vs.

Like what?? You can obviously tell which dish is the one from the Max Brenner in NYC. Even our chocolate dishes have to be flamboyant and attention catching…”

During the first day of tutorial for Globalisation, my tutor, Adeline, asked us to introduce ourselves; to tell everyone what we liked, disliked, and so forth. Well, Dan Sikora, after introducing himself, randomly blurted out, “I HATE CHOCOLATE!” Adeline gasped and drew back, making this weird face. “Are you sure? Maybe you’re just not trying hard enough…”

(I’ve managed to capture an orange essence from the cancerous rays of sunlight.)

While chocolate has its own following down under in Australia, I was surprised to find so many Max Brenner’s in Australia considering how there are only two in the US (both in Manhattan, about a mile apart!). I mean, what country could love sugar and bask in gluttony other than the Americans? But in Sydney alone, I found eight Max Brenner’s, two of which were in CBD. Though the name and chocolate may appear the same, there is a noticable difference between the Aussie Max Brenner and American Max Brenner.

The Australian branches seem to focus more on the concept of chocolate whereas in the US, Max Brenner serves anything from a savory brunch to a supper sized paella. The menu is thick with conconctions of choco-tails, crepes exploding with varying fruit/chocolate, chocolate based desserts, and well, you get the point. But in Sydney, not only is Max Brenner more of a self-serve spot where you place your order at the counter and grab a number, the menu is so small that it fits on the board behind the employees on the counter. So, you’re limited to waffles, cake, and chocolate drinks…

There is something called a Chocolate Lick (pictured above), which I wish was on our menu. It’s basically a “shot” of chocolate, but you’re given a tiny spoon from which you lick the chocolate from. It’s well portioned and seems to do the trick if you’re looking for a bit of a chocolate fix.

Pictured above is the hot chocolate with crunchy balls that Kirstie got. After our dinner at Chat Thai (and an afternoon at Manly Beach where I ate that epicially giant and once dropped ice cream cone), I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to shoulder any more solid food. I went ahead on got the White Shake made of lychee and coconut. What a disappointment! Stick to the chocolate, Max; it’s what you do best. Well, at least it was in a cool looking/named cup- the Alice cup…

Oh, but Clement, who can eat anything and everything and watch his weight evaporate into thin air as he swallows, ordered a fondue (meant for two). With it came banana bread, marshmallows, strawberries, bananas, and 2 types of chocolate for the fondue. There was so much fondue that I overestimated Clement’s ability to eat all of it. Thus, we reaped the benefits and gorged on divine chocolate. The funny thing is- the chocolate isn’t even that outstanding. I think it’s really the nonchalant and mood that the restaurant creates that makes me love the place so much. This specific love for chocolate that brings everyone together  creates an experience that can only be elevated by chocolate.

(Pink marshmallows???)

But, I do want to emphasize one thing that the Max Brenner in New York City lacks and that’s the Belgian Waffle. Yes, a real Belgian waffle- the kind that crunches under the pressure of the inital bite yet retains its soft and chewiness as you continue to chew. What a divine bite that waffle was!

So, while the Max Brenner in Sydney is smaller, offers less variety, and gives smaller portion sizes (not to mention, they don’t give you a vial of chocolate for your pouring pleasure), it’s definitely worth going for their waffles. I’ve also always found it fascinating in the ways that companies, particularly restaurants, attempt to adjust to other cultures when they expand. I took one friend who frequently went to Max Brenner in Sydney to the one in Union Square and she was absolutely in shock at how different the two places were. They serve the same product, but dress it up differently.

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