On the 5 days of the week when Londoners are not starving themselves on a diet of one sardine and a celery stick (aka the 5:2 diet), it appears we have an uber-crush on desserts.
Dessert bars and pop-ups have become something of a ‘thing’ lately. At the same time (who is the chicken and who is the egg?) we’ve all become reacquainted with our old friends the Baked Alaskas and Saucy Puds thanks to the latest series of Great British Bake Off. It appears we can’t get quite enough of the sweet stuff.
All this in the face of a daily barrage by authority figures telling us we’re just Fatty-Boom-Bahs with rotting teeth. Do I smell rebellion in the air? If you’re planning on joining the Revolution, here’s five things you should definitely know:
1. When Desserts ‘Work’
What makes a Great dessert? I don’t mean a really nice bit of cheesecake or a particularly fudgey chocolate brownie, I mean a proper ‘blow-your-mind’ alchemic explosion. Where the textures and flavours and aromas on the plate play havoc with your nervous system and give you a wee tingle.
The dessert that’s perched at the top of my pud pedestal is James Knappett’s “Beetroot, Liquorice & Sour Cream”. James, of Bubbledogs Kitchentable fame has it all going on in this earthy, tangy, fresh, zingy dessert where every component pulls it’s weight, but where the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. The beetroot cake is warm and fudgey in the middle, but crunchy on the outside, the sorbet is sweet but earthy, the beetroot meringue crumbs are feathery light and the liquorice icecream swirls the dish together with its big, creamy, enveloping arms. That’s what happens when desserts ‘work’.
2. Here. Now: The Pudding Bar
Launched in July this year, The Pudding Bar serves six desserts and a cheese board. That’s it. Nada mas. Oh there’s the obligatory beverages too, but as far as solid food offerings go, your choice is six gorgeous, playful, clever desserts, priced between £6 and £8. Current fave is the Blueberry and cinnamon baked alaska with fresh blueberries and elderfower gel. To. Die. For. Head chef Laura Hallwood, knows her way around a pud, having trained in Gordon Ramsay’s stables.
The Pudding Bar
26 Greek St
3. All About Honeycomb
Honeycomb is something of a vixen in the world of desserts. She makes your dowdy pud glitter and shimmy in the after dinner candlelight glow. She’s the elegant woman ‘of a certain age’, enrobed in a black stole. If you’re going to attempt to impress dinner party guests you need her by your side. Crushed over flourless chocolate cake, folded through ginger icecream, standing regally in shards atop feta and lemon cheesecake, she will transform any dessert. And for all her showyness, she’s amazingly easy to make. Have a very quick squizz at my Honeycomb Recipe here, you’ll know what I mean.
4. Get Ready: Basement Sate
At the time of penning this post the newest ‘Dessert Bar’ were polishing off their choux buns and whipping a frenzy of meringue to meet their opening deadline of early September. We have big hopes for sugar highs, but watch this space. Review to come. If you’d like to check it out in an ‘unendorsed’ sense, feel free to let us know what you think. Details below:
8 Broadwick St,
Soho, W1F 8HN
5. Dessert Does Not Come Last
Here are a few places you might like to try where dessert is not an afterthought. A big deal is made of sweet things at:
Pollen Street Social Dessert Bar
8/10 Pollen Street,
William Curley Dessert Bar
198 Ebury St,
And if you just want to stuff your face in the privacy of your own home, try:
La Patisserie Des Reves
43 Marylebone High Street,