Passionflower Report

2/168-174 Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Sun-Thu: 10am-Midnight
Fri-Sat: 10am-1am

Late last year, a friend of mine told me about Passionflower opening in the CBD with flavours like Thai milk tea, black sesame and azuki red bean… mmmm what beautiful sounding flavours! This would be Melbourne’s flagship store, cleverly situated in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD close to Chinatown. And just like the original store in Sydney, Passionflower in Melbourne quickly became hugely successful. Every time I grabbed an ice cream from here, even in winter, all the tables were always full and there’s always a queue for takeaway ice cream.
I sought to compile a tasting-list of all the flavours I wanted to try here. Took me 9 months to complete it. Partly because some of the flavours I had weren’t enjoyable, and partly because I don’t venture into the CBD that often. But here it is, my Passionflower Report at last!

I’ll tell everybody now that I don’t do sundaes. I like my ice cream just as it is, in big big scoops, sitting on a waffle cone. That’s why I love Jock’s Ice Creams and Sorbets in Albert Park so much, the scoops are generously big and the flavours very satisfying. At Passionflower, you can sit down and try a number of really indulgent sundaes, but this report will not be covering that. I’m certain there are many other dessert freaksenthusiasts who have already covered this territory.

I find it easier just waltzing in and grabbing my usual two-scoop waffle cone. Most of the time, I find myself getting the “premium flavours”, which costs $0.50 more per scoop.
Here’s a summary of the flavours that I’ve tried at Passionflower, it’s quite candid because I simply keyed them into my iPhone notes each time I had a cone. A few phrases had to be modified because they were politically incorrect when I wrote them and shouldn’t be published.
Avocado – Tasted like rancid butter, threw out
Azuki Red Bean – Nice
Black Sesame – Too subtle, Lix Gelato better
Coconut – Had a funny smell
Durian – Fail. Tasted artificial, like a cheap tub of Walls ice-cream from Singapore
Jackfruit – Fail —> artificial
Pandan – Not bad, coconutty and lightly fragrant
Taro – Subtle but pretty good!
Thai Milk Tea – Very very good, faultless!
Taro, Thai Milk Tea
This was my first Passionflower cone that I had 9 months ago. Sorry for the over-saturated iPhone picture. To date, this was my favourite flavour combination. Remember how I like my teh peng (iced milk teas) strongly brewed, tannic and milky? Well, this is exactly that, but in ice-cream format! I also very much enjoyed the taste of the taro flavour.
 Sticky Rice, Green Tea
Someone else had this, judging by the cuffs in the pic, I think it’s Ees. I don’t recall him gushing about these flavours, but think he preferred the sticky rice. So why is he seeing a white boy then?

Avocado, Black Sesame
Maybe it’s my palate, but I thought the avocado tasted rancid. I actually plucked it off with my fingers and threw it out!! The black sesame was okay, just wished the aroma was more out there. I preferred Lix Gelato’s black sesame, it’s darker and more fragrant.
Coconut, Taro
I had trouble finishing the coconut flavour. It had a slightly unpleasant smell, like how coconut oil goes bad when it’s been left festering in the bottle for too long. And as you can see, I had the taro yet again, mmmmm…
Azuki Red Bean, Pandan
I had this a three weeks ago. Yes, in the heart of winter!! Quite enjoyed the azuki red bean, reminds me of the red bean ice cream served in colourful sandwiches back home. Pandan also wasn’t too bad, mild fragrance with a mild taste of coconut milk.
To sum it up, the flavours here are a little hit and miss, so you need to know which ones to get. Personally speaking, I’d rather patronise Jock’s in Albert Park or Fritz Gelato. My favourites at Passionflower would have to be Thai Milk Tea, Taro and Azuki Red Bean. They’re all premium flavours and cost $7.00 for a not-that-big two scoop cone. Pricey for some, but if the ice-cream is good, I’ll take it. Aaaaah… the things I do just to get Asian flavours…
Update Aug 2011:
I’ve finally had a sit-down dessert here a few weeks ago and sadly, it wasn’t a good experience. It felt like there were ‘hidden’ charges here, there and everywhere. Service was perfunctory, borderline rude even. There’s a minimum $10 spend per person. And there was a puzzling laminated note on every table telling us that any desserts with strawberries and mangoes in it will incur a $2.20 extra charge.
The four of us shared a 6-scoop platter. When ordering, we were told that any flavours that were premium will be charged $1 extra per scoop. That extra charge wasn’t clearly stated on the menu, it was only menitoned on the last page. This brought the price of 6 scoops of ice cream to nearly $40!! And the scoops were once again small and the accompanying ingredients underwhelming.
Fakegf has also had dessert here and tells me that if you order tea, they will charge extra if you ask for a second round of hot water to be added to the pot. She won’t be in a hurry to revisit, and neither will I. This isn’t how a business should be run.
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