I’ve never been the kind of girl who belongs to a clique. I cried all the way through ballet as a wee nipper, spent my high school years huddled in a corner listening to Good Charlotte and only ever went to Hockey Club once as a part of a particularly poignant and personal lunchtime detention sentence. I can, however, confidently say that I have now found my tribe; I have found the place where I belong and it goes by the name of Pudding Club.
Held on the last Tuesday of every month at one of Liverpool’s most popular independent eateries, LEAF Cafe (on Bold Street), Pudding Club is the stuff dreams are made of. A bespoke menu of 5 desserts is served up, each with it’s very own complimentary tea and all for the pretty reasonable sum of £15.95 per (pre-booked) ticket. I had previously attended the GF version, which was a celebration of all things free-from but this time, I wanted to embrace the bloat and see what Pudding Club was made of in all it’s gloop-y, gluten-y glory.
Okay so now, let me spoon feed you each course and the loose leaf accompaniment that came with it…
Course 1 – White Chocolate Pave with Whiskey & Pecan Praline – served with Lapsang tea
From previous experience, I had planned to act totally out of character and exercise some self-control at this Pud Club to save room for the dishes I fancied more than others. When I sat down and saw this baby front stage and centre though, I knew it was game over. All about the finest forms of chocolate, this little slab of heaven saw layers of whiskey soaked sponge slathered in a light, white chocolate cream and topped with hard set caramel.
The Lapsang loose leaf was hella smokey, a little like bacon and not quite my cup of tea (pun totally intended) but a whiskey accompaniment I could appreciate nonetheless.
Course 2 – Chocolate Mint Swirls – served with Rooibos tea
The second installment on the Dessert Devastation running order was a milk chocolate and mint mousse served up in a delicately garnished shot glass. I wasn’t a huge fan of this dish but not for its lack of flavour or finesse – I’m just not a fan of fresh mint (to say the least). Give me Nestle Aero Bubbles all day long but that botanical, Mojito-esque flavour I just can’t get on board with. I did give it a go, but no. The empty vessels being collected as I sipped on my warm, South African Rooibos told me the majority thought it was perfectly paletteable though.
Course 3 – Sticky Ginger Pudding, Marinated Pineapple, Lime Cream & Ginger Syrup – served with Heaven Scent tea
You’ll know by now how much I like my alcoholic beverages to resemble a dessert so when I saw ginger pudding and boozy pineapple on the menu, I knew we were onto a winner. As LEAF’s take on a traditional sticky toffee pudding but with a distinctly tropical twist, this dish was a little bit of rainy day home comforts and exotic sunshine all rolled into one and baked to perfection. The heat of the ginger was offset perfectly by the sweet white pineapple tea. Quite literally, heaven sent.
Course 4 – Salted Caramel Cheesecake and Caramello Sauce – served with Caramello tea
If this were speed dating for desserts (which it kind of is), the White Chocolate Pave that I was still lusting over post-plate scrape very nearly got pied for the Salted Caramel Cheesecake… but not quite. As my second favourite dish of the night, this absolute delight was a classic cheesecake – as light as you like and almost savoury in flavour with its chunky biscuit base and salty sweet notes. The caramel pour-over had been infused with the complimentary Caramello green tea which made for a sauce very similar to Maple Syrup. Sticky, rich and worth every bit of nausea.
Course 5 – Champagne and Citrus Terrine & Blood Orange Mascarpone – served with Champagne Cassis
Okay so if you took all of the bubbles out of a bottle of Champers and mixed it with a load of gelatine, this is what you’d get. A pure and simple palette cleanser. The quenelle of mascarpone balanced on top of the wobbling main feature was pretty AF with it’s baby pink colouring but my god, I never want that in my mouth ever again. It smelled a lot like something your Nan might rub over her wrinkles and tasted like it had an SPF factor of at least 30.
The Champagne Cassis tea however was a complete and utter party in the mouth. In fact, I’m blaming it single-handedly for the yellow submarine tea strainers I’m about to go and purchase.
What you spend on a ticket here you definitely save in the weekly shop because F me sideways, I really don’t think I’m going to be able to look another dessert in the eye ever again… Okay, well at least until the next Pudding Club.