Taste Test: Chocolate Fondant
The Parisian obsession for le moelleux au chocolat has belatedly caught on with pastry chefs in Mumbai, who are on a mission to ensure that the decadent chocolate dessert becomes as ubiquitous as the crème brûlée. On dessert menus across the city, le moelleux, a rich chocolate cake with a soft, sunken centre known to weaken the deepest resolve is called chocolate fondant or chocolate lava cake. The key to making a good fondant is tempering the chocolate to perfection. We sampled it at five restaurants to find the best:
4 Mandalik Road, Colaba. Tel: 6636 8999.
For a perfectly turned out chocolate fondant, a 20-minute wait is a given. At Indigo, we had to wait an additional 10 for their jalapeno-spiced chocolate fondant served with creme Anglaise, a creamy sauce made of egg yolks, milk, sugar and flavoured with vanilla. Sadly, instead of using the extra time to plate the dish perfectly, our chef seemed to have let the dessert rest in the oven for too long, as the cake arrived on the table looking charred and dry. The tongue-singeing temperature of the cake combined with the jalapeno bits in the molten chocolate set our palate on fire, making us most grateful for the scoop of vanilla ice cream served alongside. ★☆☆☆☆
InterContinental Marine Drive, 135 Marine Drive. Tel: 3987 9999.
Chef Ian Kittichai, renowned for his innovations with Thai food, has also put his spin on the fondant, which is served chilled at Koh, his restaurant at The InterContinental Marine Drive. His bittersweet Lindt chocolate lava has a thick, rich, cold mousse shell heavily garnished with chocolate shavings. It’s no mean feat that the pool of liquid dark Lindt concealed within its core is of the same low temperature as the shell. Although the dessert is expertly prepared, the rich denseness of the mousse makes it impossible to finish. ★★☆☆☆
Trident, C-56, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex. Tel: 6672 7777.
Chef Daniele Capobianco’s baked chocolate and berry fondant is placed on a thin square sheet of milk chocolate and served with a scoop of handmade wild berry ice cream. The warm fondant has a soft, oozing texture all through to its liquid centre, which is infused with raspberry coulis. While it could have done with a firmer wall, the fondant was near perfect. ★★★☆☆
TWO ONE TWO BAR & GRILL
12-A, Hornby Vallard Estate, opposite Nehru Centre, next to the BMW showroom, Worli. Tel: 2490 1994.
A chocolate fondant is meant to be as appealing to the eyes as it should be irresistible to taste and the one at Two One Two Bar & Grill scores on both counts. Here, the spongy, icing sugar-dusted cake yields to the slightest pressure from the spoon. The warm fondant, filled with thick oozing chocolate, is no bigger than a golf ball, which is the perfect size for a dessert so rich and decadent. ★★★★☆
PALI VILLAGE CAFE WINNER
Next to Janata Lunch Home, Pali Naka, Bandra (West). Tel: 2605 0401.
The 20-minute wait at this charming Bandra restaurant is rewarded with a dark brown hockey-puck shaped cake served on a shallow pool of white chocolate and orange sauce, and garnished with two wedges of orange. As soon as you crack its firm shell , velvety chocolate gushes forth and turns the immaculate white of the sauce into a murky yet delectable mix of dark and white chocolate. The hint of orange lends a welcome tartness to the mix of flavours. ★★★★1/2