Everyone knows me as Sassy’s resident dessert queen – so you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive an invitation for a tasting that was all desserts! Dream come true or what?!
The occasion? One of our fave hotels, the Island Shangri-La, has just appointed a new pastry chef Claude Guerin for their Michelin-starred restaurant Petrus – and we were amongst the first to check out Claude’s newest sweet treats, with the Shangri-La’s amazing view of HK as the best possible backdrop.
We got to sample six of Claude’s signature desserts, which combine seasonal ingredients, exacting French techniques and a Japanese eye for detail and presentation (Claude is half French, half Japanese, after all!). Having never eaten at Petrus before, I can now say that based on the desserts alone, it’s definitely worth a trip!
We started with Granny Smith apple in crispy meringue shells, and it was a dish that tasted every bit as fresh and light as it looked. Next was Ardeche chestnut mousse in three perfectly formed tear-shaped bite-sized pieces, and that warm mellow chestnut flavour was a great seasonal choice. I loved the play of textures in these two dishes (present in all Claude’s dishes, in fact), with the soft chestnut mousse and sorbet-like apple playing against other crunchy crispy elements.
As you can see, all of Claude’s desserts are stunningly presented – it seems a pity not to preserve their beauty on film and Instagram-mers, you’ll have a field day taking snaps of these! They’re all presented in Claude’s trademark of cute individual little desserts rather than one big portion on the plate, making them ideal to share (an even better excuse to order more between your table, so you can sample as many as possible!).
The blackcurrant roasted figs deglazed with Banyuls wine were another early favourite; it’s not always easy to find figs (and figs done well at that) in HK restaurants and these were a fruity rich melt-in-mouth delight. The scrumptious scoop of smooth walnut ice-cream on the side was the perfect accompaniment. I was less keen on the stronger flavours of the coffee roasted hazelnut parfait with malt whisky jelly, although given I don’t like either coffee or whisky, this shouldn’t really be much of a surprise!
Poached pears are always a winner and Claude’s take on the dish (served this time with liquorice ice-cream) was no exception… however, my absolute favourite dessert (and Claude’s!) was, of course, the chocoholic option. Soft Caraibes 66% dark chocolate palet with Fleur de Sel crispy cocoa beans and vanilla ice-cream – it might sound complicated but the reality is, it was simply delicious! Gorgeous rich dark chocolate combined with sea-salt has to be one of my most favourite flavour combinations and this delivered it in spades, at just the right amount too. Forget what I said about sharing desserts, you’ll want to keep this one all to yourself!
As someone used to hearty rich indulgent desserts, I was amazed at Claude’s lightness of touch – every single dish felt so light that even after all six, I felt zero traces of food coma or stodginess. Don’t worry, I’ll always love my sticky toffee puddings, apple pies and chocolate fondants, but Petrus’ desserts are a different more delicate experience and a change every once in a while is no bad thing!
Claude is one of the few female pastry chefs in HK, so she’s doing it for the girls – and definitely doing us proud. I’m now looking forward to heading back to Petrus one day to try the rest of their menu and see if the rest of the courses match up to the dessert!
Petrus 56/F, Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Admiralty
2820 8590 www.shangri-la.com/hongkong/islandshangrila/dining/restaurants/restaurant-petrus/