London: July 2021
We tried Albert Adrià’s moneymaking project in London, bringing the desserts from elBarri to Regent Street. The décor, influenced by his collaboration with the Hotel Café Royal, feels opulent, yet unsophisticated. A majority of the patrons seem to fit the lavishness of the place, with some seemingly there just to snap a photo with a rose and a bottle of Dom Pérignon. While the cakes are great, the bubbles are exorbitantly priced. It’s best to steer clear of them.
Adrià’s 2021 book, Candy. Los Postres del Barri, features many recipes that are also on the menu at Cakes & Bubbles. A highlight is We started with The Rose Lychee, an elaboration from 2014 designed to surprise Pierre Hermé – famous for his Isaphan trio of rose, raspberry and lychee – during a visit to Tickets. It consists of a sphere of raspberry and lychee, rested atop a rose that’s sprayed with rose water to mimic mist. For a touch of interactive playfulness, customers are prompted to use the rose to guide the sphere to their mouth, experiencing the feel of the petals against their lips. Simple and smart.
Next was a Baklava, made in the shape of a pillow by binding two layers of filo pastry with a heat sealer. When baked, the pastry puffs up, resembling a pillow. It’s then filled from the bottom with a foam of chocolate and pistachio, offering a light and ethereal bite.
This was accompanied by a couple of trompe-l’œils. The first, Cakes & Bubbles Corks, was a chocolate mousse filled with hazelnut praline crunch and covered with a steamed coffee sponge cake.
The second trompe-l’œil was The Cheese Cake, a dish that has become an iconic dessert of Cakes & Bubbles, even though it was created for Tickets in 2015. Its appearance is deceptive, resembling a cheese like a Coulommiers or a Baron Bigod brie. But delve inside, and you’ll find a core of whipped cream cheese and Baron Bigod, encased in a coating of white chocolate and hazelnut paste. To complete the illusion, the cake is wrapped in cheesecloth, achieving a texture that’s strikingly similar to a cheese rind. Another clever creation that, beyond its deceitful look, delivered the savoury notes of a Baron Bigod brie.
Finally, the Passion Golden Egg Flan was simply a couple of spoonfuls of flan infused with passion fruit. While the portion was minimal and it was priced at £9, it was delicious.