METICULOUSLY planned and prepared, adapted from season to season and consumed with a superb view of the Quays: that’s what makes a pudding a Pier Eight pudding. Not only that, each is an inventive take on favourite British classics, created by two award-winning chefs - one being Pastry King Brett Pistorious.
Desserts change each season, making each visit a fresh surprise
You can imagine the anticipation, then, when Confidential took a trip to The Lowry’s waterside restaurant to try four different sweet sensations.
Eaton Mess was first up, setting the tone for an afternoon of pure indulgence. Italian meringue, dehydrated and blow torched for extra crunch, contrasted beautifully with its softer French counterpart while the strawberry pavlova ice cream - also laced subtly with meringue - complemented both. Pier Eight uses crème pâtissière for this dish rather than the full cream more traditionally used; making it, along with the strawberries and coulis, lighter and more summery. Vegan jelly set with agar and a mint chiffonade, meanwhile, freshened each delicious mouthful.
Not content with just tasting great, this Eaton Mess looks great too. Served artfully across the plate like an abstract sculpture, it’s a pleasing arrangement of tastes, textures and colours - each component shining through.
The bar set so high, it would be hard for the following dessert to match. Yet, as one of Pier Eight’s most popular desserts, Pistachio Cheesecake was bound to be a winner and had no trouble contending. Pistachio paste base, oven-baked for added crispness; a fluffy mousse of pistachio and cream cheese; a topping of chopped nuts, crumble and cocoa nuts to undercut the sweetness; and a garnish of chervil...all presented in a neat slice with a drizzling of strawberries and sauce.
Apple and Butterscotch Trifle was the third delight and perhaps the most decorative of all. Surrounded by extravagant swirls of chocolate filled in with butterscotch and laced with dried apple strands, the trifle itself was presented in a glass and looked almost too good to eat. Almost. This boasted all the attention to detail as its predecessors. Ginger sponge - made with brown sugar, rather than caster - comprised the bottom layer, whilst the top was formed of butterscotch crested with chunks of dehydrated ginger sponge. In between was a compote made with apples, both cooking and eating varieties for greater texture, and a light mascarpone cream.
Guess what? It got even better. This particular trifle was partnered with a hot doughnut, complete with crisp outer layer and a fluffy vanilla custard inside. In other words, exactly as a fresh doughnut should be.
Onwards to the fourth and final dessert, Treacle Tart. A lovely moist mix containing golden syrup and almonds, this sat on a crisp pastry base - shot through with vanilla, lemon zest and balancing salty undertones - topped with fanned caramelised banana. A fitting finale to a delectable afternoon.
Whilst available desserts change each season, making each visit a fresh surprise, one constant remains: favourite British desserts with an attention to detail that’s unique to Pier Eight. We hear that new summer successors include Black Cherry Bakewell, Lime and Ginger Syllabub and Baked Vanilla Cheesecake - time for another visit...