Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pierre Roelofs Presents His 200th Dessert @ Cafe Rosamond, Fitzroy.

Q: What's more awesome:
  1. Cafe Rosamond, a tiny cafe (one or two chairs short of twenty seats), hosting dessert-only evenings each Thursday; 
  2. The thirty-strong queue of professionals, families, uni students, foodies, curious passers-by and obligatory hipsters all waiting patiently, half an hour before doors open;
  3. Indulging in a dessert degustation created by Pierre Roelofs, genius and champion of molecular gastronomy meets dessert.
A: All of the above. (Trick question! Saaaah sneaky.)

Sibling and I ventured to Fitzroy tonight to celebrate Pierre Roelof's 200th original dish - pretty mindblowing given how intricate, complex and thoughtful these desserts are. But then again, having a menu that changes every week must lead to reaching such milestones pretty quickly. G and I decided on the three course degustation ($40) and a 'dessert tube' ($9), which seemed to be the natural (and pretty obvious) choice.

The 'dessert tube' arrived first, a la amuse bouche. One end of the tube was dipped in a beaker of hot water before sucking on the other end, causing the contents to slip smoothly into one's mouth in a single, astonishing and delicious motion.

'Malteser' was tonight's tube (a personal vice of mine) and consisted of a series of three separate sensations which then combined to form one stupefyingly good taste explosion. There was a custard layer, a malt-based layer, which tasted exactly like the middle of the Malteser, and a chocolatey jelly layer. Just as Willy Wonka would have had it.

Each of the desserts were described by the main components, and the first dish was presented as 'pandan, maple, pumpkin and walnut'.

The pandan consisted of a large cube of chewy, dense cake; the pumpkin presented as small blocks of sweet sorbet (reminiscent of corn/sweet potato ice-cream bars in Asian grocery stores) and thin sheets of pure pumpkin flavour. Small heaps of maple infused walnut rubble and a maple gel rounded off the dish.

The second dessert - the 200th dish (!) - was probably my favourite, and reminded me of a gastronomified Eton Mess. Key components in this plate were 'mango sorbet, turkish delight, cider vinegar meringue, berry compote and honey cream'.

Everything was so moreish - the subtle flavour of the honey courted the sour berry compote and the sticky sweetness of the turkish delight perfectly, while the cubes of creamy mango sorbet provided an extra 'cool factor' (har har) to the dish. The cider vinegar meringues were really bizarre - the texture was just like a meringue, but the sharp flavour didn't really hit until after the meringue had dissolved. I was definitely guilty of scraping my spoon around the glass to gather the last skerricks of  mango/berry/cream.

The last dish was presented as 'mandarin, beetroot, white chocolate and coconut'. So pretty!

The beetroot made three appearances - as meringues (crisp, sweet and caramelised), as cubes (a little too subtle for my palate) and as a gel/cream. I was surprised to find how well the beetroot and white chocolate matched!

An excellent expedition, as evidenced by plates/glasses/bowls licked clean. All those gels, foams, cubes, wafers and frozen bits might not be the first thing that springs to mind with 'dessert', but not every dessert has you gasping at its beauty, laughing as you encounter pop rocks and exclaiming as your tastebuds get pleasantly screwed over. Go on, do it!

Tip: Go early (fifteen/twenty minutes before seven) to nab yourself a table straightaway or a later sitting post-Smith-Street-dinner. Sittings are limited and the cafe is small, so arriving late might mean missing out!

Thursday Evenings with Pierre Roelofs (7-11pm)
Cafe Rosamond
191 Smith Street, Corner Charles Street
Fitzroy, 3065.

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