BISTRO A TABLE,
6, Jalan 17/54, Seksyen 17,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: 03-7931 2831
Business hours: Tuesday to Sunday,6.30 to 10.30pm,
Noon to 2.30 (Friday). Closed on Monday.
Magic pills enhance desserts by miraculously changing sour and bitter flavours.
SOME of us love our desserts, while others can go without the comforting taste of sugar to end their meal.
While sugar is used, often abundantly, in cakes, pastries and drinks, cutting down is wise for the sake of your health.
But what if you could enjoy dessert without the sugar, yet be greeted with the comforting taste of something sweet caressing your taste buds?
Welcome to chef Isadora Chai’s world as Bistro a Table is probably the only restaurant in town offering sugarless desserts that promise to be satisfyingly good.
Chai refers to these desserts as ‘mindscrew’, simply because of the magic pills she serves alongside her sugarless creations.
These little white dotted pinkish tablets are derived from a plant which produces miracle berries, known as Synsepalum dulcificum (top pic).
After consuming the berry, it encourages sour foods and bitter flavours to miraculously taste sweet. For example, the minute you bite into a slice of lemon or sip a cup of black coffee, you will experience a sweet sensation.
The plant, which originates from West Africa, is known in the native tongue as agbayun, taami, asaa andledidi but is commonly called miracle fruit, miracle berry, miraculous berry and even sweet berry in the Western world.
Bursting with excitement for us to discover the magical effect of the flavour-enhancing tablet, Chai encouraged us to taste the dessert before popping the pill in our mouth.
She watched knowingly as Glenn and I sucked on the pill for about five minutes, before we dipped our spoon into the ‘Mindscrew’ Black Apple Marbles with Spiced Chai Cream and Basil Seeds, again.
Looking more like grapes swimming in a light pale cream sauce, Chai used carved apples coated with tinted gelatine for this simple yet elegant dish.
This particular ‘mindscrew’ dessert was prepared minus the sugar, but as soon as we tasted it, a delicate sweetness crept in and charmed our palate, elevating the cream and masala chai flavour.
The ‘spiced chai’ in the cream mimics spiced tea, commonly savoured by people of Indian origin and has a blend of Assam tea, cardamom, cloves, ginger, coriander seeds and pepper.
“It always has to be a before and after sensation.
“Diners are required to taste the dessert first, then take the pill, before having a go at the dessert again,” she said.
Having discovered the tablets in a healthfood store in Sweden, Chai decided to call any dessert with the magic pills served alongside, ‘mindscrew’ because of its effect on the taste buds and how it tricks the mind.
“The tablet temporarily alters your taste buds, so that anything that is sour will turn sweet, and the taste of anything sweet is augmented.
“Coffee is bitter but due to the acidity, it becomes sweet.
“And if you are a wine connoisseur, it is advisable not to drink wine after having the tablet because everything will be sweetened unless you want it to become dessert wine,” said Chai, who gets her supply of the magic pills from London.
The other ‘mindscrew’ dessert we tried was the Sugarless Yoghurt and Pineapple Roulade with Sarawakian Pink Pepper Tuile, Green Apple Ice Cream and Mango Puree, which drastically heightened in flavour right after we had finished sucking on the pill.
“I am open to exciting the palate with new discoveries and offering diners the opportunity to venture into a whole new dimension,” said Chai.
She added that Heston Blumenthal, who is known to accentuate flavours with the use of uncommon ingredients to excite the diner’s gastronomic experience, has intrigued chefs with the miracle berry.
The Synsepalum dulcificum substance was among other food chemicals in a kitchen kit devised by Blumenthal’s ‘food architects’ Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, who worked with Blumenthal on Heston’s Feasts(Blumenthal’s television show on British television) about two years ago.
The best thing about enjoying these desserts is that now even diabetics who are often cautioned to stay away from delectable sweets, can relish a taste of confectionary and more, without worrying about a spike in their blood sugar.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.