This sandwich shop is supposed to be modeled after a Parisian cafe and the chocolate lounge on the first floor Maple Leaf-after a Parisian chocolate shop. But sadly.....The sandwiches are OK at best and the cafe is filled with the usual line up of gelatinous desserts!
Chennai-yil Chocolate lounge-a??? For a Chocolate-paithiyam, this was a call from the holy land! My feasting companion was an ever-hungry teenager who could help me take a serious bite out of this place!
Upon entrance I expected to be greeted and enveloped by the rich, warm aroma of chocolate. But, this olfactory welcome which is characteristic of any bakery or chocolate shop boasting of making its own confectionery and pastry was strangely absent!!! As a result, the lounge appeared stark and soul-less and the white interiors rob the place of any warmth.
The simple plates of chocolates with their descriptions were easy to pick and choose from. The line up of flavors for the enrobed and molded chocolates was quite impressive ranging from the common vanilla to exotic passion fruit. So, as you can imagine we went berserk! We picked one from each flavor to be boxed and taken home and being fastidious-I made sure I wrote down the flavors beside the pertinent chocolate.
Then we decided to try out their desserts. I picked the Chocolate Walnut Fudge-which is actually a Brownie. Why? You ask. Simple. I love brownies. They are the easiest to make in the world of baking. After all, they were accidentally discovered by a careless baker in the kitchen! The lady at the counter heated up my slab of brownie in the microwave, which can be an advantage or a prelude to a flop show depending on the moisture content in your brownie. In this case sadly it was a flop show. The brownie was SO DRY that she could have just crumpled it and served it as something quixotic like chocolate upma!!! And the walnuts-where were they????
Two strikes, we decided to take off with our box of chocolates. At home as my family members congregated around the box of chocolates each was given the task of sampling one and trying to guess its flavor. Well, all the fruit flavors were so indistinguishable much to my disappointment. The twang of the Passion fruit and the sumptuousness of Alphonso were absent! Of course, the crunch of the nuts in certain chocolate centers gave away their flavor. The one and only flavor that managed to stand out boldly for instant recognition was the Cardamom flavored ganache enrobed in dark chocolate. The Zing of the cardamom clearly came through and was an intensely enjoyable experience on the palate.
All the praise from the local press that covered Mr. Mahadevans new venture-makes me wonder whether they all actually tasted, savored any of the stores offerings or just collected their press kits with free samples. Gratitude and novelty can win over the impetuous press but chocolate-paithiyams are more difficult.
I suggest you dont take anyone who is serious about their chocolate to Maple Leaf.