17/06/2017 by Eve Tedja 0 Comments
We started off from scratch. Back then, we had very limited tools and we just continue to improve it step-by-step over the next few years,” says Will Goldfarb, reminiscing about the humble beginning of Room4Dessert in Ubud, Bali. His beginning, however, is far from humble. He has been called a Pastry Genius. The first incarnation of Room4Dessert in New York City received a critical acclaim in 2006 and cemented his status as a leader of the avant-garde dessert scene.
Then, Goldfarb decided to leave New York City behind and made a fresh start in Bali. Our gain, New York’s pain, I say. In 2014, he opened Room4Dessert in Ubud and startled the culinary scene with his boldness in opening a dessert bar. Before, dessert has always been put aside as the sweet ending of a meal. Room4Dessert proves them wrong by creating not one but nine courses of dessert in one seating. Taking inspiration from the medicinal herbs, local produce, market visit, and the abundance of natural ingredients in Indonesia, Goldfarb and his energetic team creates two different set menus per year. On top of that, they also offer classic cocktails and fine wines to be paired for each dish in the menu.
The dark and intimate ambience of Room4Dessert provides a sanctuary for the lost souls who are craving for sugar, spice, and alcohol. At the heart of it, stand a long dessert bar with a well-stocked cabinet of spirits and liquors. I take my seat there and finally decided on three a la carte desserts after a careful reading on the interestingly named desserts. Guest also can order all nine desserts or half portion of everything. Upbeat tunes are filling the air while conversation with the talents behind the bar keeps me company. “This is my first job and this August, it’s going to be my second year here,” said Angling, the 20 years old Balinese bartender who expertly making me a punchy New York Sour.
The drink is paired with the literary inspired dessert called Whiskey, Torture, Turgenev. The smoky char grilled pineapple is accompanied by a melt-in-your-mouth sable breton, vanilla ice cream, smooth whiskey mousse, and sorghum popcorn. The pairing works well together, balancing the sweetness with the right amount of sour. Indeed, the desserts read like a line-up of Indonesia’s rich natural produce: cashew, moringa, mangosteen, coconut, cocoa, rosella, and so much more.
Goldfarb greets his guests personally while letting his team preparing the carefully hand-crafted dishes, one by one. Andre, one of the bright young pastry chef from Jakarta, has been working at Room4Dessert for one year. He works closely with Goldfarb in creating the menu and admits that he has learned a lot of things. “Creativity and innovation are the two most important things that I learned here,” claims Andre. Goldfarb also attributes the success of his dessert bar to his team.
“Look, it is not easy to make a dessert place but it just shows you how hard our team have been working in the past three years. For many of them, Room4Dessert is their first jobs. I consider us fortunate to attract such talented and passionate people, and it is our commitment to develop their skill and talent. They can be the next generation of Indonesian pastry chefs at the level of anywhere in the world,” says Goldfarb.
My second treat is the Incidente Stradale. This tribute to coconut is made of coconut water, coconut water vinegar, white coffee, and turmeric jamu. Often dubbed by the staff at Room4Dessert, as the Balinese tiramisu because of its similarity in texture, the dessert is plated beautifully on a thick ceramic ware. The dessert is a strong evidence of Room4Dessert’s philosophy in creating delicious thing that also look good and make the guests happy. Needless to say, by this time, I am smiling ear-to-ear.
Saving the best for last, I ended my evening of sweet treat with Chocolate Caramel Créme Bruleé. Dark, sweet, bitter, and salty are mixing luxuriously together in each and every spoonful of it. Apparently, magic happens when you put caramel, rosella, and sea salt together. Before leaving the premise, I manage to ask Goldfarb and Andre about what can we expect from the next new menu. They grin and throw me a mysterious look. “It will be called The Late Twentieth Century Troubadours and the Trouble with Persephone. Expect a contemporary take on classical dishes with local ingredients, delicious flavour, and interesting technique,” tells Andre.
Jl. Sanggingan, Ubud, Bali
P + 62 361 553 2598