London’s first dessert restaurant opens next month at Regent Street’s luxury five star Hotel Café Royal, and swaps the traditional starter and main for several courses of sweet treats.
The dishes, each of which has a wine pairing, have been designed for sweet-toothed diners by executive pastry chef Sarah Barber, the first female pastry chef in the hotel’s 151-year history.
The 33-year-old was previously executive pastry chef at Corinthia Hotel and head pastry chef at Yauatcha and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
“The artistry of desserts always appealed to me more and that’s why I pursued it as my career. Desserts have been big news and have got huge in the past five years. There is a massive gap in the market here in London for any decent places to get dessert. In many top restaurants, dessert is an afterthought – it is never the reason that you go there. Here, cake is at the forefront – and all of the dishes are light so you can eat more of them,” Barber said.
The café will offer three dessert tasting menus from 6pm to 10.30pm. The five-course Sarah In Wonderland menu, inspired by Alice In Wonderland, costs NZ$88 per person, with matching wines for NZ$42. Dishes include Milky Way, with goat’s cheese, wild honey and beetroot snow, the Queen of Hearts, with raspberries, champagne and roses, and Eat Me, Drink Me, a Snickers and chocolate malt shake.
The three-course Childhood Memories menu is NZ$54 and includes Barber’s take on favourites such as rhubarb and custard and Jaffa Cakes, which open up to reveal the dessert, while the NZ$71Pick N Mix menu allows guests to choose four dishes from across the menu, including some with a more savoury feel.
“For most people they are happiest when they are reliving childhood memories so I have used that as an inspiration,” Barber said.
She was also inspired by her grandfather, who used to run the kitchens at the Hotel Café Royal.
“No one was going to stop me from being a pastry chef. I used to cook with my grandfather and when he passed away I went into cooking for him. I followed my whole career for him and it means a huge amount to be on the top of my game at Hotel Café Royal.”
The dessert menus are available from March 3.