A rose amongst the thorns.

Posted on August 2, 2011


Nestled in the grungy and hipster end of Smith Street, Pierre Roelof’s dessert nights at Cafe Rosamond have become a place of worship for dessert lovers in Melbourne. The food is playful, eccentric and tasty. Pierre Roelof has a pedigree of experience working at Michelin starred fine-diners like The Fat Duck and El Celler de Can Roca and Australian restaurants Interlude and Hotel Sofitel. The Thursday only dessert night, features a brand new set of desserts each week. Each week has an inspired ingredient or theme which guides the degustation. There are no repeats except for our night at ‘The best of desserts’.

Like many of Melbourne’s popular eateries, there is a no booking policy. I despise having to line up like cattle, but can accept it if I know the food is outstanding. To secure a table at Roelof’s night of nights, Mr M and I arrived at 6:30pm to queue in what could be described as Melbourne’s coldest evening. It was the ‘Best of night’: a night compiling the best desserts of the last three months. The doors open at 7:00pm. The lucky ones who braved the cold from 6:00pm were welcomed to the warm and cosy insides of the french inspired cafe. The rest of us poor folk were put on a waiting list, to be called when a seat became avaliable. Those who arrived any later would miss out entirely as there are a handful of tables only.

Cafe RosamondCafe Rosamond

Off we went back home to wait the longest two and a half hours in anticipation. After the expected phone call, we made our way back prepared for a magical night of culinary theatrics. Once we arrived we were seated in the exact same seats as our last visit. Perced on bar stools, I couldn’t help looking around to see what the previous session of dinners were eating. There are a few options when eating here. The full degustation, degustation plus a test tube or each individual course for $20.00 each. The degustion is three courses. There is no menu and the dishes are explained by explaining the main flavours, the rest is up to your palette to taste.

Mr M and I chose the degustation and a test tube to share. The test tube is a culinary oddity. A dessert, deconstructed, compressed into a test tube, to be slurped and gulped at like a mad science project. Like a child, I adored the sound of slurping and the awkward faces that ensue whilst tasting this deight. The idea is to take a traditional dessert and make it modern. This time I recieved the flavour of Bombe Alaska, it was Lemon Sherbet on our last visit. Bombe Alaska is a American dessert whereby ice-cream is topped with rum soaked sponge cake and meringue and baked in the oven. The deconstructed flavours were bold and perfectly matched. However, the experience was so quick, I did not get time to pick up the individual flavours in my head. It is definatly not for sharing, as my splurp contained most of the icecream and meringue, while Mr M was stuck with the rum jelly at the bottom. To truely enjoy the dish eat on it’s own.

The first course was beetroot, raspberry, chocolate brownie and cocoa dessert. This was by far the best dessert I have eaten here, in fact anywhere for a long time. A rich brownie, served with raspberry marshmellow, beetroot meringue and chips and cocoa shavings. To me anything that pairs raspberry and chocolate has a head start, but the addition of beetroot takes it to the next level.

The next course was a salted caramel popcorn soup. I was suprised to see this dessert at the ‘Best of night’, as I would class this as my least favourite Roelof dessert. Blended popcorn is served in a sweet warm soup, with a secret chocolate salty caramel ganache at the bottom of the bowl. I found this dish boring and once again (like my previous post about Luxbite) I cannot stress the importance of crushing the popcorn kernals properly before serving. While I struggled to find the excitement in this dish, the elderly couple seated next to me said that it revivied a emotional memory from childhood. I would assume that this would be the best compliment a chef could achieve.

The third course reminded me of endless days on the beach in summer, bright, tangy and colourful. The flavours were semolina, macadamia, golden syrup, marmelade, wheat and micro herbs. I found it hard to get my head around the flavour combinations but once I tried the flavours together I smiled with appreciation for the cuinary artistry. The lemon flavoured semolina was pureed untill velvety and smooth. It had just the right amount of citrus to pair with the sweetness of the golden syrup and marmelade jellies. The crunchy textures of wheat and macadamia is what Roelof has become infamous for. Mixing textures to create symphony in the mouth.

Cafe Rosamond

The dessert night at Cafe Rosamond has set the trend for dessert focused bars and restaurants in Melbourne. Roelof’s creativity has set him apart from the rest and made a dessert night at a small, ordinary looking cafe become one of Melbourne’s hottest eating experiences. Let the chef whip up his magic and carry you away to a night of just desserts….

Cafe Rosamond Dessert nights
Thursday 7:00pm-11:00pm
Rear 191 Smith Street
Fitzroy 3065
9419 2270
Café Rosamond on Urbanspoon

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