Works of art that look too good to eat — except with these you can, and most definitely will.
It’s Art Week, if you didn’t already know. While society flocks to the Wan Chai Exhibition Centre for a perfectly in-character, finger-pointing umm-and-aah to what’s currently on display at Art Basel and Art Central this weekend, there’s no time like now to get in on all-things-artsy, from the way you dress, to, of course, the way you eat.
You’d be pleased to hear that price tags aren’t as steep as the works currently hung at the exhibition halls at some of the city’s glitziest restaurants. So, while you might (sadly) not be taking home that beautiful piece you had your eye on, there’s an alternative to something just as photogenic: desserts. As pastry chefs will tell you, they are the showpiece of the culinary world. And no keeping these in display boxes at home please, as stunning as they may be. They are much better consumed.
Served as the grand finale to Arcane’s exquisite modern European menu, this strawberry dessert created by pastry chef Lyca Ramos is a gorgeous palate refresher of strawberry meringue, rose Chantilly cream, rhubarb compote, vanilla ice cream and fresh Gariguette strawberries artfully arranged on the plate.
“The main ingredient, strawberries, were the inspiration in creating the dish. It’s a celebration of this delicious berry whilst they are in season and the best time to enjoy them. Strawberries have a wonderful flavour, a fruity-floral fragrance and vibrant colour that makes such a beautiful plated dessert for celebrations.”
Arcane, 3/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2729 0178
Michelin Green Star recipient Roganic applies the same farm-to-table practice when it comes to their desserts, especially this Caramelised White Chocolate and Marigold with Local Mulberry made with various local produce. A colourful, abstract dish with a laborious three-day concept features marigold-infused cream, caramelised chocolate, honeycomb from Green Choice Organic Farm, micro greens and picked fresh mulberries thats reduced in port, brown sugar, spices and vanilla, seasoned with berry vinegar and frozen into liquid nitrogen.
“The inspiration came through a local farm visit and seeing the marigold and mulberries at offer; the dish elements fit into an idea that we were previously working on that uses various methods (e.g. pickling/snow/honeycomb) to create textures and flavours that help balance the dish whilst enhancing the herbaceous notes of the marigold.”
Roganic, Sino Plaza, UG/F 08, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2817 8383
Margo’s menu is a nostalgic collection of chef Mario Paecke’s most memorable recipes. At the end you’ll find desserts like Dresdner Eierschecke, a recreation of a childhood favourite. An amalgamation between two different dessert components, it’s a layered cake with one part German fresh cheese “Quark” mixed with eggs, vanilla and sugar, and the other, an egg custard with whipped egg white. Over the surface, a thin blanket of parfait and jelly topped with sweet strawberry salad.
“The “Dresdner Eierschecke” is originally from East Germany and my mum baked it sometimes for our family. The idea was to bring a piece of home memories to HK and to share with our guests. While taking the inspiration and stories of this cake and turned it into a more refined and elegant for Margo and served with Strawberries.”
Margo, Shop G06, 9 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2130 7731
With a preference for lighter palates like seasonal fruits and fresh herbs, L’Envol’s chef-pâtissier Steven Jin turns to the rich indulgence of chocolate in the creation of Le Chocolaté Noir de St Martin, an infinitely sculptural showpiece that takes Jin 25 minutes to assemble. A crunchy croustillant steadies the base, layered with tamarillo and champagne rose sorbet in the centre and delicate ribbons of St. Martin 70% dark chocolate. Crispy gavotte decorate the top.
“Le Chocolaté Noir de St Martin is a chocolate dessert implemented with different textures with highlight on our 70% chocolate from St. Martin, enhanced with natural acidity of champagne and tamarillo that neutralise the original fermented bitterness of black chocolate. I first tried fresh raw chocolate when I visited St. Martin and I was impressed by their fresh local ingredients. This lasting memory points me to the fact that ingredients which are fresh and natural always bring the finest flavor – and to bring this to life in pastries has been my goal ever since.”
L’Envol, 3/F The St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2318 6818
Lead image courtesy of Margo