Clamps and Bec continued our vegan Springvale tour with a stop at Dessert 1st. My subsequent googling has revealed that this Asian dessert cafe was set up by Sheryl of Cupcake Central fame, in partnership with her mum. (Its online presence rates barely a blip after its 2012 opening so I don't know if they're still running it.)
It's a teen dream hang-out, crammed with posters, piping pop music and selling myriad permutations of cheap coloured sugar - mix'n'match drinks and bowls of dumplings, puddings, pearls and jellies, ices, beans and fruit. The walls show posters of pancakes and other fritters not mentioned in the laminated menu, so it's worth sitting and staring in bewilderment a while and working out what you're most in the mood for. There aren't any dietary labels, so double-check that your choice fits your needs at the counter.
Clamps and Bec shared a cute pastel bowl of mixed puddings and tapioca pearls ($5.50), Michael slurped a milk-based Thai iced coffee ($3), and I picked Tangyuan ($5) from the posters (pictured top). These glutinous rice balls were stuffed with sweet black sesame and served in a warm syrup of ginger and rock sugar, sprinkled with white sesame seeds - prime winter comfort food.
Service was friendly but haphazard, just fine for a casual cafe. We weren't surprised by the charting RnB tunes the staff chose until they shifted to uncensored R. Kelly - an artist with an abusive history and very explicit lyrics. It was an unsavoury accompaniment to otherwise excellent mid-afternoon desserts.
35C Buckingham Ave, Springvale
partial dessert menu, drinks menu
(barely updated) facebook page
Accessibility: I think Dessert 1st has a flat entry; it's very crowded inside. I ordered and paid at a low counter; drinks were picked up from a high counter and desserts were served to our table. We didn't visit the toilets.