4160 Main St., Vancouver, Canada
Nestled between hipster bars and boutique clothing stores on Main Street in Vancouver, the small and cozy dessert cafe, Sweet Revenge is hard to find, unless you’re looking for it. The ambiance is both charming and romantic, lit by oil lamps and baroque chandeliers, the tiny cafe is furnished with small wooden tables, couches, and decorated with tasseled velvet curtains and paisley wallpapered walls adorned with old framed pictures. It’s like eating cake at your grandmother’s house. Tea and coffee are served on delicate, patterned china with saucers and french presses.
My mango lemon herbal tea was perfectly sweet and soothing. Sweet enough so that I didn’t have to add sugar or honey, but not too sweet as to overpower my dessert. For dessert we ordered the white chocolate cheese cake and the crème brûlée. Both these items received rave reviews as was indicated by little happy face and thumbs-up icons printed beside them in the menu. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed by both of them. The cheesecake was served in a little saucer-sized dish and looked as if it was prepared in a fluted mini-mould, it didn’t have a crust but had a unique and not altogether unpleasant texture. The cake was grainy but thick. It was almost the stark opposite of a traditional New York cheesecake, which is smooth, rich with a hint of lemon and a sweet shortbread crust. Sweet Revenge’s white chocolate cheese cake definitely had a hint of white chocolate flavour, and the cake was dotted throughout with black vanilla bean seeds but the overall taste, texture and presentation was so far removed from a traditional cheese cake that it didn’t quite satisfy my cheese cake craving for the night.
I have to admit that the crème brûlée was a massive disappointment. Crème brûlée is a pretty hard dessert to screw up, especially if Sweet Revenge claims to be a critically acclaimed dessert cafe with regular line-ups on weekend nights. Their crème brûlée came in two flavours- raspberry and pear, which I thought was the first mistake. Crème brûlée is a classic dessert-rich custard topped with a hard, caramelized crust, why mess with something so simple and delicious? We chose the pear flavour, and to my dismay, the little ramekin of custard sported a very thin crust (it didn’t exactly make a snapping noise at the slam of my teaspoon, which obviously is a true test of a good crème brûlée), and was filled with extremely solidified, eggy custard as opposed to creamy, delicate custard. Also interestingly enough, there weren’t any vanilla bean seeds dotting the crème brûlée whereas their white chocolate cheese cake was heavily polka-dotted with vanilla bean seeds. It seems to me that they’re wasting precious vanilla bean pods on the wrong dessert.
Patrons at other tables seemed to be ordering the chocolate desserts though, so that’s probably what I will try if I return. I would visit Sweet Revenge again, the service was good. We weren’t rushed out of the cafe, and actually stayed for over an hour even though we only ordered a couple of items and a long line-up was forming at the door.