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Yes, I know it may be a bit dated now, but this place still feels like the future. It may be a kitsch, children’s game version of the future, just like ‘The Jetsons’, but still …the future.

And, in the future, food is not cheap. But then who can put a price on novelty?

But the food isn’t half bad. It’s priced along the lines of somewhere you’d go for a birthday or a bit of a treat.

I blame our expensive bill on the fact that ordering is just so dang fun. To order, there’s no need to hail a waitress, you just press the relevant buttons on your table top. Chocolate pork? Click. Cocktails? Click. It’s all a bit too easy (and fun).

The chocolate pork was a standout and made so much more fun by playing with all the fun clickable things on the table top. You can play battleships with the person opposite you, change the design that’s projected onto your tabletop (I like the snowflakes best), find out which bar the go to afterwards or watch the chefs in the kitchen. Hours of fun for the whole family (and no need to talk really). Just the kind of gimmicks that would work well on a first date.

But then it all went horribly wrong. They committed a big restaurant faux pas.The waitress told us we had to leave because they had another diner booked at our table. It’s my latest restaurant pet peeve.

I’d barely finished spooning my dessert (a lemongrass creme brulee) into my mouth when the waitress came over to tell us this. Despite the dessert being tasty, it was  a little predictable and not great enough to stop the evening being spoiled. The fun, relaxed mood of our otherwise otherwise lovely, very special occaison dinner was gone. I hope they’re not this rude in the future.

Verdict: Seven out of ten.

http://www.inamo-restaurant.com/menu-list.php?id=28

Inamo restaurant dessert

Inamo on Urbanspoon

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OK, so I picked this dessert based purely on its name. How can you resist the idea of a scrambled pancake?

Despite the Germans loving very literal names and menu descrpitions for their dishes, I keep stupidly expecting to be surprised by elaborate, exotic dishes. But, alas, they are what they say on the tin. ‘Chicken with potatoes’ is actually just chicken with boiled potatoes, ‘fish with pepper’ is just plain fish with pepper, and, lo and behold, ‘scrambled pancakes’ is just that: pancakes that have been scrambled.

That said, the pancakes had a small twist: raisins and a custardy sauce that weren’t described on the menu. And it was delicious. In an oh-my-god, I can’t eat anymore, stodgy German food way (nothing at all to do with the huge schnitzel I just had).

Scoffing food madly is never a good idea, but it’s an even worse idea when it’s severly dry meringue. Ten minutes before a Jose Gonzales gig,  I was just about to get the bill when I remembered the dessert I’d stupidly ordered at the same time as our starters. As I’m a bit obsessed with Eton mess at the moment, I thought I’d love this chain’s twist on it: Ipanema mess. But it was about as far south from a moist, gooey, delicious Eton mess as you could get.  It was like they’d bought a pack of near their use by date meringues in Tesco, shoved them in a glass and added a tiny bit of cream and treacle (meant to be guava) in the bottom third of the glass.

That’s a lot of digging before finding anything moist enough to actually put in your gob. The result? Two very scratchy dry throats without time for any liquid before our concert. Dang! Moral of the strory? Don’t scoff your food kids – especially if it is this dessert.

Las Iguanas on Urbanspoon

Returning to the place you grew up to find it all glammed up is a strange thing. Manly – where I grew up – has suddenly turned trendy, filling up with the sister bars and restaurants of cool, expensive city haunts. Hugos is one of these restaurants/ bars.

What made the whole experience even stranger (and  funnier) is that I went there with my dad. But to be honest, I couldn’t justify ordering anything other than thier pizza if I wasn’t with him. Yes, that’s cool and cashed up I am.

Just to make sure you know how seriously cool Hugos is, they don’t take bookings past midday. “Ahh, I’ll take midday then,” I said, trying to sound not bothered.

I was so excited about dessert that I just had a starter. And dessert didn’t dissapoint. Coming out looking like a chocolate conch shell on a square of sparkly, toffee and pistachio covered mousse, it looked like something to be admired rather than eaten. The combination was perfect – sweet but not overwhelmingly rich. Shame you need to be to eat here on a regular basis.

Dessert rating: eight out of ten.

http://www.hugos.com.au/

Hugos Manly on Urbanspoon

Before going to Gilgamesh I’d built it up in my mind as a gorgeous, dimly lit, blow-your-mind, special restaurant. Sure, I was mainly basing this on sightings of celebs there in the social pages of the paper and what a few friends had told me, but I was ready to be impressed. That’s why I chose to have my birthday dinner there with my special man.

So when we walked into a restaurant decked out like an Indonesian holiday resort – complete with palm trees bedazzled by fairy lights – we were both a bit shocked. Chic and posh? Not quite.

The Indonesian meets African meets Thai decorations made for interesting surrounds but looked a bit like the owner had just bought up the left overs from an exotic bric- a-brac sale.

Our Bali-style carved wooden table with metallic flower decorations sprinkled in (somewhat decaying) rose petals was a gorgeous backdrop for our food though.

I almost missed my dessert because I couldn’t stop staring at the winged, sphinx like bronze statues watching over us. When dessert came – a green tea creme brûlée and ice cream with toffee nut wafer – it was just as interesting as the decor, but worked a lot better. But  it still lacked any wow factor.

Unfortunately dessert was upstaged by a Pixie Lott lookalike walking in. Blinged up with huge fake glittery eyelashes, dark make up, 80s jumpsuit and an equally sparkling entourage, I couldn’t keep my eyes on my food. Hmm…maybe it really was her and Gilgamesh really is a celebrity hangout after all?

Las Iguanas on Urbanspoon

If I was a restaurant owner, I’m not sure i’d want to frame and display a review of my restaurant that said it was bleak. But then it kind of suits this quirky Latin American restaurant and its owner.

On the night we’re there, the straight talking, fun owner almost danced the dishes over to our table and told us he had his chefs serving food tonight so they could get experience of the ‘floor’. He was also sculling weird concoctions behind the bar. ‘So I have voice for tomorrow’, he said.

The review’s right though – the decor is a bit bleak. Its stark white walls with strange animal faces on them and tables in bright primary colours give the restaurant the feel of a preschool canteen.

When the dessert menu arrives after we’ve finished off a bottle of gorgeous Argentinian malbec red wine, I haven’t been so excited in a long time. I didn’t even recognise half of the menu – brilliant!

Steve even let me decide ‘what he wanted’ to order because he could see my excitement. I chose a Lulo parfait (who knows what a lulo is?) and alfajores (double decker Argentine cookies) with dolce de leche (caramel) cream and coffee ice cream because it reminded me of being in Argentina where I met my lovely boy, Steve (and also because I stuffed my face with them on long bus trips when i was there). Aww…

The desserts didn’t disappoint – they came out looking like artworks with huge decorative touches on top like a round sprially toffee disc on top of the parfait. And the alfajores and dolce de leche brought back memories of my fab trip to Argentina with every bite.

Dessert rating: Eight out of ten.

www.sabor.co.uk

Sabor on Urbanspoon

There are some restaurants that you go to expecting fairly ho-hum desserts. Awana restaurant was one of these. But after ‘ooh’ing and ‘ahh’ing over the unique flavours in the savoury dishes, I was wowed by both of their sweet menus.

The cocktails not only had cute names like ‘passion hedgehog’ and ‘goodbye my love’, but they came in unique cocktails glasses – my ‘blooming hibiscus’ with gin, lychee juice, lime juice and a yummy hibiscus flower, came in an ice cream cone style glass that sat inside a little bowl of ice. And it tasted amazing (anything with lychees and hibiscus flowers: my two favourite things, has me won over in a second though).

The dessert we chose – ‘kuih campur’ (desserts to share) – came out on a little tray looking like pretty little splotches of colour on an artist’s pallete. There were two of each mini pancakes, cakes and sorbets – one for each of us to try. Even Steve, who doesn’t usually like Malaysian desserts, was impressed. I loved the coconut-filled pancake, but the clear winners were the sorbets. I don’t normally rate sorbets, but these were bizarre and amazing at the same time. Who would have thought chilli and lemongrass could work as a sweet sorbet? Truly inspired!

My dessert rating: 8 out of 10.