I have a sweet-tooth. I know it. So when I heard there was this dessert tasting-menu at TRU in Chicago, I got all excited. Then I read the dress code: gentlemen must wear a jacket in the dining room. We like traveling light and it just didn’t make sense to haul a bulky jacket just for dessert. After a day of pining (I really wanted to go), I realized that TRU had a lounge that also served this dessert tasting menu there, and lounge ≠ dining room. With renewed hope, I made a quick call to verify that no jackets were necessary to be seated in said lounge. Once confirmed, I made my reservation (fyi, you can’t do it online if you’re booking for the lounge) and gleefully informed Endy, who just rolled his eyes.
TRU gives off a modern and classy kind of vibe the moment you pass its threshold. Cocooned in a dark entryway, the warm and subdued lighting of the lounge beckoned to us through heavy curtains. Over the course of the night, couples and groups would flit on and off of the plush seats fronting low tables, but we were the only ones comfortably anchored in the lounge for what would turn out to be a most enjoyable evening.
After we set ourselves up with a martini for Endy and a pot of earl grey tea for me, I quickly decided on having individual dessert tastings (there was an option to share) after being informed that we would get different things. Six desserts in total to try!? I was sold.
We begin with an amuse of rhubarb foam. Light and frothy, it’s a nice quick taste of things to come.
Our first desserts arrive and they are both variants of raspberries. On the left are sorbets (yoghurt and raspberry) with strawberry consommé and almond cake. On the right is a raspberry sorbet on yuzu foam.
We were next treated to a plate of madelines, with the smell of freshly-baked cake wafting after them. Light and crispy on the outside with just-baked interiors. Lovely with tea and more than we could eat.
The Granny Smith Apple and Osmanthus Flower Ice Cream desserts were served next. I was looking forward to the apple dessert, as I love napoleans. On the bottom, a filling of red port-soaked apple, then a calvados cream layer, and white wine-soaked apple, made up its filling. Delicate layers of pastry divided them and this was a tasty mouthful. A small apple sat on top and apple sorbet accompanied the dessert. The surprise was the Osmanthus ice cream (with financier cake). Light, faintly honied, and perfect. Absolutely my favourite of the night. Really delicate osmanthus flavour that played beautifully with the almond and apricot notes.
I’m rather fond of chocolate and peppermint together, so another anticipated dessert (pictured on the right) was the Invigorating Peppermint, described as “Valhrona chocolate, colors.” What I discovered upon tasting it, was that there were crunchy chocolate-covered bites embedded into the mousse. Great texture and the peppermint-Chantilly cream ice cream went well to give it that fresh kick. Coming down at the same time was the Milk Chocolate & Cherry, sided with a vanilla panna cotta and torn bitter-almond cake.
A surprise for us was the root beer float. I was the easy-sell, since I have fond memories of drinking floats with my dad when I was a child. But even Endy enjoyed the experience. Everything was made in-house and you can taste it especially in the root-beer. No commercial canned product here.
And as if that weren’t enough, in comes a plate of mignardises. There are two kinds of macarons – one filled with an intense pistachio paste and the other escapes me now. Marshmallows, truffles, and intensely apricot gelées complete the line-up.
We capped the evening with an Americano and a shot of espresso and were gifted with financiers on the way out as a treat for later. This was an entirely enjoyable and light-hearted experience of fine dining that I would gladly repeat again.