The World Gourmet Summit event in Singapore is always an exciting time of the year. Famous chefs from around the world descend on this tiny city state to prepare their culinary creations for all to try. Granted, a ticket to trying these fabulous gastronomic meals usually entails a hefty cash outlay but not every meal will cost you an arm and a leg. Case in point, my wife and I had a nice evening out last night at the Grand Hyatt’s Mezza9 restaurant to taste Pierre Hermé’s dessert creations. Suffice to say, we came away with a very pleasant experience and felt that the price we paid for tasting desserts from the “Picasso of Pastry”, although not cheap, was very much in line with what should be charged for unique high end desserts prepared by a famous master craftsman that you can’t typically find here in Singapore.
Returning to Singapore this year, Pierre Hermé has been serving his culinary treats at Mezza9 restaurant in Grand Hyatt Hotel since Monday, April 14th and today marks the end of his week long feature at the hotel.
In anticipation of being left without a reservation if we reserved too late, I promptly made a reservation for two last weekend for a table for my wife and I the following Thursday.
In doing a bit of research to find out about what Pierre Hermé was offering before our arrival on Thursday, I scoured the Internet to look for blog postings or newspaper clippings on Pierre Hermé in Singapore. Disappointed, I found very little media coverage and sparse reviews on blogs leading up to our outing on Thursday. Perhaps the most helpful information was a flickr posting by someone who had an advanced preview of Pierre Hermé’s offerings before the public opening. All of the featured desserts were captured with its associated descriptions.
We had arrived early at Mezza9 to see if we could get a table immediately but was told that the restaurant was still full and we would have to wait until our designated reservation time to be seated. We waited in the hotel lobby until it was time and was promptly brought to our table upon our arrival.
Our outing last night was strictly for desserts only (as were many other guests that were seated around us). We were given a menu featuring six creations from Pierre Hermé. Several items were creations that you could typically find in Pierre Hermé shops in Japan and France while a few others were more unique desserts with very interesting blend combinations typically not found anywhere else.
We had decided on three desserts for the evening and chose the following items:
Crème Brulée au Fois Gras, Compote D’airelles et Poires
Crème Brulée with Fois Gras, Cowberry Compote and Pears
This was perhaps the best dessert out of the three we ordered. The thought of blending fois gras with crème brulée was very usual at first but we quickly discovered how harmonious the two ingredients could be upon tasting it. The addition of fois gras provided a thicker texture to the crème brulée and had an extremely almost undetectable subtle fois gras flavor which perfectly masked the egg flavor of the custard. The cowberry compote with pears was the key component that tied in the unusual fois gras and crème brulée mixture together and it added just the right amount of acidity and texture to give this dessert a winning vote by the both of us.
Tomato Puff Pastry Stick, Vanilla Marscapone Cream with Olive Pieces, Tomato and Strawberry Compote
This dessert had another very unusual ingredient pairing. The feature of combining strawberries and tomatoes together was simply ingenious with the vanilla marscapone cream with black olives pieces providing the necessary link to bring the strawberries and tomatoes into harmony. At times during certain spoonfuls, possibly because the olives were not chopped finely enough, the chunks of black olives in the marscapone cream provided too much saltiness to the taste. The tomato puff pastry sticks were supposed to provide textural contrast to the overall dessert but we felt it was somewhat mismatched and did not play much of a role other than to add more saltiness to the creation. The puff pastry sticks were also rather soft rather than flakey which is usually a direct result of too much exposure to humidity. Although this dessert had its hits and misses, we felt this was a fabulously constructed dessert with an interesting blend of ingredients that we would never have associated putting together in a dessert offering.
Passionfruit Compote, Jaconde Biscuit, Orange Segment and Orange Marmalade, Cream Cheese Mousse, Shortbread Biscuits
This was the most conventional of the three desserts we had last evening. The emotion satine is an item that you can find in Pierre Hermé retail shops in Japan and France. The pairing of passionfruit with orange marmalade and orange segments gave a very nice sour/sweet contrast while the cream cheese mousse topping provided the smooth creamy texture which nicely tied the fruit components together. The shortbread biscuit cubes on top provided the textural contrast of chewiness to the dessert. While my wife thought this dessert was a bit overly sweet, I felt it was rather harmonious with all the different flavors within the dessert easily recognisable in the overall combination.
It has been awhile since we last went for a nice dessert outing during the weekday and the World Gourmet Summit provided the perfect backdrop for us to do so. We very much enjoyed the experience last evening and we look forward to seeing what next year’s event will have to offer.