The thought of having a meal consisting of just desserts sounds heavenly to me. For SIFF, Tomislav combines forces with pastry chef Chris The of Black Star Pastry (who has worked at Quay and Claude’s) to create a 7-course dessert degustation; Just Desserts ($125). The desserts had at my birthday dinner at Tomislav were impressive so I knew I had to go back for more. Just Desserts is held for only 2 nights and is guaranteed to be a sold out event so a quick booking was made for a myself and dessert loving food bloggers.
We start off the night with racks of tests tubes being brought to us; these tubes contained the contents for our violet champagne starter. The waitress explains that one tube contains Delamotte champagne whilst the other contains a violet granita; we were instructed to slowly pour the champagne into the granita, swirl and sip. It was visually pleasing and sweet; what a perfect and fun way to start off the degustation.
To kick off the line of desserts we’ll be having, grilled strawberries served with mint and white chocolate was brought to us on a big slate board. Piles of mint and white chocolate powder were scattered throughout the board and slightly caramelised strawberries and dollops of cream were placed neatly amongst it all. I found the mint powder a little overpowering and melted quickly in the mouth whilst the white chocolate powder was a little sweet and occasionally stuck to the roof of my mouth.
Next up was the goats curd cheesecake served with elderflower gel and crushed pistachios. The goats curd cheesecake was served in two different forms. A firmer mousse-like dome was hidden underneath an aerated foam of the same mixture; the mousse didn’t taste as “cheesy” as the soft and fluffy foam, it was more like a silky vanilla mousse. Lemon balm is present in the elderflower gel which gives it a slight tang. I felt there wasn’t enough crushed pistachios on this dish for it to provide a textual contrast.
The best dessert of the night arrives at our table on a funky metal stand. We convinced our waitress to leave it on our table for a moment for us to take photos, the caramel ice cream cone features a thin hazelnut wafer cone and a smooth and creamy caramel ice cream topped with toasted peanuts. Big smiles start to appear on everyone’s face after we all take our first bite into the ice cream cone. Popping sounds were heard as we open our mouths, with giggles and laughter following; our inner-childish behaviours were brought out at that moment. At the bottom of the cone were more toasted peanuts, I secretly wished it was filled with more pop rocks though..
The last of the desserts is the warm chocolate mousse with olive oil and sea salt; which was kinda like a “pre-savoury” dish. You see, Tomislav has tipped everything that is conventional on its head and decided to serve us a backwards degustation starting with desserts and ending with savoury items. This was a very oddball dish, sure it may look very innocent but looks can be very deceiving. The olive oil has been infused with rosemary and the biscuit crumbs were horseradish flavoured which provided an unexpected kick to the dish. A quenelle of mulberry sorbet sits on top of the crumbs and provides some sweetness to this savoury dessert. The mousse is slightly bitter and smooth. When each component was had together, it all seemed to work.
We sadly concluded our desserts with the arrival of beef mince pie, tomato sauce and grilled onions. A flaky pastry cylinder encases a beef mince filling which we found slightly salty, although this may be due to the fact that we had a decent amount of desserts prior to this course. Now you can’t have a pie without tomato sauce, it’s just un-Australian to do so. Tomislav serves up his version of a tomato sauce which is a chilled powder, when you eat the two together, you get the sensation of hot and cold together in one bite (which was pretty cool).
We end our topsy turvy degustation with Tomislav’s signature starter of rice crackers and sea salt and vinegar. The atomiser contains the sea salt and vinegar mixture and a few sprays coats these deliciously light crackers; a fun and enjoyable way to conclude (or start) the night.
It was time for us to head back home as it was getting a little late. On our way out we were given a takeaway box filled with goodies from Black Star Pastry; the contents include an orange cake with fig and quince, lemon curd biscuit, ginormous white chocolate macaron with rose filling and canelle (a French rum-based dessert with a caramelised crust and chewy and moist centre). Such a nice gesture.
Just Desserts was an enlightening way to dine. I was expecting to feel sick from all the sugar but was surprised that the degustation wasn’t sickeningly sweet at all; I could have gone a few more desserts in my opinion. Do keep an eye out for future dessert degustations at Tomislav.