We’ve all ooh’d and ahh’d at beautiful desserts at the end of our meal. But Atum Desserant in Hong Kong takes it to the next level by making dessert, the only meal served here, a live artistic experience as you watch it being created in front of you. Upon arrival, we were led to the bar where we were offered our welcome drinks – a tasty guava elixir – in test tubes. No doubt an allusion to our pending chemistry lesson with food…
In the mood for surprise, we chose the “Improvisation for Two,” which would allow our artist to improvise freely. We were first instructed to choose 1 out of 3 mat templates – black, gray, or white; we chose black. Jason, one of the owners, introduced himself as our artist for the night and inquired about any food allergies. Of course, my husband is the only Asian person on this planet allergic to tofu. After assuring us there would be no tofu or raw soybeans involved, Jason got to work. He also gave a passionfruit shoutout to our blog!
He described each ingredient as he splashed, tossed, or placed it onto our canvas: “Lemon coconut jelly. Passionfruit and green apple panna cotta. Chocolate pudding. Yuzu cream. Black charcoal bamboo crisps. Green Tea mochi. Honeycomb crumbles. Strawberry and orange sugar…”
“It’s OK, you can use your hands and start tasting it.” Jason must have noticed me salivating quietly over the canvas. So I nibbled on some freeze-dried raspberry flakes that I carefully pinched from my corner, while he started mixing a large bowl. I was so excited to learn that the mixture would soon become nitrogen pear sorbet and black charcoal ice cream! After explaining that we had to let the ice cream sit for a while lest the coldness burn us, he plopped the last bits of the fresh ice cream onto the rest of his masterpiece as the nitrogen smoke enshrouded our excited faces. Last but not least, Jason carefully placed strands of pink dragon-beard candy onto his work of art, which by now we could already taste just by looking at it.
Eating this deconstructed montage of art was a new and fun experience, especially when I kept losing control of the ice cream as I chased it with my spoon around jelly blockades and panna cotta hills. The black charcoal ice cream, chocolate pudding, and honeycomb crumbles were my favorite combinations. We ended our meals with a cup of “Insomnia” – hot milk and honey, and a fruit-infused tea. This tea was brewed in front of us with a contraption straight out of high school chemistry class. We even got to take the bulb, filled with fruits and spices, in our hands to smell the aroma.
We also met Jason’s partner, who was busy plating a concoction of their “Uncertain” dish, a mystery menu item which looked very fruity and exotic. He was super nice, entertained my inquisitive self, and even swiveled the dessert around to let us have a closer look. At 11pm, we bid goodbye to our now catastrophic-looking dessert mat, as well as the 16th floor skyline behind us. A memorable way to sweeten our palates after a weekend full of good eats!
ATUM desserant / Causeway Bay, Hong Kong