At least this is what I, naively, expected. Having been a fan of Curley's chocolate for a while, I was interested in the 'dessert bar' experience and in my head for some reason I thought it was going to be mostly chocolate based and a choice of 3 cakes from their menu. Instead, it's actually a tasting of 5 desserts, from a fixed menu plus a non alcoholic drink. It is available on Saturdays and Sundays and one cannot book, but rather, turn up and wait. We actually did not have to wait anytime for a table for four, on a January (detox effect?) afternoon.
Over the course of two hours, we got to taste a slightly odd set of tasting portions of dessert out of which, sadly, only one was a chocolate based pudding.
We started with a light rhubarb 'granita'. More of a sorbet, it was surely refreshing but, in my opinion, a strange way of opening a tasting, especially in winter. This was followed by another cold dish. A salted caramel ice cream which frankly, was quite bland, with crunchy hazelnut crumble.
|Caramel ice cream, hazelnut crumble|
Finally, 'petit fours'. A strangely assembled trio: a chocolate, a macaroon and a slice of sponge cake. The chocolate was good, of course. The macaroon was technically great, precisely shaped and of perfect texture but beetroot and something balsamic which I forget, were not actually that nice. Finally the slice of chestnut sponge cake was way too buttery and heavy to finish with.
While we had a good couple of hours chatting and eating, and for £20 per head I think this is very good value nonetheless yet I was disappointed. Not enough chocolate, and some weird choice of dessert types (pannacotta), plus the fact that you can't really choose and you just get what is coming to you (but that is more down to me misunderstanding what I bought!).
I expected a bit more. I cannot fault William Curley's chocolate, but I was not blown away by the cakes and puddings we tried, and even less so by the ice creams.