One of the hardest parts of my new diet and exercise regime has been giving up dairy. There’s no doubt that I’ve reaped the benefits of reducing the amount of dairy in my diet in that I have clearer skin and less digestive discomfort, but I have missed the ice-creams, milkshakes, yoghurts and creamy sauces that I love so much. Giving up yoghurt was the worst. There was a time when I would go with some colleagues at least once a week to get some frozen yoghurt as a 3pm afternoon pick-me-up, and to give up that luxury was really difficult.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that pure deprivation never works. You end up craving the very thing that you’re trying to cut out, and inevitably end up overindulging in a moment of weakness. So, when Mooberry Dessert and Breakfast Bar in Neutral Bay contacted me and asked me if I wanted to visit them for a special tasting, I only hesitated for a second before I agreed. One hit of sweet dairy goodness to satiate my cravings before I went back to my dairy-free lifestyle!
K and I show up a little bit early and take a seat while we wait to speak with Jamie, the manager of Mooberry Neutral Bay. While we wait, we have a look at the menu, and I’m very impressed by the offering. I’d always thought of Mooberry strictly as a frozen yoghurt shop, but the menu has a good range of alternative desserts (waffles, crepes and more) and some savoury breakfast-style menu items as well.
This diversification makes a lot of strategic sense, as broadening their range means that they’re less likely to fall when the Sydney frozen yoghurt bubble finally bursts. Jamie has had a hand in this – as a trained chef, he knows how to shape a menu to suit all tastes!
I’ve had frozen yoghurt at a lot of places before (the one near my work is a self-serve, pay-by-weight system), but I must say that I’m most impressed with Mooberry’s frozen yoghurt system. Rather than mixing flavours yourself and choosing toppings that don’t suit, the staff at Mooberry are more than happy to recommend toppings that work well with particular flavours – with the benefit of paying no more than $1 for toppings, no matter how many you choose!
Keen to try the crowd favourites, we ask Jamie to surprise us with the frozen yoghurt selection…and it certainly comes up trumps!
He gives us the salted caramel, the most popular flavour in their Neutral Bay store. It’s topped with chunks of Tim Tams, Maltesers, and M&Ms, and is very much a sweet chocolate-y dessert hit. What I like though, is that though the toppings are quite sweet, the salted caramel yoghurt itself isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, which helps to neutralise the toppings to a certain degree.
The passionfruit frozen yoghurt is very tart, especially when given the double treatment with passionfruit pulp on top as well. It’s very reminiscent of Greek yoghurt rather than sweetened yoghurt, so the sweetness of the strawberries that we choose as a topping really helps to balance that tartness.
We decide to take our seat up on the third/top level of the cafe, with seats at the window overlooking Military Road. It’s the perfect spot to people-watch on a sunny day. The top level is very family-friendly – with a lot of low tables and overturned milk crates as stools, it’s a perfect spot for a family to bring their kids for an afternoon treat. And indeed while we were there, two families showed up with a handful of kids who each got a little cup of frozen yoghurt for a treat.
The next items on our trial was the hot chocolate, and the special salted caramel hot chocolate. There wasn’t too much difference between the two, with only a slightly more intense sugary sweetness to the salted caramel and very little saltiness. Both hot chocolates leaned more towards milkiness than chocolatiness – a better option for those who prefer less tooth-achingly sweet hot drinks.
Our last dish of the day, the waffles come served with fresh strawberries and a banana. Drizzled with both milk and dark chocolate on top, it’s equal parts decadent and virtuous. While the waffle can be quite thick with a heavy mouth-feel, the mini serve of plain frozen yoghurt on the side works as a wonderful palate cleanser.
The best thing about Mooberry Neutral Bay is the extensive menu. While we tried exclusively sweet and dairy-based items on our tasting afternoon, they have many more options that can suit even those who choose to eat dairy-free. I’ll be back for dessert with friends the next time I’m in Neutral Bay, perhaps even honouring my dairy-free pledge by choosing a dairy-free dessert crepe.