Thursday, April 9, 2009

Freestyle Tout

Freestyle Tout

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 and 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.

Example of the good stuff they have on offer

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.

Sorbet Supremo – chef’s selection served in chocolate dipped waffle basket

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.

Baked Passionfruit Cheesecake w Cosmopolitan sorbet, passionfruit curd and tuile

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!


  1. Why have I not been to Freestyle Tout yet? I live within walking distance of the place yet it never occurred to me to go!

    I'm going to try to force the boyfriend to take me there today :D

  2. If your boy likes his dessert, he shouldn't require too much convincing - the menu is delectable.

    And o.m.g. I am so jealous you live within walking distance.