With the slow reopening of services and restaurants, and the necessity to introduce apprehensive dinners to the world of dining-in once more; it is great to see a few restaurants/businesses taking on different approaches.
One such caterer that has done just that, garnering my attention and full hearted support is The Dessert Club; recently introduced to me by Gurleen of @pinktealatte fame. Gurleen is a fan of desserts and sweets, so if/when she vouches for any chef and raves about their cakes, I know they are worth paying attention to.
The one man team of Dessert Club is currently running a series of limited seating events, themed around travel. He is collaborating with various local businesses to offer ticket holders a dining experience that branches across two different countries, and has even created a souvenir passport to mark the occasion. On top of sourcing vintage airline cutlery to utilize with dessert. Sadly as I attended this event, I learned that I had missed its initial debut; so quickly followed @thedessertclubca on Instagram, as to not go on missing the others to come. I was that impressed with the following.
As a ticketed event, you paid for your 3 course meal ahead of time, and at the same time choose your entree and dessert. The evening’s menu was inspired by a trip from Thailand to the Philippines. Attending with Gurleen ensured we were able to try everything available between us.
The starter was a shared basket of their house-made bar snacks. A clever assembly of familiar junk foods/snacks served in a open-faced instant noodle packet. This was an execution for biggest impact. The noodles used were Monster Noodles, a brand purposefully marketed as a raw noodle that you snack on, as is. To it was the addition of cheese puffs balls, regular flavoured ridged chips, shrimp stuffed mini spring rolls, shrimp crackers, fritto hoops, and roasted peanuts. All seasoned in a salted egg yolk dust and lime. This was brilliantly done. A fun snack to rummage through, as you pick and choose your morsels by taste and texture. Tasty as is, but best with a beer. I would like to recreate this for myself one day.
Each guest is given a choice of drink from anything listed on their menu. Potluck Hawkers no longer mixes their own cock, but bottles of beer and premixed cocktails are available. Thankfully they still have their traditional, non-alcoholic South East beverages available.
I had the Milo Dinosaur, a mixed powdered hot chocolate topped with cocoa powder. The “dinosaur” in the name refers to the mound of additional chocolate powder crowning the drink. Prepared with water, Milo drinks more like a malted chocolate beverage.
Gurleen was feeling adventurous so ordered Potluck’s Daily som pop, with tonight’s flavour being cranberry. It was accurately described as a sour, vinegary based beverage. It is great for balancing out the richness of the dishes to come, while aiding in digestion.
For entrees Gurleen went to Thailand with the Khao Soi Gai, Chiang Mai style curry chicken noodles. This was served as a fun set, with elements that you get to add in or omit, to your preference. Including a crispy fried noodle topping, raw beansprouts, chilli sauce, red onion, and lime. This creamy curry was super tasty: mostly sweet with coconut milk, and slightly spicy. You mix up for the chewy noodles and tender chicken meat.
The Philippines option was a playful take on Sisig, which is Filipino minced pork from the pig’s head. Here, it is prepared as a fried rice, served on a sizzling cast iron hot plate. At the table it is recommended that you mix the cream drizzle in, and finish your toss up with a hard handed squeeze of the calamansi fruit on the site. “Calamansi” is also known as the Philippines lime or lemon. It is a citrus fruit that tastes just like that. Here, the zest of the citrus helps to cut into the inevitable grease from the fatty pork meat. The diced onion provides a similar effect to help combat the bacon-like grease. Not complaining though, just stating. When it comes to Filipino cuisine, the fatty grease is almost a Hallmark. As a whole, the dish was sumptuous, with a fattiness that you find comforting. This would be a dish I would crave again.
Having tried both entrees, I couldn’t not choose between the two. Both have their own merits and are so different from one another. We both would not be able to finish our serving, committing to the completion of our starter, and wanting to ensure you had ample room for the limited release desserts.
Through sheer luck we were able to try all three desserts, and as with the entrees above, it is difficult to choose just one out of the three. So be sure to attend all futures events with a a friend or two, to be able to share and try it all.
The Thai Tea ice cream cake delivered with the tea’s trademark orangey hue and flavour. The cake was exactly like the beverage, but with the creamy consistency of ice cream. No complaints, you get what you expect with this one.
The Dessert Club’s Halo Halo also hit its mark. “Halo Halo” is a popular Filipino cold dessert, made up of crushed ice, evaporated milk or condensed milk, and various ingredients. This rendition included flan, fruit jelly, coconut jelly, shredded coconut meat, caramelized plantain, 3 types of beans, and coconut milk. It is basically a snow cone with a lot more toppings. This is another fun one to sort through, as you pick and choose each spoonful.
For a more classic dessert turn to the Turon with Chocolate pot de crème. “Turon” is basically deep fried bananas, wrapped in a spring roll wrapper, and dusted with brown sugar. The Dessert Club’s version has slices of plantain sandwiching jackfruit for a unique filling. It is a crispy treat with a soft gooey centre, and is made so much more decadent with the burnt caramel cream on the side. The pot is too sweet, the coarse salt topping does well to highlight the chocolatey flavour.
At $50 per person, both Gurleen and I found this an amazing deal, given the quality and craftsmanship of everything. I was already a fan of Potluck Hawkers waking in to this event, and am even more so one now. And despite, not being a big fan of desserts, I am a huge one of Dessert Club. I will be attending an upcoming pop up of theirs soon, and have already made a note to look out for their next Will Travel for Food series; and I suggest you do the same.