little cream puffs (although the name is a bit deceptive, they’re actually filled with custard, just the way we like them – clouds of pure heaven!) from Emperor’s Garden Cake and Bakery.

Don’t worry about finding them.

The long line at an unassuming little window just inside the Chinatown gates (at the Hay Street end) will give it away.

They’re cheap as chips too – pocket change will get you a sample.

Although once you taste the first one, you’ll find yourself handing over plenty more cash!

The Emperor’s puffs are so popular they’ve got their own Facebook fan group.

Step in to the neighbouring bakery for more delectable delights.

We love grabbing a tray and picking out scrumptious morsels from behind the self-serve cabinets.

The Chinese specialities include sweet and savoury buns, cakes and pastries.


Know a great place for dessert in Sydney? Tell us in the comments section below.

// IS - 20240106 removed the comments