Just Desserts was about sugar and spice and all things nice at Sydney’s Establishment bar. The event is another wonderful addition to the March Into Merivale calendar. It also gave guests the chance to sample desserts from the Merivale group’s flagship eateries including the Asian fusion restaurants Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s; the much-loved Ivy favourite, Lorraine’s Patisserie; Merivale’s own functions and events centre; the contemporary Australian cuisine of Bistrode CBD; and the elegant, fine dining of est.
The tickets to Just Desserts cost $45 and this gave the ticketholder six tokens. The desserts all cost one token each (and it takes some effort to devote all of your tokens to just the food) while the drinks ranged from one to two tokens each. The bar was filled to bursting point with stands for the six Merivale kitchens represented here. At times the scenes were a tad chaotic but this added energy and fun to the atmosphere. And full points should be given to the chefs and their helpers who prepared things swiftly and efficiently (their collective experience in commercial kitchens shone through and contributed to the smooth execution and overall success of it all).
Lorraine’s Patisserie was a very busy stall. This may have been due to a lot of people wanting a slice of the big apple, except that this meant Lorraine’s New York cheesecake (one token). This set the bar as high as the empire state building as it was a white delight. It boasted a soft and fluffy cream cheese filling and was accompanied by a crunchy biscuit base.
The macaron was rather ubiquitous on this particular night. It appeared in raspberry and lychee form at the functions and events stand as well as topping off Lorraine’s chocolate ice-cream verrine, passionfruit and praline mousse (one token).The combination of flavours gave the praline mousse a slight coffee taste which was a little unexpected. The chocolate dipped strawberry marshmallow with pink peppercorn jelly (one token) also looked quite cute and sweet.
The menu at est. seemed to reflect chef, Peter Doyle’s grand vision and picturesque heritage dining room. The desserts were rich and decadent and bursting with many flavours as well as showcasing a real precision and assortment of different culinary techniques. The chocolate delice tart with frozen crème anglaise and rye tuile (one token) was a sight to behold. The crème anglaise created a mysterious smoke as it was draped over the luxurious chocolate tart. It was like a sultry seductress and it was divine.
The vanilla mousse strawberries, rhubarb and hibiscus wafer (one token) looked far too pretty to eat. The colours were vibrant and looked like an English garden in spring. Another visual feast for the eyes and tastebuds was The Oreo: white chocolate mousse, crumble and milk foam (one token) at the functions and events stand. The final dessert at est. was all about summertime. The barley ice-cream, white chocolate and almond ganache (one token) was like an almond Magnum, only ten times better.
The signature dish at Bistrode CBD is pastry chef, Jane Strode’s honey tart. Tonight it was paired with a peanut butter ice-cream (one token). I personally found the tart a bit too overpowering but the ice-cream was fabulous – the best I tasted all evening. If that had been paired up with chocolate I think more people would have enjoyed the flavours because it could have been like an ice cold, Reece’s peanut butter cup.
The highlight of the night was Bistrode CBD’s dark chocolate crème brûlée and coconut sorbet (one token), which delivered on every count. This stall also had a goat cheese and date pastry, fig and orange sauce (one token) for sale. Fruit was also a key ingredient over at Ms. G’s from the topping of the pandan tres leches (which is based on the South American tres leches (three milks) cake) (one token) to the crowd favourite, banana and Nutella spring roll with salted caramel ice-cream (one token). The rolls were a bit hit with their gooey chocolate centre, it had many people asking for seconds and thirds. Needless to say, these sold out.
Mr. Wong showcased an exemplary array of Asian flavours with the mango pudding, passionfruit granita, mango pearls and tapioca (one token) and the mini fried ice cream with butterscotch sauce (one token). With some 16 different desserts to sample and after all that sugar, a bitter Turkish coffee wouldn’t have gone amiss. Instead, the guests had a variety of white and red wines to choose from as well as the popular cocktail, espresso martini (two tokens).
Just Desserts was all about embracing your inner child and having a feast on a rainbow of sweet treats. Most of the desserts were decadent and featured some strong flavour combinations with many reaching a nirvana-like state of perfection. In all, this was an enjoyable evening to have alongside meringues of just about every colour that were like sumptuous eye candy, which fit well with a feast of desserts that would be worthy for just about any king or queen.
(All of the above photos were taken by Danielle Judd).
Originally published on 6 March 2015 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/lifestyle/eat/march-into-merivale-presents-just-desserts-establishment-hotel
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