When I saw Gourmet Traveller's announcement to the twitterverse that Shaun Quade was preparing dessert evenings at the Duchess of Spotswood, I made sure to secure a table for two in for the next available seating. The dessert evenings are held exclusively on Monday nights starting on 17th September until the 17th of December, which will recommence early 2013.
This was my first time visiting the Duchess of Spotswood so I was delighted to be finally visiting this cosy and quaint cafe/restaurant. I am still in the process of trying to wake up before noon to make here to try their brunch menu - one day! Arriving at 7pm, we were led to our table and explained how the dessert evenings played out. Four courses finished off with petit fours exhibiting Shaun Quade's unique concept on desserts. Matching wines to accompany the desserts were listed and the red sparkling wine, in particular, sounded appealing but with thoughts of the decadent dessert degustation looming, we settled on water. A little sad but considering the impending desserts, I didn't want to be too much of a glutton. Also to note, my photos are a little grainy - I had forgotten my camera that day so had to resort to using Mr A's camera phone, sigh.
Our first dessert course arrived and I was happy to just sit there receiving a stream of dessert courses. On a disc of browned spiced curd, lay a single cured egg yolk filled with pumpkin oil with savoury pumpkin seeds and candied ginger scattered around. The cured egg yolk had a texture of semi hard cheese with a slightly salted taste which reminded me of salted egg yolks. The spiced curd was mellow and creamy, contrasting deliciously against the salty cured egg yolk and sweet pumpkin oil.
Our next dessert course was presented by Shaun Quade himself who humbly thanked us for attending his dessert evenings. He then proceeded to pour a smoking concoction of coconut powder onto our dish. The slice of tart yet sweet pineapple was complemented with the classic combination of creamy coconut and kaffir lime. The wild fennel added a hint of licorice which went surprisingly well.
The third dessert would have to be my favourite. Underneath the organised mess of elements and textures were soft, caramelised bananas marrying well with the sweet malt and rich, luscious pieces of raw cacao. Delicious.
The last of the dessert courses was an assembly of bitter chocolate twigs and licorice moss, made up to look like a birds nest. The egg shell was sugary sweet but a minty aftertaste and inside was a licorice mousse/foam. I wasn't able to finish this course as I was really full by this point. The waiter pointed out that I made the fatal mistake of eating dinner before coming here, doh!
Petit fours to finish off our dessert evening. The charred sweetcorn butter was cold and melted slowly in my mouth. After a while, the flavours of the caramelised sweetcorn butter came through and it tasted very similar to butterscotch. It was very rich but delicious.
Our night at Shaun Quade's dessert evenings was a long one - arriving at 7pm and leaving around 8:40pm however time passed quickly and it sure didn't feel that long, although our asses disagreed (the chairs were not kind to them). The desserts were not only an exploration of textures but the harmony of flavours combinations so we enjoyed our night very much.
Will I return? Yes, I would definitely recommend others to visit!
Shaun Quade's Dessert Evenings at Duchess of Spotswood
87 Hudsons Road
Spotswood VIC 3015
(03) 9391 6016