After decades of playing second fiddle to savoury courses, desserts are finally striking out as an art form in their own right. We pick our favourite dessert bars across the region
FOO FOO FINE DESSERTS, Kuala Lumpur
An elegant first-floor hideout in Malaysia’s capital, Foo Foo Fine Desserts – named for head chef Foo, an alumnus of Sydney’s Le Cordon Bleu – is a clean-cut space with a casual living-room aesthetic. More daring is the dazzling array of desserts on offer, with dishes such as red-wine poached pear with rose-petal ice cream and an apple galette paired with kaffir lime ice cream. Open late into the night, Foo Foo’s bright minimalism and melting pot of flavours is ideal for an evening of late-night luxury with friends.
ROOM 4 DESSERT, Ubud
The latest locale of veteran pastry chef Will Goldfarb, Room 4 Dessert is a playful dessert den nestled in the heart of Bali’s cultural nexus of Ubud. Designed for intimate enjoyment, the nine-course degustation menu takes diners on a delectable descent into the cheeky mind of the head chef, with dishes sporting names such as Ghostface Keller – a concoction of reblochon cream, papaya, cacao nibs and apple tatin topped off with a doughnut – and Chocobubbles, a divine combination of home-baked cookies with warm mousse, nougatine and kluwak, a nut that grows only in the wild and is poisonous if not fermented correctly. Appropriately, it is to die for.
Hidden away in the epicurean hub of Singapore’s Holland Village, 2am:dessertbar is a temple to good taste, resplendent in smooth marbled folds and a timeless minimalist chic. The work of internationally renowned pastry chef Janice Wong, whose career took a sharp turn from her Bachelor of Economics and into the decadent world of desserts, features mouthwatering creations from the enigmatic Truffle Infinity to the tongue-twisting Tsujirihei Green Tea Tart. In the city-state, 2am:dessert bar is the perfect place to treat a sweet tooth.
A must for sugar fiends with a passion for presentation, this pristine pastel paradise in central Bangkok brings a meticulous eye for detail to its hand-crafted desserts. The unmistakeable interior draws inspiration from the sugar crystals that give the venue its name. Each dessert – and there are many to choose from – comes to the table arrayed in a playful plating, bringing a fantastical twist to every offering. The signature dish, appropriately named the Shugaa, combines a sensuous blend of flavours stretching from Japanese mochi to melon mousse.
PAPA DIDDI’S HANDCRAFTED ICE CREAM, Manila
Named not for the proprietor but his late father, who whipped up his own homemade ice cream to keep his family cool in the sweltering Philippine summer, Papa Diddi’s Handcrafted Ice Cream is one of Manila’s best-kept secrets. With fresh ice cream made daily at the stroke of midnight, proprietor Paul Perez pursues his craft with a dizzying sense of invention, teasing out rich flavours from as varied a mix as black rice, tarragon and a startling mango-ginger blend.
This article was published in the February edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.