What? I don’t go to fancy joints often, Ogglers, but when I do I expect big things: concepts I can’t find in other places; flavours to blow my mind.
So when I saw ‘Rice Pudding Brûlée with Prunes and Armagnac’ on the menu of the lavish Bob Bob Ricard, I found myself rubbing my trotters with glee.
Here was something I’d never envisaged before, let alone put in my mouth – and the consequences of it could be great.
Just imagine what else might benefit from a cheeky little booster of Brûlée: Ice Cream; Yoghurt; a boring old piece of bread. All at once there was a whole new genre of desserts, just waiting to be discovered.
For the moment, however, the idea of it crowning a creamy bowl of Rice was far and away the most promising: I pictured a gooey, Vanilla pudding, sealed with a decadent Caramel crust, brought to life with a shimmer of booze and the odd rich pruney glob.
I could hardly wait to try it.
But, alas, reality refused to deliver.
What arrived was not a dish with a glowing top, or anything I could crack with the back of a spoon. In fact, the dessert that B.B.R. had created was not brûléed at all: instead it was a bowl of Rice with a lattice of hard Caramel resting lightly across the top.
Perhaps I should report them for mislabelling. As we all know, ‘brûlée’ – from the French for ‘burnt’ – is a process involving a blow torch and thick drifts of sugar. The resulting glaze is part of the pudding – not something which can be lifted and left to one side.
Such definitions are important. Otherwise, what’s to stop anyone wearing a Caramel lattice hat, then selling themselves as a ‘Brûlée’ too?
False labels and fakeness aside, the taste of the thing was also a letdown.
Essentially, it was flavourless: I could see Vanilla Pods but couldn’t taste them; my Prunes were not punchy or boozy. They barely registered. And although the Rice was pleasant and silky enough, the whole combination was sadly sub-par.
It’s not as if they don’t know how to make decent Brûlées at that place – The Man ordered a trio of them, all perfectly formed, which were worth a small round of applause.
But for flavourful Rice-based puddings, take my advice: go elsewhere, or make your own.
Where? Bob Bob Ricard is in Soho, London
How Much? £6.50 (plus a ‘discretionary’ 12.5% tip)