I quietly approached the pastry station, making room in the tight hallway for chef de cuisine Bradley Herron who buzzed straight through on his way to the rack on the far end of the kitchen wall. As he briskly added gusts of fragrant spices to a large bowl, the kitchen was suddenly overcome with the sweet, pungent scent of cardamom.
It was an intoxicating smell, gratified with even more sprinklings of cloves and nutmeg. I then turned to Trew and Amy, curious for the even sweeter aromas coming directly from Hedy Goldsmith’s pastry station. “I heard there’s a new dessert on the menu,” I said, hoping to hear more.
Trew’s eyes lit up. He grabbed a menu and began to explain how the Thai coconut ice cream combines exotic fragrances in smooth and crispy textures. I was immediately in a trance, realizing that the cardamom was merely the prologue.
The new dessert, which in its complete form is Thai Coconut Ice Cream with mango, passion fruit, and spiced wafer all begins with a French-style ice cream made with coconut milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves are steeped in the warmed cream mixture to infuse a kick of flavor. Trew pointed out that the leaves of kaffir limes, which are commonly used in Thai curry pastes, are more astringent and aromatic than the more ubiquitous Tahiti or Persian lime varieties. The kaffir lime leaves balance the custard, and the natural richness from the coconut milk.