Known more for its unabashed luxury, its vertigo-inducing views of downtown L.A., its “tiny, crunchy triangles of the best shrimp toast you have ever had,” WP24 has always had a secret weapon: its desserts.
Though they didn't garner a ton of attention, the desserts under former pastry chef (and Top Chef: Just Desserts competitor), Sally Camacho, were stunning. Now that Camacho has moved to the Bel Air Hotel to oversee the pastry program at the new in-house restaurant Puck plans to open, the mantle has been passed to Cassie Ballard.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas who spent several years working under Jean Francois Suteau at The Beverly Hills Hotel, Ballard has incorporated the restaurant's loose pan-Asian theme into six new desserts, which she will roll out gradually over the next month. So far, only the Tobu Bananas and Bird's Nest have hit the menu, but we got a sneak peak at the new sweet treats about to hit the menu.
Working under the careful eye of Sherry Yard, Puck's longtime pastry director, Ballard has dabbled in everything from lychee hibiscus sorbet and jasmine rice ice cream to palm sugar-roasted bananas and chocolate junpaku.
Ballard will roll out the other desserts gradually over the next month before revamping the bar's dessert menu.
“Junpaku” means pure white in Japanese, but here, the white chocolate mousse on top is separated from the base of dark chocolate brownie, studded with bits of praline crunch, by a thin layer of candied satsuma tangerines.
This take on the classic Italian dessert stars mild and milky jasmine rice ice cream sprinkled with three kinds of popped rice (plain, chocolate and, to remind you of the dish's essential coffee nature, espresso) on a bed of sweetened raisins.
Most impressive was the Raspberry Royale with three discs of crème brûlée on a bed of spongecake. All well and good, but where the dessert soars is the lychee hibiscus sorbet crowned with tiny pink bubbles. They burst open in your mouth, releasing fragrant rosewater, because why shouldn't caviar be a dessert item?