What can you tell us about William Curley?
Master chocolatier William trained at a range of Michelin starred restaurants before opening his shop in Richmond – followed by this second branch in 2009. It’s airy and modern, with a tempting display of chocolates on the way in, and a range of home made ice creams, along with some delicate looking cakes and patisserie. But the shop also serves a special afternoon tasting menu, with five courses of desserts plated in front of you by one of the team of in-house pastry chefs, priced at £20 per person.
What kind of food is it?
The menu changes monthly, so everything is highly seasonal: the whole team are encouraged to come up with ideas, under the guidance of Curley himself. Not everything will be based around chocolate – far from it: you can expect a range of different fruit based cakes and patisserie, as well as matching ice creams, all of them presented beautifully.
Where is it – and do they take bookings?
The shop is at the top of Ebury Street by a small triangle of grass called Pimlico Green – a short walk from either Victoria or Sloane Square. It’s a tiny place, so unless you want to wait, it’s advisable to book – the dessert bar is open at weekends from 12-7pm on Saturdays and 12-5pm on Sundays. You can also buy vouchers for the whole experience on their website which would make a great present for any sweet-toothed friends.
If we want something savoury beforehand, where should we go?
If you’re there on Saturday morning there’s a popular weekly farmer’s market with everything from goats cheese and sausages to tomato jam and sourdough breads. A few doors down is the chic gastro-emporium Daylesford Organic, where you could buy a healthy salad or some of their addictive cheese shortbreads. A few minutes the other way down Ebury Street there’s the equally impressive – and equally pricey – Baker and Spice.
Where should I sit?
There are only a few tables inside the shop, but the best place to sit is at the small bar, where you can watch the pastry chefs plating up each course, and chat to them as they work.
What should I eat?
As we said, the fixed menu changes monthly, but on our visit we enjoyed a refreshing apple granita, a glass of roasted peaches and raspberries topped with a custard-like pannacotta and an almond tuille. Next came an interesting basil ice cream paired with a deeply rich blackcurrant compote, then a slice of lemon cake with poached apricots and an almond milk ice cream, followed by our personal favourite, an incredibly rich Amadei chocolate ganache on a hazelnut sable with a splash of cherry compote, some addictive roasted pistachios and a pistachio ice cream. For good measure, there were petit fours, including a house milk truffle and a dark chocolate with rose ganache, along with a tiny cone of their signature white chocolate and miso ice cream.
What about drinks?
You can choose from a range of teas sourced from Tea Palace, all sorts of coffees, or a luscious looking hot chocolate – and the staff seem happy to offer a second cup without charge. For an extra £8, you can upgrade to a glass of champagne.
If you like your pudding, then it really doesn’t get more decadent than this. Five courses of dessert, all beautifully made at one of the city’s most innovative and creative chocolatiers – and generous portions, too. We left on a massive sugar rush, with a distinct feeling of a Sunday afternoon well spent. Definitely a place for a really special treat.
William Curley is at 198 Ebury Street Belgravia London SW1W 8UN. Find out more about William Curley
Prices were correct at time of writing. Hot Dinners was invited to try William Curley.