- Syphon Coffee
- Ice Matcha
- Baked Eggs
- Confit Duck Leg
- Earl Grey & Blackcurrant Dome
- Cream Brûlée Tart
There’s no doubt the highlight of our meal were the drinks. It was our first attempt at Syphon Coffee, and the astonishing brewing theatrics were definitely overshadowed by the delicate taste of the brew itself. The lightly flavoured cup of black coffee aroma was subtle though every-present, allowing you to truly appreciate the quality of the bean. With a lightly fruity, not overly bitter and slightly acidic taste, this Ethiopian Veneziano bean was in a world of it’s own.
The Ice Matcha was also very enjoyable, with a brilliant, forward matcha flavour that was accompanied by a rich and creamy sensation. Well balanced in sweetness, this cold drink was finished in no time.
The Baked Eggs came out piping hot and looked rather impressive. The sweetened tomato sauce was liberally applied, and generously coated a dish filled with sweet, roasted veggies including pumpkin, capsicum and slices of eggplant. The chunks of grilled halloumi scattered throughout added depth in flavour as well as a hint of meaty sensation, which was well contested by the fresh leaves of rocket sitting on top. The saddest part of the dish though would be those polenta chips, which were minuscule, dense, and very undercooked.
We found the Confit Duck Leg enjoyable, though the dish overall felt incoherent thanks to the three very distinct components. The sautéed mushrooms were rather standard, and could’ve done with more herbs and butter, while the salad was fresh though needed a more tangy dressing. The duck itself was pleasant, protein was just soft enough with a delicate crispy skin. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite taste the coffee red wine reduction amongst all the components and also struggled to find any tomato marshmallows and pamasean.
Front and centre of the cafe stood a display cabinet showcasing the housemade sweets, and they were a must try according to owner Matthew. We settled on the Earl Grey & Blackcurrant Dome as well as the Cream Brûlée as they both looked absolutely stunning. Unfortunately the taste failed to impress.
We found the caramel mousse within the Cream Brûlée to be overpowering in bitterness, without an appropriate amount of sweetness to balance out the flavours. Though the chocolate sponge sitting at the bottom was definitely pleasant.
Within the Earl Grey & Blackcurrant Dome, the beautiful Earl Grey flavour we were looking for was also noticeably lacking, while the hint of Blackcurrant wasn’t quite sufficient to make the dessert sweet not appetising enough.
Charisma Workshop is a newly established cafe that’s definitely ambitious in what it sets out to achieve. With an untrained head chef and owner at the helm, there are definitely more than a few wrinkles to iron out before their house made treats will truly take centre stage.
However, their unique and extensive drinks menu offered up a very enjoyable experience, and will definitely not disappoint for sure.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
To make its mark on Melbourne’s ultra-competitive cafe scene, there’s evidently still much work to be done for Charimsa Workshop.
Penguineats was invited to dine at Charisma Workshop.