For my birthday dinner out this year I picked a Pierre Roelofs Dessert Evening. We've been following Roelofs' sweet degustations around town a while, from their long tenure at Cafe Rosamond, across the river to Fancy Nance and then just down the street last summer at Green Park Dining. This year he's been serving four-course dessert degustations on Thursday nights at Milkwood in Brunswick East. This arrangement is coming to a close this month, and so we were treated to a 'best of' dessert retrospective on our visit.
These evenings always commence with a dessert tube, and ours was a strip of creme brûlée! We were instructed to steep the amber sugar cap in a beaker of hot water for 4 seconds - this was just enough to loosen it from the tube while preserving its dense caramelly contrast to the rich vanilla custard.
Our second dessert was a medley of flavours and textures - beetroot, mandarin and chocolate took the forms of crumbs, jellies, meringues, fresh fruit pieces and dotted creams. These are ingredients I'd typically associate with winter, but here the effect was light and summer-friendly.
Dessert number three was an excavation: puffed millet sprinkled on raspberry foam, giving way to hibiscus granita and oat crumble. It was all a little too granola-y for me until I made it to the creamy-sweet coconut foundation - then everything made perfect sweet-sour-crunchy-creamy sense.
The final plate was an architectural arrangement of treacle sponge, rich vanilla parfait, fresh blueberries and lemon gel under sheets of lemon wafer. This was another clever balance of rich, dense components (whoa, what a treacle cake!) lifted with lighter elements (fresh fruit and melt-in-the-mouth wafers).
At $55 per person it felt right to reserve this degustation for a special occasion. Plenty of people can't or won't come at that price for less than a full meal (we lined our stomachs with a cheese plate first), but I can't fault any of the dishes we enjoyed. This 'best of' Roelofs experience was definitely the best we've experienced of Roelofs.
There's also a review of the Milkwood-hosted dessert evenings on Melbourne Patron.