After an absolutely delightful and gluttonous feast at Yauatcha, we moved a few doors down on Broadwick Street for some dessert at Basement Sate. There’s been a lot of talk of late night dessert bars being a ‘thing’ at the moment in London, with a number of establishments springing up including this one and The Pudding Bar.
I love desserts. Fact. So, any establishment dedicated to this fine sector of food is a friend of mine – unless the desserts aren’t good and overpriced. In this case, sadly, Basement Sate fell into both categories.
Basement Sate is quite different from The Pudding Bar in the respect that it’s got more of an underground bar / club vibe to it, whereas the latter is much more informal, bright and airy. The name gives a clue to it’s location which is in a basement, kitted out with dark interiors – all sumptuous brown leather couches et al.
Although it’s got a good look and feel to it, it does feel too spread out – there is a void in the centre of the room that is very perceptible. There are tables plotted around the room with a few covered off booth areas, which is where we ended up choosing to seat. I really liked our little private area which would make an ideal place for a date.
Having stuffed ourselves at Yauatcha, my two friends and I decided to take a very conservative stance and only order only two desserts to share between us along with some cocktails.
We ordered a dark thick chocolate dessert which basically consisted of chocolate ganache sandwiched between slabs of chocolate – all very nicely dressed on the plate. It was a competent dessert but nothing that would make you leap out of your chair with pure unadulterated joy.
The second dessert was what they termed a mille-feuille. So, in my mind heavenly layers upon layers of puff pastry, interspersed with a sweet crème pâtissière. I opened up my mouth expecting to be hit with a bout of sugary loveliness but instead my tongue retracted utterly confused by the sharp taste of goat cheese it received and overwhelmed by the truffle and rosemary.
I just wasn’t expecting a wholly savoury mille-feuille with thin crisp bread in place of pastry and all its other savoury components. Perhaps this was designed for a more sophisticated palate than mine but I just didn’t like it. Period. Had I attuned my mind to this, maybe I wouldn’t have reacted so badly. To be fair, it probably was my fault, I’m sure they listed the ingredients but I was so excited I overlooked it – however I still think it should be made a little bit more explicit – some of the desserts are savoury and other sweets. When we were asked by the manager how we found it, obviously not wanting to be rude, I gave a rather wishy washy, British response, “mmm mmm it was okay” and then my more direct American pals got straight to the point and asked why it wasn’t sweet at all. His response was that, “well this dessert is for people that aren’t so into desserts”. My response (in my head obvs) – why the f**k are you in a dessert bar then?!
I can’t remember what cocktail I had but it was good. So, if I were to come back here, it would be for the cocktails and not the dessert. It’s such a shame that the two new dessert bars I have tried – The Pudding Bar and Basement Sate have both been disappointing . When you have neither a starter or a main course to hide behind, you really need to knock it out of the park- the dessert is everything.
It is such a brilliant concept (desserts and booze) that hasn’t yet been expertly executed. I hope someone else will fill this void.
Address: 8 Broadwick St, London W1F
Phone:020 7287 3412
LAST VISITED SEPTEMBER 2014
Cover image from Basement Sate Facebook page