Do you know lemonpi?
I was always amazed by the incredibly crafted and exquisitely plated desserts by Y until eventually she revealed she was a qualified pastry chef, patient enough to invest time on her food blog even after early starts and long shifts in the kitchen.
Unfortunately I never managed to make it to Sepia during her stint there, but we do catch her in her final week working at Bentley, just before she heads off on a well-deserved holiday to New York and San Fransisco.
with barley cream and beer sorbet
We are rather excited as we step into the bar area, buzzing with patrons on a Friday night. We've made a booking for the four-course dessert degustation ($40), and manage to secure a last-minute 8.30pm sitting after switching from an initial Wednesday night booking. Our enthusiasm is momentarily sapped by an unfortunate exchange with a waiter, who sweeps over after we clarify we are here for dessert only, and then coolly demurs that our table was sold as a full three-course meal.
An awkward silence descends over our table as we seem to be drawn into an uneasy guilt-laden stand-off. Eventually our waiter leaves, although the fifteen minutes it takes for another waiter to finally take our drink orders (Pedro Ximenez sherries, riesling and an earl grey tea) seems longer than usual.
No matter. We are here for Y.
A cavernous pointed bowl holds our first dessert, briefly described as caramelised pineapple but holding so many more components within its depths. A quenelle of beer sorbet is light in texture but deliciously alcoholic in aftertaste, perched on a rubble of biscuit crumbs, barley cream and quivering jelly. We revel in bursts of pineapple, found in crunchy dehydrated slivers and caramelised cubes.
with magnolia ice cream and white chocolate
Our next course is angelic in vision, composed entirely of shades of white and cream. Topped with a delicate white chocolate sail, magnolia ice cream is silky in consistency with subtle floral notes of vanilla. A plank of milk cake--similar to this recipe for tres leche cake I presume--is wonderfully sweet and milky with syrup, and I'm torn between saving this or the balls of nitrogen-frozen ice cream for last.
It's a playground of textures and temperatures, and we have fun dipping our spoons in and around the plate.
with mango and blueberry
We move onto a frozen cheesecake for our third course, deconstructed into a trail of sweet biscuit crumbs and a dollop of whipped cream cheese. Blueberries add a touch of sweetness, complemented by a cascading fan of thin mango slices. On top is an ethereal puff of lime foam.
with cherry sorbet and coconut
A chocolate sponge finale seems particularly rich, amplified somewhat by the preceding trio of lighter desserts. We find soft and moist chocolate sponge cake, a scoop of cherry sorbet and a fragile shard of coconut tuile that shatters at the lightest touch. A gnarled and twisted length of toffee tastes of coconut and palm sugar, but proves to be dangerously sticky to teeth, instantly lodging itself in every crevice and fissure.
Much more soothing is a log of cool dark chocolate ganache, scattered with chocolate brownie crumbs and offset by frozen berries and a tart berry coulis.
We send a message of hello to Y in the kitchen, but it is getting late and she is flat out in the kitchen plating desserts. It will not be so long a wait until the next time we try Y's dessert, I promise myself.
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Bentley Restaurant & Bar
320 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9332 2344
Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner
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11/03/2010 02:56:00 a.m.