The world never ceases to amaze me. Here I was in Southampton taking a course for work, and I had just gone with one of my fellow classmates to dinner where we had fairly mediocre pizza. Suddenly, on our walk home, we walked by a very brightly lit and clean looking restaurant. Curious, we looked at the signs in the window, and I was personally shocked to see that it was a dessert restaurant. For Hong Kong desserts. I’ve never heard of such a place. However, I’m a huge fan of Dim Sum, especially the “dessert”, so I convinced my companion that we just had to try the restaurant.
The menu looked absolutely amazing. What a selection of unusual and interesting dishes they had on offer. However, I was starting to get slightly out of my comfort zone, as I didn’t know much about any of it. So I decided I needed to contact Vicky. Unfortunately, I was a bit late in that so by the time she gave me suggestions, I had kind of decided on something else. Although she did keep shouting (well as much as you can shout over text) about how I shouldn’t expect anything to be sweet because they just don’t eat sweet things for dessert. (Although I probably should have just gone with what she thought I should eat. I should just learn to trust Vicky when it comes to all things East Asian.) I ended up getting the black sesame soup and a durian pancake. My companion ordered the peach and white fungus soup and also got a durian pancake (and a mango pancake).
The first time I had the opportunity to experience durian fruit was on my trip to Thailand in 2007. And I’m not going to deny that I really chickened out. I mean if you’ve ever been to Thailand, you must know that you can just smell when someone cuts into one on the street. And it’s really unpleasant. I mean really. So I just couldn’t force myself to eat it. However, almost ten years later, I’ve eaten a wide variety of things I never thought I would eat (including brain, duck tongue, chicken feet and who knows what else that I can’t remember right now), so I figured it was definitely time to stick that durian fruit in my mouth to see what all the fuss was about.
Our food arrived, and it was a bit confusing at first. The durian pancake was actually much sweeter than anticipated. The creamy filling was where all the sugar was, and I think they must have sweetened it a bit to offset the savory notes of the durian. And what exactly did I think of the durian? I have to admit it wasn’t as terrible as the world had told me it would be. I felt a bit like I was eating something very garlicky, and my companion said he felt like it was a bit like spring onions. The aftertaste for me was overwhelmingly like I had just chewed on some garlic. I did end up with a bit of an aftermath of durian burps too, which was probably the most unpleasant part of the whole experience. I’m not sure if I’d eat it again, but I am definitely glad I tried!
The rest of the desserts were really good. I have to say I think the peach and white fungus soup was much better than the black sesame soup. The peach soup was served cold as it was a really hot day, and it was a very light and refreshing dessert to end a meal. The natural sweetness of the fruit was perfect for the dessert. The black sesame soup wasn’t the most visually appealing, and as I was eating it it really felt like I was eating a savory bowl of runny tahini. However, as I got further through it, there was a small amount of sweetness that started filling my palate. I’m not sure if it’s just that the sugar sank to the bottom or if it took awhile for my palate to adjust, but I ended up eating the whole thing as it really grew on me and became very moreish. The mango pancake ended up being incredibly sweet after both the durian and the soups, so it seemed slightly strange in comparison (but hey if you like your desserts sweet, this is the way to go).
I was really excited about coming back the next night to try even more, but we ended up going out with a larger group of people, and they were really keen on trying the desserts at the restaurant we went to, so there were no more Hong Kong desserts for me. However, if I have to be back in Southampton and have time to swing by, you can bet that Hashtag Serendipity will be a top priority. (Although that name. Hashtag? Really? Why not just Serendipity? That’s really the only down side to the whole thing. I mean I know hashtags are a thing, but for me, they don’t belong in the name of anything.)
225 Portswood Road
Southampton, SO17 2NF