And I eat the whole thing by myself.
I’ve been to Draft many times of course. It’s an outstanding restaurant that’s faithful to its vision of being a gastropub. Service is always accommodating, never veering into the “studied nonchalance” territory of waiters who think they’ve seen it all and are too cool to care. I’m crazy for the Fully-Loaded Burger, my Bin is weak for their Mussel Pots, succulence and an aphrodisiac in a receptacle: how convenient. Their Fish & Frites are fabulous and their Pulled Pork Sandwich isn’t half-bad, though it skimps on the barbeque sauce.
As far as alcohol goes, I only drink wine, can’t drink beer, so I’m confident that Draft’s impressive line-up of libations satisfies their clientele. Naturally, as desserts go, I venture to say that Draft’s Sticky Date & Toffee Pudding blows the competition away and though I love it, I’m not here to talk about that.
What I’ve really, REALLY got eyes for at this pub is the Bread & Butter Pudding (P220). A block of bread sits, coarse-edged and tight, bits and pieces of it blitzed together to make a dense whole. Lavishly coated in a trinity of eggs, sugar, and cream, it soaks and drinks in this luxury, plumping up pleasurably. When baked, every crevice of itself secretes a treasure of custard, its tender doughy-ness defined. Plunging a fork into this pillow yields a decidedly compact texture, concentrated as it needs to be for its killer component: the caramel sauce.
Let me tell you about this caramel. Eternally more fascinating than golden brown, this is golden amber, the collision of sugar and water, coalescing then caramelizing. Fate, in the form of a skilled cook’s watchful eye and quick hand, kills the heat that consumes this partnership. Quickly now, so quickly, like a whirlwind affair, cream is introduced, and so is vanilla and a hit of butter to meld and mellow. Mmm.
I’ll be the first to admit that this caramel, gilded glory on the tongue it is, might actually be too sweet. Spoonfuls of this sauce signal a twitch in the back of my throat, a tightening in the hatch. “Yo, hold up a little, would’ja?” Is the thought my brain sends out. Less hardy dessert digestions would falter, but they don’t call me the mistress of dessert for nothing…
A forkful sinks down easy, this combination of bread pudding cosseted in caramel. The fact that lukewarm sauce is served with cold, cold ice cream is almost deliciously painful. Oh, contrasting temperatures, what teases you are! In the mouth, it’s like eating silk, its knife-edge intensity of sweet assuaged by bits of bread then slaps of shiver. I sit, spooning this sauce in, and savor. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a niggling notion that I should offer, maybe share some of my bread and butter pudding bliss with my dinner companion.
But I kill that thought as quickly as this dessert has killed me.
Unit C., The Fort Entertainment Center,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig