First stop on a chocolate hop in Belgravia, the unbeatable value of six desserts for four fivers.
The main writer of this dessert-only blog has a soft spot for London. Have you been, readers? It is an a-m-a-z-i-n-g city. One of the most beautiful areas in London has to be Belgravia — we will probably never be able to afford one of the simply gorgeous apartments or terrace houses in this area, but one can always dream, yes? So of course we dream, but being dedicated Dessert Correspondents, we dream in chocolate because Belgravia is home to a handful of the most exquisite chocolatiers in London. One such chocolatier is William Curley. Not only does his Belgravia boutique simply waft chocolate upon stepping in, but if you happen to be in the neighbourhood on a genteel weeekend day, step into a six course dessert degustation for…wait for it…$20 quid! Oh lordy!
On our visit a few months back (yes, terrible, we have a terrible backlog of incredible dessert reviews coming!), the first course sent out by the dessert bar was the “Apple and Brandy Granita.” A little shot glass of icy shaved ice spiked with brandy, spliced with yogurt, and embellished with a curl of granny smith apple. Slightly sweet, an appetiser that served to cleanse and refresh the palate right away.
The second course was the “Miso and White Chocolate Ice Cream” — or as it turned out that hot London summer day, white chocolate ice cream tinged with a lightly strange taste (but not perceptibly miso), melting into a liquid blanket on retirement-village-soft stewed apricot. Not the best dessert in the world, one has to be honest. The caramelised sesame toffee brittle was presumably meant to add textural contrast, but failed to uplift the soggy dish.
The third course was quintessentially British pudding — “Vanilla Rice Pudding” was layered with a tangy rhubarb compote, cubes of light-as-air elderflower jelly and a granola knob. These Dessert Correspondents quite liked it, but our dining companion struggled to distinguish it from say, a breakfast yogurt pot. Oops!
The fourth course was one of the most disappointing desserts we have ever had. A savarin is almost akin to rum baba — this one however tasted like a stale croissant/doughnut thing. Chewy, soggy. What a waste of carbohydrates. The one great thing was the zinging raspberry sorbet.
The fifth course saved the afternoon – “Chocolate and Passionfruit Mousse” on a crisp biscuit base, twirled with a twig of tempered chocolate and accompanied by an orb of luxurious chocolate ice cream and slashes of passionfruit sauce. A grande finale.
The sixth course of petit fours was similarly met with smiles. A miniature cone of salted caramel ice cream and a trio of green tea, salted caramel and a floral-scented chocolate bite of which we fail to recall from our notes.
William Curley is first and foremost a chocolatier, a rather innovative one that specialises in fusing Eastern and Western flavours. His chocolates are incredible. On the other hand, the dessert bar is regrettably, hit and miss. The scoops of sorbet and ice cream that accompany each dish is the lone star, though one should also give credit to the chocolate-based dessert (which curiously, constitutes just one of the desserts at this chocolate boutique’s dessert bar). The remaining desserts are forgettable. The desserts change every month, so a return visit is warranted. Indeed, let us ponder — $20 GBP for six courses of desserts during one indulgent afternoon. Should we really whinge at all?
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: William Curley Dessert Bar, 198 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8UN, United Kingdom.
- ☑ Budget: $$ ($20 GBP)
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Chocolate, dessert degustations.
- ☑ Must-eat: Japonoiserie-chocolates, and the seasonally changing dessert bar.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: First stop on a chocolate hop in Belgravia, the unbeatable value of six desserts for four fivers.