Wednesday, March 13, 2013

William Curley Dessert Bar

I have a particular interest in William Curley, as he shares my maiden name...William. Really though, I received a voucher good for two people to share the 'dessert bar experience' for my birthday last year, and I figured now was as good a time as any to cash it in! We went on Mother's Day weekend, because it isn't impossible that I will be a mother someday, after all...and I have a mother, so the holiday is really just so fitting for me.

After quite a trek around the London area (closed Circle line, boo!), we made it to the William Curley Patisserie in Belgravia, very near the Sloane Square tube station.

It was such a pretty cafe, with gentle, sparse jazzy music playing quietly. It really reminded me of visiting coffee shops and patisseries in Japan, specifically Tully's Coffee, which was quite the hangout spot for me and my husband. Honey lattes forever!

We had the option of either sitting at the bar and watching the desserts be assembled, or sitting at a table. We chose the table, but next time it might be fun to sit up at the bar and watch! The service was very friendly, and all the dishes were explained to us as they were brought out. No complaints at all for the atmosphere and for the staff, both were just perfect.

I didn't get a picture of our drinks, but included in the £20pp for the dessert bar is a choice of a non-alcoholic drink. I got the hot chocolate that had hazelnut, and it was delicious. Thick, not served boiling hot (personal pet peeve, so glad that I could drink it soon after it arrived!) and tasting very much of dark chocolate and hazelnut. Not too milky or dully sweet, it was unmistakably high quality chocolate. My desserting companion got the caramelized sesame and miso milkshake, and my sip was quite nice. Can't say I tasted much miso, probably thankfully, but the sesame was nicely nutty and sweet.
The four course dessert set started off with a champagne granita, which is a bit wasted on me as I hate champagne. I really liked the icy texture, it was a bit more like a jagged/irregular snow cone, but champagne as a flavor just does nothing for me. I think it was a nice champagne? It was a good start though, very refreshing in the iciness!
The granita was shortly followed by a cherry blossom panna cotta with a cherry compote. There were little redcurrants on the top, too. The panna cotta was creamy and perfectly cooked, set firmly and not too squishy and jiggly. The cherry blossom flavor was quite delicate, a mix of tea and light cherry. The cherry compote on the bottom was a good balance of sour and sweet, and eating the two together really upped the cherry taste (as you might guess, ha) but also I was surprised by how much I could still taste the tea flavor from the cherry blossom. I think I'd still suggest eating them separately, so you can really experience the delicate taste of the panna cotta by itself.
After that came what I would call the dinner of the dessert menu, the pain perdu with caramelized apples, raisins, and cinnamon ice cream. Pain perdu, or as you might know it, french toast, is bread fried in a sort of custard mix usually topped with something delicious. This one is no different, custard-y spongy bread soaked with caramel sauce, topped with rum raisins and caramelized apples. Did I mention a side of cinnamon ice cream?
This was one of the tastiest desserts I've ever had, and that's saying something, because I have eaten more varied desserts in 20-odd years than many people have eaten in their entire lifetimes. Those people probably don't like dessert that much, granted, but I'm just sayin', I know dessert. The cinnamon ice cream was perfect sweet cinnamon, not overly sugary like a 'cinnamon bun' flavored ice cream, or too hot and spicy like someone's couture ice cream who is trying to make a name for themselves...Just right. Mixed with some caramel sauce, an apple chunk, and some was like the most perfect apple cobbler a la mode, ever. The only shame is that the dessert menu changes pretty regularly, so you might not get the chance to try this one. I'd ask while booking if they'll be doing a pain perdu, for real. It was just right, all around. Easily the best dessert I've ever had that featured both apples and raisins.
The final dessert, the dessert of desserts if you will, was unsurprisingly the sweetest and most traditional of them all. Chocolate millie feuille with orange vanilla sauce and orange and yogurt ice cream. Everybody loves chocolate orange! The millie feuille is pretty nice, there was a thin slice of chocolate on top, chocolate mousse underneath, and two layers of crunch, one nutty and one not. It was high quality chocolate, but I'm not crazy for mousse and the crunchy layers kind of overpowered the rest of the millie feuille. The ice cream, however, was amazing--the real star of this plate's show! It was tangy and naturally orange flavored, kind of like a clementine rather than an orange, as it was a sweeter citrus taste. The yogurt came through, but it didn't taste like a frozen yogurt, which can be a bit sour, it tasted like a creamy, whole milk kind of yogurt. Reminded me a bit of a Dreamsicle. I loved it!
The final course were petite fours: a raspberry marshmallow, rosemary and olive oil chocolate, and a blueberry and cream tart. The raspberry marshmallow was super, springy and juicy tasting. I always say I don't like marshmallows, but then I have one like this and remember how nice they can be. The blueberry tart was a bit strange, just because the blueberries themselves tasted kinda like tomatoes! The weren't very sweet, but they also weren't that tart, they were just kind of wet and a tomato. The cream or custard was okay, it was like the sort of tart innards you get in any kind of traditional fruit tart. Pastry shell was fine, a bit basic. The rosemary and olive oil chocolate was quite good, it didn't taste particularly savory, it was a lot more like a brownie made with olive oil rather than a an accidental dose of rosemary in some chocolate. I liked that, though--sometimes chocolates made with savory ingredients are just terrible, rather than challenging and unconventional, haha. It was nice to have one that erred on the side of chocolate rather than a ganache that is weird for weird's sake.

Speaking of the chocolates, after our dessert bar experience we bought a box to split! I'll review those later, but I can tell you that they were quite nice, particularly the black vinegar ganache. I'm certainly looking forward to returning to William Curley!

No comments:

Post a Comment