From fusion fare and delicious classics, to dishes created by Michelin-starred chefs, restaurants in the UAE rarely do things by halves. At many of the country’s top eateries, the best is often saved for last, with enough decadent desserts to keep even the most sweet-toothed among us spoilt for choice. And all this variety breeds an air of competition, with restaurants constantly experimenting and adding elements to their dishes to keep them at the top of their game. Dubai’s newest sweet treat might be its most impressive yet: Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra in Business Bay has launched a dessert that levitates.
The theatrical floating chocolate uses magnets and nitrogen to make the indulgent dish literally float in mid-air – a feat that’s bound to impress the city’s Instagrammers. The dessert itself is chocolate truffle, made with 70 per cent dark chocolate, with a gooey chocolate centre. Molecular gastronomy is then used to pass nitrogen fumes through the centre of the truffle, which works alongside magnets to achieve the impressive trick. The dessert is part of the restaurant’s 12-course tasting menu, which costs between Dh215 and Dh245 per person.
The floating dessert is just one of many techniques used at the experimental Indian restaurant, which also employs syringes, tabletop distilleries and LED-blinking water baths to prepare and serve its dishes.
From the country’s most expensive ice cream to a cake that looks like it should belong in your shower, here are seven more indulgent desserts to add to your gourmet bucket list.
Black diamond at Scoopi
Scoopi Cafe in Dubai’s Jumeirah 3 is home to the most expensive ice cream in the UAE. The black diamond is a sundae made with vanilla bean ice cream from Madagascar, saffron from Iran, rare black truffles from Italy and 23K edible gold. It’s all served in a Versace bowl with a Versace spoon – which you get to keep.
Or, you can save yourself Dh3,000 and grab some of the cafe’s regular ice cream for a reasonably priced Dh15 a scoop. One big bonus: the ice cream at Scoopi is made with liquid nitrogen, which means it’s frozen at extremely low temperatures, resulting in a creamy, smooth texture.
Lotus mess at Mint Leaf of London
Lotus biscuits are a firm favourite of sugar lovers, and can be found in whole or crumbled form on many desserts. Mint Leaf of London in DIFC takes things one step further with its Lotus mess, a take on the British classic Eton mess, which features deconstructed meringue, fresh berries and whipped cream. Mint Leaf’s version swaps the meringue for crushed Lotus biscuits, the cream for ice cream, and tops things off with warm Lotus caramel.
What makes this Dh80 dessert so extravagant is its delicate display. Served in a wine glass, the Lotus mess is made to look like a floral garden, with edible pansies and flakes, and topped with an intricate floral spider’s web made from white chocolate.
Churro choco taco CrazyShake at BlackTap
Cult New York-based burger joint Black Tap is famed for its gut-busting “craft burgers” and elaborate “CrazyShakes”. The latter cost Dh70 a pop, and include concoctions such as cookies ’n’ cream supreme (which comes with a chocolate-frosted rim with crushed and crumbled Oreos, a cookies ’n’ cream sandwich, whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle) and candyfloss (with a vanilla-frosted rim, blue and pearl chocolates, a pink lollipop, rock candy and candyfloss). The latest addition to the CrazyShake menu is the churro choco taco, and it really is a monster made up of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch shake topped with two churros, a choco taco ice cream, whipped cream and a dulce de leche drizzle.
Our advice? If you’re heading to Black Tap for dinner, you might want to skip mains and go straight for dessert. The restaurant has branches at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai at Rixos Premium in JBR, Jumeirah Al Naseem and InterContinental Dubai Festival City.
Soap cake at Spice Klub
If you order the Soap Cake at Spice Klub, an Indian restaurant in Dubai’s Mankhool district, you might be left a little confused when it arrives. The bar of soap, complete with a foam topping and rolled-up flannel, looks so realistic, it would not appear out of place on your bathroom counter. The novelty dessert, which costs Dh45, is completely edible, though, and made from rich dark Belgian chocolate, and specially created dairy foam made using cream.
Other innovative desserts worth trying here include paan mousse, bubbling kulfi and the flower pot (rasmalai and saffron mousse in a Belgian couverture chocolate pot, topped with chocolate soil and served on pistachio soil).
Golden phoenix cupcake at Bloomsbury’s
Dessert parlour Bloomsbury’s has several branches across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but if you want to try the world's most expensive cupcake, head to the cafe at Dubai Mall. The Golden Phoenix cupcake is made with Amedei Porcelana chocolate from Italy, Ugandan vanilla beans and strawberries dipped in edible gold, topped with additional 23K edible-gold sheets. The cupcake is served with a golden spoon full of chocolate cream, and you can pick one up for Dh3,676, but you have to order it 48 hours in advance.
Chocolate bomb at Waka
For chocolate lovers, things don’t come much better than the chocolate bomb served at Latin American restaurant Waka at The Oberoi Dubai. The giant sphere is made from 62 per cent tempered Peruvian cocoa. The bittersweet pinata is smashed, or rather melted, using hot pouring chocolate, and within lie chunks of brownie, lime and raspberry sorbet, ice cream, meringue, fruit including bananas and berries, and hazelnuts, all for Dh95.
Eden garden at Doors Freestyle Grill
If you regularly struggle to decide what you want for dessert, Doors Freestyle Grill located in Dubai Creek has the perfect option for you. Not only does its flamboyant and extravagant Eden garden offer 10 different desserts in one, it looks seriously impressive. Among the range of sweet things are Turkish baklava, fresh fruit, Umm Ali, raisin composto, trileche and chocolate fondant, topped with a gold-sprinkled chocolate sphere. It can be ordered in either two to four servings for Dh395, or six to eight servings for Dh750.
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