Round-Up: The savoury in the sweet
Some of the boldest and weirdest desserts in town
Sweets are now rubbing shoulders with salty, spicy desserts, from mushroom cheesecakes to spinach brownies. Savoury elements—be it herbs and spices, dehydrated vegetables or cheese—in a conventionally sweet dish tease the palate, accentuate flavours and encourage innovation. A round-up of some savoury desserts at restaurants near you.
Olive, Cinnamon and Parmesan Cake with Honey and Berry Compote
Instead of the conventional flavours of chocolate, orange or vanilla, this dessert uses cheese, olives and cinnamon. The choice of Parmesan, with its fruity and nutty taste and high heat-resistance, was a no-brainer, says chef Pawan Bisht. At the same time, the sweet and spicy flavour of cinnamon combines really well with olives.
Junglee Billee, Mumbai; Rs400.
Chef Sanjana Patel is a big fan of a little heat in desserts. This one consists of warm dark chocolate gnocchi, chocolate brownie, chilli chocolate nitrogen rocks and a tropical sorbet. The sorbet, made of orange and passion fruit, is sweet and bitter all at once and offsets the warmth of the rich dark chocolate.
Bodega, Mumbai; Rs275.
Hummus Ice cream
Usually served with crisp lavash, the hummus ice cream—prepared before you with liquid nitrogen—incorporates the flavours of chickpea, tahini, fried garlic, milk and salt. But if you’re thinking the grainy texture of regular, be ready for a surprise: The ice cream is smooth and creamy.
Kulfi Ice Cream Sandwich
Reliving his favourite childhood memories, chef Girish Nayak came up with a saffron pistachio-flavoured kulfi sandwiched between a layer of red velvet cake and a shortbread cookie, served with a rose anglaise flavoured with betel leaf and chenna ice cream. He steeps the betel leaf in the anglaise on a low heat to enhance its unusual sweetness while tamping down its harsh bitterness.
Toast & Tonic, Bengaluru; Rs250.
Zucchini Cake with White Chocolate and Sesame Praline
Going beyond beetroot and pumpkin, chef Gauri Varma cuts and soaks zucchini in vinegar overnight and then pairs the spiced zucchini sponge cake with white chocolate and serves it with a dark caramel praline with sesame seeds. Melt in the mouth.
G’s Patisserie, Delhi; Rs170 per plate and Rs1,200 per kilogram.
White Chocolate Parfait
Chef Martin Kindleysides’ chocolate parfait is balanced out by a light beetroot sponge and a funky goat’s cheese ice cream, the savoury elements complementing the sweet white chocolate and the sharp raspberries. The earthy flavour of the beetroot adds a natural sweetness to the sponge.
Luna Nudo Gusta, Mumbai; Rs650.
A take on the regular Italian panna cotta, this is chef Rahis Khan’s offering to those who are not fond of very sweet dishes. He grinds the betel leaf to make a paste and adds it to the panna- cotta mixture, and serves it chilled with gulkand or rose petal jam.
The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, Delhi; Rs350.
Koliwada Banana with Crunchy Chivda
Inspired by the homemade sweets and snacks he had eaten during Diwali, chef Juliano Rodrigues gives the banana an interesting makeover. The whole banana is twisted with crunchy chivda, boondi and sugary puffed rice, bringing out sweet-tangy flavours, and served in a tall glass with a dash of liquor.
Café La’Ruche, Mumbai; Rs340.
Rocky Road with Mapled Bacon
Bacon makes everyone (okay, most non-vegetarians) happy, so chef Xerxes Bodhanwala adds it to his delightful Rocky Road: It comprises 55% dark chocolate brownie, marshmallow, orange biscotti, almond praline, mapled bacon—that is, bacon drizzled with maple syrup—rose petals, basil flowers, rocket flowers and mustard leaves. Every ingredient pairs beautifully with the other and the bacon doesn’t seem to overpower it despite the strong smoky flavour.
Red Fork, Bengaluru; Rs250.
Fresh Passion Fruit and Bacon Ice cream
This is chef Rana Gomes’ tribute to the many people who can eat bacon through the day. The ice cream consists of fresh passion-fruit pulp, bacon rashers, fresh basil and sabayon, served on a slice of salted caramel cake. The bacon and passion fruit complement each other, offering a great fruity, salty aftertaste.
Royal Orchid, Bengaluru; Rs300.