I have never needed an excuse to eat ice-cream… but if you’re the kind of person that does, then consider this:
a) Hong Kong’s hot and humid weather means that ice-cream is just the kind of delicious cool-down that the doctor ordered
b) If it isn’t hot and humid, then there’s most probably a torrential thunderstorm – in which case, ice-cream is the perfect rainy day pick-me-up instead!
However, not all ice-creams are created equal and sometimes a 99 from Mr Whippy just doesn’t cut the soft-serve. Instead, may I present you with the King Of The Sundaes, the Gelato VIP – Chef Ringo Chan of the Four Seasons Hong Kong, who has created some of the most beautiful, creative and downright delicious ice-creams I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting brain-freeze from.
Chef Ringo has come up with five special summer sundaes (try saying that when you have brain freeze!) for The Lounge and after volunteering as tribute to sample the lot (it’s a hard life), my favourite was the Pandan Joy, a tropical blend of pandan and coconut ice-cream with sesame tuiles, coconut flakes, and mini coconut and pumpkin cubes. Pandan + coconut + sesame = a flavour combination that practically trips off the tastebuds… like Posh Spice and David Beckham, it’s just meant to be. I loved how naturally sweet the ice-cream tasted, and the whole thing reduced me to a gooey pool of happy words sighed at random – creamy, mellow, addictive, swoon, yum, more please.
Runner-up was the Forbidden Chocolate… forbidden because none of you guys are allowed to have any so I can eat it all MWAHAHAHA. No but seriously, let me read you the ingredients: Jack Daniel’s and chocolate ice-cream, toffee nut popcorn, vanilla marshmallows, chocolate praline wafers and warm chocolate sauce. If you are not swimming in a pool of drool by the end of that sentence, I’m not sure we’re destined to become friends. This was Willy Wonka at his most inspired, a chocoholic’s wet dream. It was rich without being overwhelming (I loved the deep velvety intensity of the chocolate ice-cream), and somehow managed to turn a dish involving marshmallows and popcorn into something sophisticated, stylish and seriously stunning.
Giving me a Sophie’s choice of sundaes scenario, Summer Berries was also just as good but in a different way. Whilst Forbidden Chocolate is all devilish autumnal indulgence, Summer Berries feels like a bright zingy hit of summer – and the fact that there’s so much fruit in there means I can con myself into thinking that it’s even vaguely good for me too. Its presentation is beautiful, the sort of thing that ends up in a food stylist’s Hall Of Fame. I loved the blackberry twist gelato – swirls of tart fruitiness mixed into soft creamy vanilla – which was then topped with fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, moist raspberry cake, and the cutest crunchy-chewy mini cassis meringues and cubes of berry tea jello. Every bite just feels like a fresh adrenaline rush of sunshine – delightful.
If Summer Berries is going into the food stylist Hall Of Fame, then Blossoming Honey is so stunning that it should be the name of the building itself. Made from a lovely chamomile and lemon frozen yoghurt, this is a lighter choice than the first three sundaes. Together with a honey saboyon (a light custard), white peach compote and chunks of honeycomb, it was a touch too sweet for my palate – although at least it’s the kind of soft mellow sweetness that comes from natural flavours as opposed to E-numbers. It’s also kind of heart-breaking to crush up the daisy butter biscuit on top!
The Green Crush was probably my least favourite of the Four Seasons sundaes –simply because it’s far too healthy-looking to feel like a proper dessert to me! A “vegan mojito granita”, this was mostly minty and melon-y crushed ice, and felt more like a very beautiful palate cleanser than a sundae.
All the Four Seasons’ sundaes cost $140 each and come with some very yummy madeleines too. Yes, that’s definitely way more expensive than your average tub of Haagen Dazs – but do I really need to tell you that these ice-creams are way more special than your average tub of Haagen-Dazs too? Beautiful, creative and delicious, they’re a perfect once-in-a-while indulgence for Any Given Sundae, the cream of the crop. I promise you that they’re tastier than my food puns are, anyway!
Note: This review is based on both meals by invitation and at my own cost!
Four Seasons Hong Kong’s ice-cream sundaes are available until the end of September 2014; they create new flavours every summer
The Lounge, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3196 8820