Investment banker by day, gym junkie by night - but always a writer at heart.
Published July 15th 2014
An Asian Dessert Experience
Hidden away on Chatime premises on George Street is a dessert restaurant known as ZenQ, from the same parent company as Chatime. For those that are unaware, Chatime is a Taiwanese franchise that is popular for its sweet drinks, and the famous order of "milk tea with pearls".
The decor could be considered a little small and cramped but somehow it manages to be cosy without feeling too dingy. Tucked away in a little corner, the seats and lounge are often occupied by couples whose presence add to the cosy ambience.
While Chatime's focus on is drinks, ZenQ features a menu of desserts, many of which use the same ingredients as the toppings for Chatime's drinks. Pearls, grass jelly, fruit jelly, sago, fruit, mochi balls, and shaved ice are some of the typical dessert ingredients, a combination of which is very typical of a Taiwanese style dessert (as opposed to the more chocolate, cream, and pastry-based Western desserts).
However, if it were just the shaved ice and pearls, ZenQ would be very reminiscent of Meet Fresh which became popular a few years ago with its flagship store in China Town and other stores popping up in other suburbs following its success. Fortunately, ZenQ has a bit more to offer, including a house special called the "honey toast". It's essentially half a loaf of sweet, cake-like bread cut into strips where the loaf acts like a bowl to hold a mixture of ice cream, fruit, and various other toppings depending on which flavour you pick. The result is very unique and a bit closer to the western dessert palate than the other desserts on the menu.
The Asian desserts are more light and refreshing, with subtle flavours as opposed to heavy, sweet flavours (such as cream and syrup found in Western desserts). On a hot summer's day, it's worth checking the place out. Although the fancier desserts are a little costly by my standards (for an Asian dessert place), the simple fare is on the cheaper side and you can't really go wrong with the best sellers if you find yourself spoiled for choice.
There are currently three stores: 569 George Street, Sydney CBD (Opposite World Square)
Shop 223 Westfield, Chatswood (Entrance Via Victoria Avenue)
Shop 408B, Level 4, Macquarie Shopping Centre, North Ryde (Opposite Cinema)