Departing from the traditional ways of consuming dessert, ºBRIX Desserts in Dubai offers a unique experience that takes all your senses on a voyage.
As soon as you walk on to the Jumeirah fishing harbor where ºBRIX Desserts, or simply ºBRIX, is located, your journey begins. A chill breeze and the smell of the ocean wafting through the air prepare your senses for what’s to come. The restaurant bears a dark turquoise—somewhat intimidating—infrastructure that demands your best get-up. After all, it’s not an establishment you can just walk into. Guests are required to book their table online in advance or at least give a 20-minute notice. The build-up is necessary, as creating the culinary experience requires time, and it is worth it.
Choose your experience
The food experience dubbed “ºBRIX journey” is inspired by the voyages of Head Pastry Chef at ºBRIX Desserts, Carmen Rueda Hernandez, and it is brought to life by her and her team. Hernandez expounds, “ºBRIX journey is an experience designed to deliver a unique moment to our guests through the desserts.” The menu features two journeys, namely “The Escape” and “Fire & Ice”. While the former offers five courses and five different non-alcoholic drinks suited to the cuisine, the latter boasts three courses with three drinks. She shares, “This menu is driven by the chefs who explain each course. Also, during the experiences, we provide multisensorial elements that help us elevate the experience delivered.”
The Jumpstart team opted for “The Escape” experience.
Embarking on the ºBRIX journey
Upon entering, the diner meets the first distinguishing feature of this establishment: you have to place your phones in a box. ºBRIX urges its diners to step away from Instagramming every single dish and truly experience it. Also, it wants to make sure that the experience is as exclusive as it can be. It succeeds in doing so.
Once you sit, you are handed your customized ºBRIX passport as you gear up to embark on this five-course dessert journey. You sit, not opposite but beside each other, facing the chef who will take you through the experience. Our chef guide summed it up, “You get the chef with the food!”—another distinguishing feature. Mind you, the chef won’t be cooking the food live in front of you. They are there to help you navigate the ambrosial terrain. Behind the chef is a backdrop bearing artifacts and other elements, all of which have a place in the experience. They represent countries, emotions and symbols that will set the tone for wherever you are during your dining adventure. Look around you, and you notice that the restaurant fits only about 14 diners at once. It’s an intimate experience, one shared between the guests and the chef.
In the “The Escape” experience, the spotlight is on five countries: Spain, Japan, Mexico, India and Indonesia. From the lighting and aroma to the table setting, cutlery and décor—everything changes as we transition from one country to another. Every experience features a main dessert and a drink. You might expect the five dessert courses to be nauseatingly sweet and leave you with a sugar rush. Safe to say, they are anything but. The ºBRIX team shatters all your illusions at the get-go and presents desserts in a balanced and one-of-a-kind form. Here’s what our journey entailed:
A suitcase opens, carrying memorabilia from Spain and food to tide you over. When Hernandez was traveling across Spain, she found herself craving homemade food. That’s what inspired her to create this course. A dessert sandwich that tastes like a luxe iteration of the original one will transport you to a picnic in Spain. This experience breathes life into the adage, “Donde fueres, haz lo que vieres” (Wherever you go, make the most of what you see).
Inspired by the cherry blossom trees characteristic to the country, the flavor trip to Japan at ºBRIX condenses the country’s finest aspects into a delectable experience. A theatrical cherry blossom surrounded by dry ice sets the tone for what awaits your taste buds. Indulge in a flavorful dessert boasting exotic ingredients, like omija (five flavor berries) and sakura (cherry blossom).
The chef unfurls a poncho, signaling our arrival in Mexico—the next sweet spot. While visiting her friend, Hernandez got to indulge in the homely cooking that inspired this menu. Freshly barbecued corn, aerated chocolate that is a play on elote (a traditional Mexican street corn dish) and a deceiving yet delicious corn mousse makes one ponder about the umpteen possibilities when it comes to flavor and form.
ºBRIX is a melting pot of not just cuisines but also chefs. The Indian menu is an ode to Hernandez’s sojourns and colleagues. The experience brings you the best of both North and South India and the festivities that encapsulate both. Inspired by Diwali, a vibrant lantern floats before your eyes as you feast on gol gappas, an Indian street food, like never before. Tastes of mustard, mango and curry leaf coated our palate and left our taste buds ever-so gratified.
Like most of us, Hernandez is not hesitant about being aspirational—in life or her menu. Indonesia, for her and her colleagues, is a bucket list destination. Through her menu, she gives us a glimpse of what the trip could be, and from the taste of it, it appears that Indonesia would be divine. On the menu, ºBRIX featured the power trio of coffee, chocolate and passion fruit.
Though the menu is never overwhelmingly sweet, the petit fours (bite-sized sweets) at the end may trigger a sugar rush. Once the experience ends, one of the chefs pulls out a camera and invites you to come together for a photograph. They give you a polaroid to take home, along with the passport to remember this experience by. That it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event is evident, especially when you discover that the restaurant renews its menu every three months.
The chef behind it all
Hernandez has traveled the world to master her technique, and it reflects on her menu. After studying in Madrid, she traveled to Barcelona to follow her passion: pastry. After spending a few years specializing in chocolate, she moved to France and worked with a renowned pastry chef. Her passion took her to El Bulli, a restaurant in Spain, where she discovered new innovative techniques and flavors. Then, she moved to the U.K. where she worked at The Fat Duck, a three-Michelin star restaurant run by renowned celebrity chef Heston Bluminthale. She left The Fat Duck to participate in the World Chocolate Masters competition twice, achieving third place both times. Then, she moved to Asia to work with pastry chef Janice Wong at 2am: dessertbar, a dessert restaurant.
She tells us, “I returned to the Fat Duck to take on the challenge of working with Heston and the team to redevelop the menu, when the restaurant reopened after the service team returned from their pop-up in Australia. Later, I managed the pastry team.” After three years, she moved to Cape Town to work at a dessert and tapas bar. Then, in 2019, she started working in Dubai as the executive pastry chef for FIVE Hotels and Resorts, the best luxury all-inclusive resort in the Middle East home to award-winning restaurants. Now, she is the head pastry chef at ºBRIX.
The future of ºBRIX
Hernandez wants people all over the world to enjoy desserts in a new way. However, it’s not so simple. After spending years in this industry, Hernandez crosses paths with guests who are still not willing to explore innovative dishes. That’s a challenge for chefs and startups wanting to enter this industry. She concludes, “Us chefs are driven by our passion for our jobs and for food. Delivering unique experiences is our main goal. That’s why, I would love for everyone to have the chance to try some of our creations and expand the bounds of food.”
Images Courtesy: brixjourney