Dessert Graffiti at The Bazaar by José Andrés is a sweet experience where food and art intertwine leaving a memorable impression of this whimsical restaurant.
The restaurant itself is located in the The SLS, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The white exterior of the hotel opposes the aura of this hidden gem, where within reveals three sections all designated to a theme and ambiance corresponding to the course of the meal.
José Andrés, the eclectic and acclaimed chef of the restaurant, developed this concept to curate an experience for the guests. The whimsical and wonderland feel mirrors André’s food, famously indicative of a child-like element to his creations, the best example of which is the cotton candy foie gras. It is playful and untraditional, emphasizing how fine-dining is not so serious and should be fun.
The final step of The Bazaar experience is quite grand and definitely enjoyable. It closes with The Patisserie where Dessert Graffiti, essentially a live painting, ensues making one feel like a kid again.
Initially, it is painted with a chocolate, caramel syrup and a passion fruit jam, looking Pollock-esque at that point. Then, they really nail down the bee theme throughout the dessert: A bee-shaped honey ganache and lemon jam macaron, a lavender-almond honeycomb whip, a dulce hive mousse cake, a blackberry pate de fruit, a raspberry-rose hibiscus candy, and a citrus and honey bonbon. And if it gets too sweet, there are chamomile tea pipettes to cleanse your palate in between each sweet bite.
To top it all off, liquid nitrogen is poured over the decadent display, completing the avant garde vibes of the grand dessert.
Their newest Dessert Graffiti theme is “Bee My Honey,” intended to celebrate National Honey Bee Day on August 18th and National Honey Month in September. The Executive Chef and novice Beekeeper, Hussain Zouhbi, explained how the absence of bees would eliminate 1/3rd of our crops, think strawberries, broccoli, coffee and palm oil.
As each mirrored platter, or empty canvas, is carefully curated table-side by a pastry chef, they explain each element and emphasize the importance of the honey bee to the environment.
Besides educating foodies and high-class folks on saving the bees, they intend to resurface heart-warming memories through each cute creation.
The Pop Rocks (mixed with actual pollen), the chocolate Rice Krispies and the milk and honey mousse cake all withhold one aspect: familiarity. The recognizable ingredients possibly remind people of their childhood. Like a glass of warm milk, or one-too-many packs of Pop Rocks that must be eaten in a very particular way (eating all of them at once and keeping your mouth open so you can hear them crackle… then aggressively chewing, completely disregarding manners).
The familiarity of the ingredients scream childhood and add onto their bee theme. All of the ingredients used are flowers or fruit that bees pollinate. So without the bees, we will not have all these vital ingredients in the majority of these unreal desserts.
It was quite the process, and an entertaining struggle to sit and watch it come to life. But, the pastry chef’s leisured-pace and careful curation emphasizes their main intent with the experience: To encourage camaraderie and pause, take a few moments, and observe food and art become one as a group.