Max Brenner, Shop 10, 39 Hercules Street, Portside Wharf, ph: 0732682188Date of Review: 7 October 2012
After an extensive walk in the wetlands one Sunday afternoon, we were well and truly ready to indulge in some chocolate! And indulge we did. The Max Brenner chain has now arrived at Portside and I was keen to see how this one compared with its South Bank counterpart. Being a chain, the same glossy polished wood surroundings greeted us at the door, accompanied by the sickly sweet aroma of melted chocolate. With a greater range of indoor and outdoor seating than the South Bank one, as well as its signature giftware part, any apprehension was quickly discarded, but originality was obviously left behind.
Although the menu is extensive, it does not specify which dishes or drinks are gluten-free - but instead has a catch-all caveat, that none of the meals can be guaranteed to be gluten-free. This fails to provide comfort. After questioning the wait staff, I discover that Max Brenner has its own list of foods/drinks which contain gluten and dairy amongst others. It is just inconveniently located behind the counter, so we can't see it! Happiness is fleeting however, as I discover that aside from the chocolate melting pots and fondue, not much else is gluten-free. I decide on the Mexican hot chocolate. When it comes out, my spirits soar. The presentation is beautiful and the serving large. The first sip bites. The chilli is semi-overpowering but the drink itself is just luke-warm. The liquid is smooth and creamy though and pretty addictive.
The staff were helpful after I explained my dietary requirements and after the list was produced. Service was quite prompt. But admittedly there were not many people.
The drinks menu was reasonably priced for the serving, although for the range of desserts available, I think these were overpriced.
The rich glossiness of the dark wooden tables masked any spills or crumbs.
TOTAL SCORE: 38/50 or 76%