Sunday, March 05, 2006

Review: Max Brenner

In the beginning, the Lord created chocolate, and he saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the dark, and it was better.

I think the only truly acceptable discrimination based on colour is in distinguishing between light and dark chocolate. No true chocolate-lover could ever admit a fondness for milk chocolate without risking immediate and vociferous condemnation and exclusion.

Max Brenner's chocolate bar, thankfully, is a good place for chocolate lovers. I'd always heard of it, but never quite knew where it was. I knew it was somewhere in the Esplanade, but as I'm hardly in the area, and never really ventured beyond the Concert Hall, it's not a place I'm terribly familiar with.

Nuts just take up the space where the chocolate ought to be.

Still, I'd a chocolate appointment to keep with Dawn, and we decided that Max Brenner would be the best place to get our chocolate fix. Supposedly started by some bald Israeli guy named Max, there are now outlets in Australia, Singapore and the United States.

Chocolate Bar

Now, there is a bar in Max Brenner, although I'm not entirely sure you can order alcoholic beverages from it. It just seems to be a counter for preparing snacks and drinks.


I really like the layout of Max Brenner. Everywhere you look evokes chocolate. From the dark wooden furniture, the muted, mellow lighting, and of course the row upon rows of chocolate products.

It's not that chocolate is a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. - Miranda Ingram

Max Brenner offers a whole range of chocolate eatables and beverages. I vaguely remember there being non-chocolate stuff, but honestly, who pays any attention to that?


Dawn had the very interestingly named Suckao ($6), which involves melting your own chocolate over a tealight candle and mixing it with some milk to make a lusciously rich chocolate drink. The drink gets its name from the fact that you have to suck it up through a thin metal straw. This is possibly the one thing you must order here, because it's really really good.

Hug Mug

I had a Venezuelan dark chocolate drink ($5), served in a "hug mug", because apparently you're supposed to cup it with both your hands, almost as if you're hugging it. Cute, if a little gimmicky. This was pretty good too, one of the more decent hot chocolates I've had in a while, though I didn't like the bits of chocolate at the dregs of the drink.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate. - Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers

And naturally I'm the latter option, as you can clearly see from Dawn's, ah, transcendental expression...


My one complaint though, is that service could do with some improvement. I stood at the entrance for a good minute and a half, in full view of the waitstaff, before someone approached me to ask me if they could help me. Apparently I'm not the only one who has complaints about service; see here, here and my comments. So be prepared for bad service if you're thinking of going, and I would recommend only ordering the smaller items like the Suckao and chocolate drinks, rather than the other items like the souffle or fondue, which have been the source of much unhappiness.

Max Brenner (Chill Out)
8 Raffles Avenue
Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6235 9556
Sun - Thurs: 12pm - 11pm
Fri - Sat: 12pm - 12am
Location: 3/5 (variable depending on your mode of transport)
Ambience: 4/5
Service: 1/5 (points deducted due to the plethora of complaints about bad service)
Food: 4.5/5 (how can chocolate be any less?)
Overall: Worth checking out if you have a chocolate tooth, but beware the bad service!.

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