On assignment for Sun Star Cebu Plus & Special section’s Food Issue, here are my personal picks for my dessert feature:
BOCAS Modern Patisserie
A classic meringue base with local Mulberry Jam, Mulberry Mousse, fresh Strawberries — to be eaten with intact calyxes, whipped cream and caramel tuille with garnishes of Dragonfruit, whole Mulberries, Passionfruit sauce, Peppermint Geleé and freshly-shaved Pistachio. All components are artfully plated and it surprises with deliberate restraint on the sugar to allow one to appreciate natural sweetnesses of the fruit and the myriad of other flavors.
Uni Ice Cream
Fresh uni is folded into a frozen custard base with a touch of Japanese seasoning and served on a sea urchin half-shell with fresh mangoes, a dash of sesame seeds and a Nori crisp. Wasabi cream and a soy reduction add punches of additional flavor as functional sauce garnishes alongside chocolate pebbles. The boundaries of the sweet-and-savory trend are pushed further to the edge here by the chefs no stranger to successful experimentations in many other seasonal offerings.
The Ultimate Fujinoya Experience Bento
Light Matcha Shortcake filled with an equally light Azuki Cream, No-Bake Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce and the palatably rich Fujinoya Special Chocolate Cake are enjoyed in that order with assorted Meringues, cream and fresh fruits in between as a palate cleanser , all these with the most flavor-unobtrusive green tea to wash it down. The graduation from light to heavier flavors and textures are spot-on the Japanse sense of order and makes for a rather mindful dessert experience.
Mango Cheese Sulbing
Sulbing Dessert Café
Snowy ice, already great to eat all by itself, is dished in intimidatingly large servings with assortments of toppings. The franchise’s nutty flagbearer, Injeolmi, takes a backseat to the local mango with its renowned rich fruit sweetness. The inclusion of cheesecake pieces transform the fruit with the savory notes while, in turn, its saltine, milky qualities are simultaneously played up for a compelling combination of flavors over the soft, icy texture.
The Pig & Palm
Limited to a single selection from the impressive dessert lineup at this island’s latest buzzword, the Basil Sorbet is my top pick. The aromatic basil registers a minty, peppery sweetness balanced by the creamy yoghurt mousse. Punctuations of tartness come from the lemon puree with texture by way of the malt meringue shards in this refreshingly light and downright delicious dessert one could definitely have seconds of.
Room For Dessert
Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Room For Dessert’s Soft Serve Ice Cream Specials are their social media stars with their undeniable visual appeal. The dark horse is their rather unassuming Cookie Dough Cheesecake. The guilty childhood thrill of sneaking a bit of the cookie dough from the mixing bowl merges with the weighty goodness of an old-fashioned cheesecake in an inarguably decadent treat. The cookie topping each slice makes a welcome dunker in the plain, black coffee it goes best with.
Coconut Binignit Gelato
Distict on 53rd
Off the requisite eye-popping presentation, District on 53rd’ keeps it simple with a straight-up scooping. The comforting familiarity of the popular snack soup, binignit, gets elevated in gelato form leaning heavy on the coconut flavor. Saba bananas, jackfruit, taro, sago and other binignit ingredients are suspended in the dense, milky gelato base as they would in what’s usually a hot, sticky liquid. The intense flavor true to inspiration goes squarely on the tongue and melts away to leave a clean palate in this traditional dish with a twist.