Room 4 Dessert Interior

Room 4 Dessert Interior

Although Asian cuisines are not known for sweets, dessert bars are a common substitute for the wine bar culture of Europe. The trends are ever changing, spiking and dying in a matter of months. Many of them start in Korea. First there was the shaved ice, so popular in so many Far Eastern countries such as the Philippines with Halo Halo, South Korea or even North Korea. Sophisticated versions can be found in hip and alternative cafes across the region. Then there was the frozen yogurt. Next came the milk ice cream with honey. Going out for food seems to be the national pastime in many Asian countries. Teenagers meet up at the local dessert parlor after the other national sport, shopping. There, they sit around a pyramid of goodness, piling layers and layers of ice cream, shaved ice, beans, sprinkles of nuts, fresh fruits and other condiments.

At night, dessert and cocktail bars are proving a winning combination to those looking for an alternative to the loud clubs and bars. Designer desserts paired with sour cocktails are sprouting in major Asian cities. Ubud, Bali’s cultural center, is the country’s culinary laboratory and is always first to showcase the new trends in food.

Will Goldfard

Will Goldfard

Locavore is promoting 100% locally sourced food; long-term favorite, Mozaic, incorporates local Balinese spices and ingredients into Western dishes; raw restaurants are spreading like in no other part of meat-loving Southeast Asia. Thus, it comes at no surprise that Ubud is also the place where a dessert and cocktail bar led by veteran Will Goldfarb, would be most logically found in Indonesia.

Chef Will invited us into his dark room of pleasure in the heart of Ubud. With desserts named “50 Shades of Grace” and a champagne menu titled “Bubbles Rule!”, Room 4 dessert is a fun and playful take on a meal’s happy ending.

Beautifully plated dessert

Cheeky and naughty, Will’s dishes combine local spices, nuts and aromatics from Bali’s bountiful gardens with seasonal fruits and traditional dessert ingredients like chocolate, vanilla and sugar. The result is a flabbergasting explosion of unusual flavors that are unlikely to be found anywhere else. As someone who believes a meal cannot end without dessert, I was in food heaven.

We embarked on a tasting journey of the nine desserts on the menu, which we shared among the four of us. As it could be no other way, the dishes were beautifully presented and mysterious. It was hard to tell what each one would taste like as we had no reference as to the flavors listed under the description of each. We had been invited to a blind tasting of Bali’s uniqueness.

Wonderful dessert

The tasting started with 50 shades of Grace, a glutinous rice, tangerine and whey combination that was airy and fluffy. The tangerine was just the right amount of sour, balancing the silky texture of the rice. It disappeared within seconds.

Next came the Chocobubbles Too.Oh a chocolate base dessert that was styled like a tootsie roll with belimbing (star fruit) raisin and kluwak crumble. The chocolate part looked and tasted like the lightest of mousses. The flavor was there but the texture was as if we were trying to eat clouds. Kluwak is a black nut similar to the ones used for beef rending, a very aromatic and creamy nut that is slightly bigger than an almond in the shell and is as hard. It is a poisonous nut and can only be eaten if fermented. It grows on tall trees among mangroves. Because it takes years for the seeds to ripe, the trees can only be found wildly as it is not economically viable to cultivate them. The crumble was fine and crunchy and added a texture to the otherwise disappearing mousse.

Loneliness dessert at Room4Dessert

Loneliness dessert at Room4Dessert

The Little Tart was our next treat. Raspberry, yogurt, lime, kemangi (lemon basil) and green tea may sound like a strange mix but proved to be an interesting experiment. Our delicacy sat in the middle of a large plate, the red and green colors tamed by the dimmed lights. The green tea came in the form of ice cream. We had to fight for a piece, wanting more.

No tropical dessert bar would be complete without a coconut dish. Coco Beware has caramelized coconut, coconut cake and aloe vera. The foam topped with a thin stream of caramelized coconut and the crunchy biscuit were just delicious. The plate was garnished with the brightest edible blue flower. It was deliciously exotic and made my tequila mango cocktail, an me, very happy.

Delicious dessert

Several restaurants and cafes across Bali serve a light brown and fine sugar made from a local palm tree. It is not as sweet as the shelf white version and it has a very refined taste. Will used it for the Searching for Sugarman recipe where he combined it with mangosteen and belinjo. The three ingredients were made into different textures and the palm sugar had a crumbling texture and a flavor reminiscent of cotton candy; as soon as I bit on it, it disappeared in my palate. Oh the culinary art!

The Brioche French Toast came in an interesting tower with the three layers of passion fruit, yogurt and tarragon, in an oil form. The flavors were so concentrated I could taste the olives in the tarragon oil drops, and they were tiny.

Paying tribute to the variety of local fruits, Will included his take on a Fruit Plate that featured fresh fruits from his favorite farmers. We got a pretty yellow plate including various textures of jelly, ice cream, crunchy biscuit and shredded pomelo. I could tell flavors of mango, passion fruit and other citruses.

Inventive dessert

As in any other meal, the menu also included Petit Fours with Cocoa Butter Caramel, Lime Leaf Madeleine, Dried Crème Brulee and Salak (snake fruit). As with the rest of the menu, each small morsel of sweetness was perfectly rounded. The caramel tasted and looked like a soft toffee. The dried crème brulee melted in your mouth from the solid state and the salak had the consistency of a sugar-topped jelly.

The meal ended with the Crème Brulee “Allegee” in a single serve wooden box and with a solid layer of burnt sugar.

I was sorry when the last dishes came out. “Already done?”, I asked myself. Shame all good things come to an end. When in Ubud, make room for dessert.

If sweets are not what you are after, L’Hort, the bar/bistro at the back of Room 4 Dessert serves savory treats in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

When in Ubud, make room 4 dessert.

  • Kathrin Hälbich

    Live is too short to skip dessert. Room4Dessert looks like the place to be!

  • #ljojlo_trvlblog

    Food and Bali…two of my loves. I will actually be in Ubud in January so I think I will need to go and check this place out. Thanks for the great article 🙂

  • contented traveller

    Yes, I could do these dishes very easily. As you say many Asian countries are not renowned for desserts so this is a bonus in the delightful Ubud.

  • Backroad Planet

    Chef Will is one inventive man! I think the Crème Brulee “Allegee” would have been my favorite. And, I now know Ubud is in Bali!

  • Tara Povey

    Well this is creative. I’m a bit hungry now!
    I LOVE snake fruit!

  • I really love the presentation and the fact that Will uses locally sourced food. The creations look really sumptuous.

  • I have such a sweet tooth and these dishes got my mouth watering! Culinary exploration is clearly on display here! No offense to your beautiful photos or descriptive text, but I think I’d need to taste all of them to figure out my favorite (wink wink)!

  • Room 4 Dessert definitely sounds like my kind of place! I love the way chef Goldfard plays with unexpected flavour combinations.

  • Andrea Leblang

    Wow! Each dish is beautifully presented, and I love the creativity in Chef Will’s creations… including the names of his dishes! I’m always known to make room for desert, but I rarely expect sweets as amazing as these. I’m salivating!

  • Off to get an extra dessert right now!

  • Carly Moore

    I’m drooling. Ubud doesn’t come to mind when thinking about places with desert bars, but that places certainly looks a treat. (hahaha)

  • Jessica

    This is heaven! 🙂 I was in Ubud last June for the first food festival. Room For Dessert should have a spot for next year’s festival.

  • Alli Blair

    I am so wanting to devour all of those desserts! They look phenomenal! 9 Tastings!!! That is an awesome day 🙂 🙂

  • Ooh! This is neat. I’m heading to Bali next year and wouldn’t have know to look for dessert bars but will have to save this place for when I visit. Thanks!

  • Toccara

    Oh yes, there is ALWAYS room for desert! I’d be all over the creme brulee! We all know it’s so hard to choose when presented with a dessert menu; that’s so neat that you got to sample so many desserts.

  • Mags

    I’m not usually impressed with the desserts in Asian cuisine, but I’d have to give this a try. Those desserts look amazing.

  • Karilyn (NoBackHome)

    Wow! Some crazy interesting looking desserts! I LOVE ubud and the food scene has become really amazing in the last few years. I will have to put some of these on my list to try.

  • By the sound of it, I’d love to try 50 Shades of Grace!

  • Megan Claire

    I love this idea! I would absolutely be up for a dessert bar instead of a noisy club!! I have a massive sweet tooth so I’m quite looking forward to heading in when we make our way to Bali next year 🙂 Thanks!

  • Elena Sonnino

    Oh my goodness. I love this. I’ve never been to Ubud – but this by itself it is a good reason to go (as are many other reasons, but I swoon for beautiful and delicious desserts!)

  • Another activity I missed in Ubud! 🙁

  • Oh great! True, SEA is not well known for its desserts but I reaaaaally am very tempted to just be in Ubud for these. No kidding.

  • Oh… drool. I may need to plan a vacation here.

  • Gemma

    As the hangovers get worse as you get older, the appeal for a pudding bar is stronger! Tasty post!

  • sanketdhume

    I’m not much of a dessert person, and even then this was sooooooooo tempting…

  • it’s a beautiful place and food indeed looks like an art! 🙂

  • Nomadic Boys

    OMG! WANT WANT WANT! Trust you to find a place like this (and not tell us about it! he he he)

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