CHARISMA WORKSHOP, MELBOURNE CBD: Charismatic Workshop is a relatively new brunch place hidden away in a small alley way off the highrise-filled A’Beckett Street, surrounded by quite a lot of new construction. Being such a new and undiscovered location, we were very impressed with the fantastic vibes, quality of desserts, display cases and time in preparing the meal for us. A focus is also placed on Japanese originated drinks, from matcha, sencha and the like, with tea leaves sourced from specific locations in Japan themselves, to Syphon coffee, a quality preparation of coffee beans through a special filter that is bound to revolution Melbourne coffee culture one day. The customer service is also of high standards, with an extremely welcoming and passionate manager, waitstaff and also head chef. Their menu features a wide variety of Asian-fusion styled dishes, ranging from standard breakfasts to heartier lunch options.
I was quite surprised by how aesthetic the iced matcha latte was presented, with a beautiful engraved glass dotted with pink flowers, complementing the herbal green inside. The foam on top was the perfect level, and the best thing about the latte was how strong the matcha was. Instead of overly sweet and artificial matcha lattes you get in many places, I enjoyed the tinges of green tea bitterness from this drink.
The Syphon coffee was so interactive to drink! The barista invited us to watch him brew it, and soon, we were spectators of a process resembling almost a chemistry distillation. The boiled water was filtered through the beans before being poured into a lovely cylindrical flask propped up onto a clamp (retort stand and clamp :P) For a non-coffee drinker such as me, I found it very enjoyable! Despite not having milk/sugar, the coffee was not bitter at all – instead it left a very floral and sweet aroma with a light after taste that was easily washed down by the sparkling water. I would highly recommend it!
Confit Duck Leg (Field Mushroom, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Mash, Coffee Red Wine Reduction, Tomato & Parmesan Marshmallow) – $26.0
The good fat: Confit is a very French-styled cooking method and I’m basically a huge lover of anything confit (ignoring the fact that it’s basically drowned in oil) The duck leg was cooked perfectly, with strips easily falling off the bone so that we didn’t even need to use our hands. It was soft, tender and flavoursome. The red wine reduction added a boost of a barbecue-like marinade from the outside and the mash potato gave it a lovely soft texture, not only soaking up the delicious sauce, but also giving a starchy break from any potential fattiness due to confit-ing. The tomato marshmallow – yes, that’s a thing, was a clear cube with a jelly like texture which was very interesting! I loved the freshness of the cherry tomatoes and the crunch of the salad leaves that separated the duck from the mushrooms. Lastly, the field mushrooms were stunning! Soft, saucy and flavoursome, how can you go wrong with a duck and mushroom pairing? A great combination of flavours for a hearty lunch.
The bad fat: It would be so amazing to have crispy skin duck on a confit just for an added texture of crunch for the duck – simple because the majority of the dish is quite one dimensional in texture (aside from the leaves). Alternatively, the mash could incorporate duck fat-roast potatoes instead which is also equally as delicious!
Soft Shell Crab Yuzu Egg Benedict (Wilted Spinach, Poached Eggs, Pickled Radish, Charcoal Yuzu Hollandaise, Sourdough) – $21.0
The good fat: I’m a huge lover of anything soft shell crab – and I loved how generous they were in the size of the crab on this benedict. The skin was crisp-ed up by the flour coating and it was very tasty inside. The eggs were poached perfectly (which is quite a necessity) and the wilted spinach was a soft and silky vegetable to incorporate on an eggs benedict. The amount of sauce was well measured, with enough to cover both the sourdough and crab without being too soggy. Also, I loved the addition of pickled radish for an extra refreshing, slightly sweet crunch to add a bit of complexity to the dish.
The bad fat: The yuzu hollandaise in theory, sounds quite amazing but I wasn’t really able to taste the different elements of it. The hollandaise itself wasn’t very strong, but was rather bland, and I didn’t get that hearty, warm feeling that comes with great hollandaise sauce. It would also be nice to get a bit more of yuzu/charcoal coming through as I couldn’t really detect it much. With more perfection in the sauce, this crab benedict combo could go to new highs!
La Vie en Rose (Rose Bavarian Cream, Lychee Curd, Ruby Peach Jelly, Almond Sponge) – $10.5
The good fat: A sensational dessert! So many places these days focus simply on presentation that the quality of ingredients inside the cake are lackluster – but Charismatic Workshop is certainly not one of them. The rose just look stunning, I have no idea how they made it, but it was a perfect treat for a post-Valentines’ Day girl’s date. The little gold flake in the centre just rounded it off. I loved how you could individually identify each component of the dessert, but they still blended together smoothly. The lychee curd was strong and sweet, with the authenticity of real lychee fruit and as was the peach jelly – lychee + peach, some 2 of my favourite fruits to have in dessert! The cream was soft, smooth and definitely not overpowering, with the red decorated around it. The almond sponge was the perfect composition of texture to form a solid base for the rest of the cream-based layers to rest on, providing a necessary contrast.
The bad fat: Imagine some small, sprinkled nut pieces inside the cream e.g. almond crumble that would just be stunning!
SHOULD YOU GET FAT HERE?
YES – A hidden gem tucked away in the Melbourne CBD with delicious Asian fusion brunch menus
CHECK OUT CHARISMA WORKSHOP HERE: https://charismaworkshop.com.au/
2wofatgirls would like to thank Charisma Workshop for the invitation to dine – these opinions are strictly unbiased and were influenced in no way by the collaboration