I’ve been to a lot of restaurants where you can tell the dessert menu is an afterthought. They’re generally the ones with a crowd-pleasing chocolate dish and some fruit based thing to appease those watching their figures but as disappointing as this can be, I’d rather boring than bad. As long as that chocolate brownie is gooey or your crumble has the right fruit to crumb ratio, I’ll forgive your lack of originality. I guess they are smart enough to know they only need to meet the minimum requirements to satisfy those schmucks out there who’ll eat anything to end on a sweet note. Schmucks like me. I’ve been burned before, I’ve eaten at enough restaurants, I should know better but even when I do smell a rat, the devil that is my sweet tooth just takes over and orders anyway. I know, I have willpower issues, is there a group for this?!
A friend once asked, with a slightly disgusted glint in her eye, whether we ate pudding every night because that would just be outrageous right? Well at the time I was shamed into denying it, ‘oh no, of course not, maybe just once a week’ but of course that’s a big fat lie with a quenelle of ice cream on the side. Sorry pudding-police, t’s more like several nights a week. However on Sunday I pushed myself further, not just one dessert but five, in one sitting, oh yes the things I do for my craft! With a couple of sweet toothed friends in tow, I skipped the main and went straight for desserts at Happy Endings Presents a Month of Sundaes at POND Dalston.
Greeted with a far too drinkable gin slushy, followed by an amuse bouche of vanilla creme anglaise with cacao nib praline, we’d barely started and I was already thinking skipping the savoury and going straight to the sweets was something I could get used to! Looking through the menu, the theme for this Sunday seemed to be classic desserts but with the Fraise Sauvage twist… All wonderfully paired with wines selected by Kirsty Tinkler from Weino.
Pumpkin beignets, pumpkin cremeux, white chocolate and yoghurt foam, ginger beer sorbet, white chocolate dust, paired with Camillo Donati, Malvasia Secco, 2012 Italy.
She’ll Be Apples
Apple tarte tatin, poached apples, liquid puff pastry and bay leaf ice cream, paired with Domaine Josmeyer, Fleur de Lotus, NV, France.
Strawberry Sunshine Sundae
Strawberry parfait, sweetcorn ice cream, fresh strawberries, Chantilly cream, Mexican corn cake, salted caramel popcorn, paired with Chateau Le Coste, Coteaux D’Aix En Provence, ‘Bellugue’, 2013 France.
Dark and Stormy
Dark caramel mousse, bitter chocolate, Pedro Ximenez drunken raisins, pecan crunch, paired with Bodega Barnarbe Navarro, Ramblis Dulce, 2011 Spain.
Blood orange and olive oil madeleines served with Assam tea and milk.
If you’re thinking I left on a sugar high and with the first signs of a toothache, you’d be wrong. Everything on each plate had a flavour and served a purpose; sweet elements were balanced with savoury, while bursts of freshness cut through the decadently rich bits. I loved the ginger beer sorbet with the Hello Pumpkin beignets, the drunken raisins gave the Dark and Stormy mousse an interesting taste and texture, and those Lovely Magdelena madeleines were definitely lovely but also boldly sharp.
I thought the most interesting course was the Strawberry Sunshine Sundae because of the sweetcorn ice cream and corn cake; these additions don’t sound like they belong but I soon found myself digging around hoping for more bits of the cake! But ultimately my favourite course was She’ll Be Apples; that tarte tatin was sticky and sweet as it should be but the clever pairing with the mildly savoury bay leaf ice cream and those bright bursts of apple stopped it from being sickly. Didn’t I tell you they were classics with a twist?
Happy Endings is the brainchild of pastry chef Terri Mercieca, a pretty talented lady who is modest to boot. We enjoyed chatting with Terri at the end of the night about how she devises the menus and more importantly, what she’s lined up next because we most definitely want in! There are two more Sundays for you to find your Happy Ending… So go on, live a little… Don’t just have five puddings in one week, have them all in one night!
Happy Endings Presents A Month of Sundaes is on 19 and 26 April 2015 at POND Dalston, 3 Gillet Street N16 8JH, tickets are £40 or £55 with matched wines. Buy your tickets here.