As a special treat during Lunar New Year in 2016, lofty CBD restaurant Lotus, The Galeries has brought in Sam Yeo from Sydney dessert staple Black Star Pastry to help newly appointed Lotus Head Chef Tiffany Jones (Four in Hand, Banc Restaurant) create an exclusive dessert degustation, exploring both the various textures and tastes of Asian desserts, representing the three blessings of wealth, prosperity, and longevity. The menu will be offered for just five days in February, from the 10th to the 14th, at a set price of $68 per person ($98 with matching wines), and brings in unique twists and turns on traditional flavours, delivering complex, layered desserts that follow a round of Lotus’ savoury dumplings.
The menu begins with a shared plate of Lotus’ most popular dumplings: the juicy steamed jade prawn, the earthy steamed shiitake mushroom, the soft fresh scallop siu mai, and the rich fish and white radish. The skin is thin and holds the filling well, but on my particular visit, they were stickier than usual.
Following the savoury dumplings, the desserts kick off first with a palate-cleansing mouthful of Yuzu Jelly with chrysanthemum blossom, a quick intermission before a sweet steamed dumpling which represents wealth, filled with mandarin sorbet and custard, with lychee and orange sponge, resting in a light pool of chrysanthemum and ginger syrup. The complex approach to traditional flavours is admirable here, and it works well with so many complementary tastes tied together with the generously large dumpling.
Up next you have prosperity, a long roll of crispy bean skin filled with chocolate tofu, chocolate beancurd, black sesame, sesame oil caramel, and yarrow, topped with edible gold leaf. The sweetness is more subtle with this one, hiding inside that thin, crusty roll mixed with a slight bitterness from the tofu, again showcasing the considered balance of flavours that defines the menu.
The final dessert is perhaps the most ambitious, a glass representing Longevity with a layering of poached white peach, peony tea, white fungus, peach jelly, vanilla sponge, and raspberry with a raspberry tapioca cracker. It’s sweet and fruity with a chewy jelly that adds an interesting texture to the whole dessert, while adding a distinctive taste that separates it from any similar dessert, albeit with a divisive taste that not everyone will love.
The level of creativity with which Yeo and Jones have created these desserts sets the special menu apart this Lunar New Year, aiming at providing an experience rather than capitalising on the same old flavours done in predictable ways.
The degustation menu will be offered between 6pm and 9pm on the nights of the 10th-14th Feb. As mentioned above, the menu is set at $68 per person, or $98 with matching wines. Bookings are essential, with a minimum of two people per booking.
Lotus, The Galeries
Address: Level 1, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney
Contact: (02) 9267 3699
Photos supplied and used with permission.