Suze has been talking about dining at Bentley restaurant for over a year now and that moment has finally come. It is a generous belated birthday gift from Suze and Helen who suggested to treat me to a dessert degustation menu at Bentley, come along The Pom who also happily chipping in for a night of sweet memories except with a hint of sour note before our evening even started.
The reason why we chose Bentley is because it is also our last chance to try Y (Lemonpi)'s exquisite desserts as it's her final week working at Bentley before she heading over to the US and A for holiday. This is not the first time I have tried Y's dessert, so it is a good time to catch up on how she's been doing at Bentley.
Our initial booking for Just Dessert tasting menu on a Wednesday night made through online booking system was changed to a later date due to unforeseen circumstances. We arrive at the restaurant on a busy Friday night and despite we have a booking at 8.30pm, we still have to wait outside for 15 minutes before we get seated at the round table in the middle of the dining room.
A plate of fresh bread is placed at our table momentarily and immediately we are eyeballing each each with an uneasy feeling since we are only here for desserts. When the waiter comes back to take our orders, I explain to him that we are only here just for the dessert and his manner has suddenly changed and brusque telling us that the table he has reserved for us was sold as a full three-course meal. When I mention to him that I even clearly stated in CAPS in my booking that desserts is only what we are after, "I didn't see it," is his come back. Eventually, he grudgingly let us peruse the table and quickly swaps the menu over, the freshly baked bread is also taken away soon after.
The next 15 minutes is surreal, he zooms past our table numerous times without any eye contact, we feel like abandoned child on the roadside until another waiter comes over and takes our orders. We finally can let out a big sigh of relief and relax, waving goodbye to Aficionado X while waiting for our desserts to arrive.
The four-course dessert tasting menu ($40) changes regularly. Our first course arrives in a slanted bowl shaped of an upturned flying saucer, chunks of sweet caramelised pineapple is hidden underneath a quenelle of beer sorbet which is velvety smooth and deliciously boozy, with barley cream adds richness whilst the biscuit crumbs adds texture. It is a welcoming summer sunshine on a plate.
My favourite is the Milk Cake. Despite its simplicity presentation in the shades of white and cream, the dessert is skillfully composed with amazing textures and flavours. The spongy milk cake is moist, soaked with sweet evaporated milk, pairing with nitrogen-frozen magnolia ice cream that holds its shapes pretty well, shards of white chocolate rounds it up with a touch of luxury smoothness.
The third course actually reminds me of a fruit salad more than a cheesecake. The frozen cheesecake is deconstructed into a quenelle of whipped cream cheese and a trail of sweet sable crumbs. Hidden underneath a fluffy cloud of lime foam is an eclectic fruit combo of mango slices and blueberries, then finishes off with a smidgen of sour plum powder over the top, Carmen Miranda would have been proud.
The last course is the richest of them all. Reminded me of a black forest, this contemporary modern take of an old classic definitely has me lost in a world of wilderness and absolutely in awe. The chocolate sponge, how artfully pulled apart into organic shapes, topped with a log of dark chocolate ganache that is so rich and smooth, perfectly counterbalanced with a quenelle of sour cherry sorbet and frozen raspberry whilst a brittle shard of palm sugar toffee and chewy coconut tuile add a whole new depth of aromatic richness.
Sadly we didn't get to say goodbye to Y before we leave the restaurant, presumably she is busy behind the door by the look of all the desserts coming out from the kitchen all at the same time around 11pm. Till next time, I am looking forward to taste Y's adventures in the States on a dessert plate.
To Y, Bon Voyage! and have a safe trip!
Bentley Restaurant & Bar 320 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9332 2344