2am: dessertbar – 21A Lorong Liput,
For the frequency with which I visit 2am:dessertbar, I don't blog about the place nearly enough. I could wax lyrical ad infinitum about the avant garde desserts presented so gorgeously that you can't bear to eat them and which blow your preconceptions of dessert archetypes to smithereens when you do. Chef Janice seems to specialise in taking the immutable and turning it on its head. The service is among the best I've experienced with a distinct personal touch that makes this über-chic joint ooze with warmth, something typically impossible. But as I said, 2am:dessertbar is anything but typical.
For a good overview of what they have to offer, I recommend the 4x4. A painstakingly crafted menu of 4 desserts, each paired with a wine that alters and amplifies; taking the wonderful into the realm of magical. Cab Fare: $12. Meal for two: $107.80. Experiencing untold pleasure: Priceless.
We started off with a delightful surprise of Yuzu and Paprika Chocolates, compliments of Chef Derrick. My dining partner's expression of combined bliss and wonderment pretty much sums up the combined effect of Yuzu and Chocolate with that floral citrus tang balancing smooth bitter chocolate. The 2 little lumps of gold did not even last long enough to be photographed. The bronze ore below is Paprika Chocolate, a first for me which threatens the supremacy of chilli chocolate in my book. The spice adds a robust smokiness and heat just shy of being too intense that accentuates the equally dominant chocolate flavours.
The first course on the menu was Purple, a violet and indigo caterpillar of sweet, rich purple potato purée, thick blackberry parfait, tangy fruits of the forest sorbet and leather lavender marshmallows that lap at the palate like creamy-crested waves of tranquillity.
The dessert's fruit and flower theme was upheld in the wine pairing of Kir Royale, a combination of 1+1=3 Cava Rosé and Crème de Cassis. The blackcurrant liquor gave the sparkling wine a dose of added character and a gorgeous, seductive finish.
Course number two was a sweet-savoury masterpiece called Popcorn. Various creamy mounds offered sporadic flashes of simple flavours like peanut butter and freshly toasted bread while a pile of crispy rubble turned out to be salty crumbled popcorn. Dill flowers were fragrant, herby bursts in the delightful tangle which was finally underwritten by a scoop of yuzu sorbet. If the individual elements were wonderful deconstructions of familiar food, having them all together smashes all notions previously held for a bewildering sensorial rush.
The pairing of Prophet's Rock Pinot Gris 2007 was a stabilizing juxtaposition. Amidst the beautiful chaos of Popcorn, its clean finish and ample acidity clears your head and sharpens the focus of your taste buds for yet another psychedelic high.
It was my friend's firm favourite but - to me - the jury's still out on the Vinegar Chocolate Table. Intense and sharp, the vinegar in the vinegar chocolate mousse totally eclipses all else for a lip-pursing, shiver-inducing experience. It grew a little cloying after the first few mouthfuls though. The crispy caramel morsels were pleasant albeit embedded in the mousse, as was the chocolate 'table' all that was under.
Paired with that is an equally sharp Tintoralba Garnacha Syrah 2007. Deliberately allowed to oxidise excessively, the wine balances a hair's breadth away from vinegar; complete with that potent, vinegary smell.
Compliments of Chef Derrick once again (Am I spoiled or what?) was a Trio of Sorbets. Apparently he notices the joy written plain on my face every time I tuck into his frozen creations. I've yet to find another lemon sorbet with acid and sugar in such perfect balance and ice crystals as fine as his, parting soft and smooth in each snowy mouthful. The blood orange balls were far less sour but with an intense floral note, it was utterly magnificent stuff. Even more intriguing was the grapefruit with its tart and bitter undertones; studded with what seemed like grapefruit marshmallows. It contrasted two different kinds of softness; that of yielding semi-solid sorbet and chewy, spongy sugary confection.
Finishing things off with a bang was my favourite of the quartet, Alpaco Chilli Chocolate - generously spiced chocolate with peanut butter and wheat ice cream. Scorching chilli padi heat renders taste buds tender and sensitive only to be summarily flooded by the sensorial overload of rich, dark chocolate. The rush you get likely outstrips that of strapping yourself to a rocket. For wimps, the lovely, creamy ice cream is always on hand to douse a chilli inferno. We couldn't restrain ourselves so the pic below is actually of a slightly eaten dessert!
This was paired with Valdivia Pedro Ximenez, a syrupy nectar that similarly threatens to overwhelm; this time with sugary intensity. Thick honeyed notes cling to the tongue for a lingering luxuriant finish.