Wednesday, July 15, 2009

zumbo time!

The name Adriano Zumbo meant nothing to me until early this year, when my venture into the realm of food blogging brought page after page of photos and reviews of his "divinely" dessert creations. Talks of cakes, chocolate and macarons made me drool like a fool during my lonely himono onna* net surfing hours, and the Zumbo name refused to go away.

*himono onna: from the J-Drama Hotaru no Hikari, the term refers to young women who prefer to laze around at home, surfing the net, watching TV and reading manga than to go out with friends during their free time.

Cake Box, Adriano Zumbo

Nestled between a bottleshop and a chemist, the actual Zumbo patisserie is a narrow and long space, with just enough room for a shop assistant (or two), the cakes and a handful of customers at any one time: three is, at Zumbo's, definitely a crowd.

While pastries, croissants and bread feature, the cakes definitely steal the spotlight. Each one is an edible piece of artwork, seemingly careless yet deliberate in its execution, a simple, yet provocative both visually and in terms of taste. No sloppiness, no nonsense.

Sacher's sister Blanca

Like the blondie to the brownie, Blanca is the white chocolate and pear reinterpretation of the classic Viennese Sachertorte. The top layer of white chocolate ganache is creamy and vanilla-y, and unbelievably smooth. The sacher cake provides a lovely background for the white chocolate and pear notes, but to me the dark chocolate ganache is a stroke of genius. Where the other flavours are lovely and light, this packs a punch, providing the perfect contrast.

Upside down Cloud

I've been wanting to try out the Upside down Cloud ever since seeing the collection. A rework of the Zumbo classic, it is essentially a baked meringue pavlova with lemon curd, topped with devine sable dust. The lemon curd is what a lemon curd should be: smooth, rich, and very, very lemony. The meringue crust is crisp and melts in your mouth, the centre soft and slightly chewy. The sable dust rounds off the entire experience, with its buttery scent and grainy texture.

Miss Marple, deconstructed.

This is a dessert from the cafe menu. Maple and mascarpone filled crepes in orange butter, with strawberries and frozen orange jellies. While the crepes didn't have the "wow" factor I expected (it was too gooey and rich), the frozen orange jellies were surprisingly good. It was like eating shaved orange ice which slowly turned into a jelly as it melted in your mouth, before exploding and washing your tastebuds with freshly squeezed real orange juice.

While Zumbo is a little expensive (the cakes were around $7 each, and Miss Marple almost $14), they are worth their price. The quality of ingredients and the genius of the creations are unparalleled, each like a refreshing Murakami novel- the familiar is made unfamiliar through imagination, style, and execution. It is best shared with someone close to your heart: each cake is an experience that can, in itself, carry a full conversation, as well as being quite filling.

1 comment:

  1. Zumbo's cakes are something else, huh? There's quite a number I've yet to try and I hear the macarons are really good!