My parents are sweeties. Last Christmas, they got my brother, my sister in law and myself really thoughtful presents. Not that don’t always get us thoughtful presents, but these were more experiences so the three of us had fun things planned throughout the year to meet up and do together. One present was a dessert bar voucher for the William Curley Belgravia shop. YIPS!
I’ve been aware of William Curley’s work since repeatedly winning Britain’s Best Chocolatier by the Academy of Chocolate four times; 2007-2011 and have been on my dream list of places to try out. The dessert bar is a great idea, for £15 you can sample the taster menu of four delightful creations while watching the pastry chef create them in front of your eyes. Which was great for me as I could be nosey and ask questions as she plated up.
We used the vouchers to visit on Saturday, the day after my birthday and three other friends joined us for the experience, as they are foodies too I knew they would like it. Presented a tempting list of desserts and various amazing sounding teas – I went for a blood orange tea (yum), we were sat on stools to see the chef at work.
Firstly, we started with Green Apple Sorbet. Something light to start off before the heavier desserts. This tasted like the freshest apple you have ever had, smooth and full of flavour and topped with a dark chocolate shard. Delicious.
Next, was a Vanilla Pannacotta with Berry Compote and Champagne Granita. Sometimes I’m not a fan of pannacottas as in the past I’ve had ones where the chef have gotten carried away with the gelatin and has a rather firm set. This one was beautifully set, silky and smooth with the body, with the berry compote cutting through the richness of the pannacotta. the granita had a good level of champagne present and the texture complemented the whole dish.
Next up was a Chocolate Millefeuille with Caramelised Pears and Vanilla Ice Cream. As we were in a chocolate shop I was hoping for a super chocolatey dessert. I mean wow- just look at it. Something that pretty must taste amazing and it doesn’t disappoint! On a base, a hazelnut meringue biscuit base, which is chewy and nutty, topped with a rich chocolate ganache, the stuff of dreams! Then a layer of chocolate sponge which was brushed with a Grand Marnier stock syrup then piped with more of the delightful ganache. Finally, decorated with a hazelnut half, a chocolate curl and gold leaf. The caramelised pears worked really well with the richness of the chocolate as well as the ice cream.
Lastly, but no means least, Passion Fruit Meringue Tart, with Passion Fruit Sauce and Chocolate Tropical Ice Cream. Like I’ve mentioned before on here, I love passion fruit. This was delicious. On an all-butter biscuit base, a firm passionfruit curd, topped with a caramelised Italian meringue. Think we all picked up some piping techniques to try out, watching this dessert being made. Again the sharpness of the passionfruit worked beautifully with the dark, richness of the chocolate ice cream. Probably my favourite dessert.
Sadly, we didn’t have room after that to have the petit fours (some of the members of the party were struggling with all the sugar!) but the chef kindly bagged them up for us to have later after recovering from all that sugar. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture as I scoffed them on the train back to Bristol. But safe to say they were divine – but you’ll have to go and try out the dessert bar for yourself! We had a lovely day and was such a nice birthday treat. The staff were lovely and the chef even wrote down some recipe recommendations for a friend to try out. I now have to seriously up my presentation skills for my desserts – that and order the William Curley recipe book to try recreating some of the masterpieces.
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