Gerard Mendis Chocolatier is a fancy chocolate manufacturer on Horton Place that also offers a range of other desserts. While they charge a premium for their bite-sized chocolates, we found very little we actually enjoyed, and wished we had gone for a bar of Snickers instead. (And as for their cheesecake, don’t even get us started.)
We were actually quite impressed with the range of chocolates available at the store. All of it is priced between Rs. 100-180 per piece, which is to say that these are some of the most expensive chocolates available in the city. It went without saying that they had to be really good to make it a worthwhile purchase. As the subhead 'The Stuff We Didn't Mind' indicates, we weren’t really blown away by any of the 12 separate items we tried.
Of the eight chocolates, we enjoyed three: the blueberry, coffee-hazelnut and the peanut butter and jelly. Everyone at the office was unanimous that these worked primarily because of the fillings, and not so much because the chocolate element was exceptional.
If we had to choose, the PB & J was probably our “favourite”. We had no complaints about the filling, which had the classic flavour of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich We also found the white chocolate-blueberry mix appealing, with a nice contrast between the milky sweetness of the chocolate and the tanginess of the blueberry. The coffee hazelnut was also quite accurate in terms of flavour, with the hazelnut coming through, followed by a milky coffee filling.
Their milk toffee (Rs. 480 for 200g) was pretty decent, though we really don’t see why anyone should paying that much for milk toffee when you could be getting it from the likes of Nandi’s instead. This milk toffee wasn’t too sweet, which we didn’t mind. It was also speckled with a few chopped cashew pieces, but they had been added quite judiciously. The texture, however, could have been a lot softer and smoother. It wasn’t the kind of toffee that just melted in our mouths, which is what we were expecting at this price point.
The chocolate chip cookies (Rs. 220 for 100g) were passable, but a far cry from what home bakers such as Cookies & You and Brick Lane offer. The cookie could have been sweeter, with a slightly less crumbly texture. The chocolate chips that contributed welcome sweetness and a soft, melty texture, were the saving grace.
Now that we're done with the stuff we didn't find offensive, we're left with everything else — some of which was barely edible.
Of the chocolates, the whiskey truffle was quite awful. The white chocolate coating was actually pleasant, but then we got to the filling that could only be described as tasting like detergent. The cappuccino (the one with the weird leopard print on it), was described as having a full-bodied shot of espresso, but did not have even a semblance of coffee flavour.
I've tried several different desserts and chocolates that incorporate Baileys Irish Cream. For the most part, it's a tactic that works, since the liqueur itelf is quite sweet. I'm not quite sure how, but GMC managed to mess this one up as well. The more accurate description would have been Baileys Irish water, since the filling was just so diluted and lacking the beautiful creaminess of Baileys.
Hilda cookies are a type of shortbread cookie with a jam or marmalade filling in the centre. The shortbread cookie part was on point but the filling was just so confusing. It looked like strawberry jam (and was supposed to taste like it too), but the only thing we could taste was toothpaste. This may sound like an exaggeration, but we found ourselves just looking at it thinking, "What did we just eat?"
We saved what we thought would be the best for last: the strawberry cheesecake (Rs. 450), since it was presented beautifully. Were we ever so wrong. This had to be the first time I've ever dumped a cheesecake after two bites. While the strawberry topping tasted pleasant, the cream cheese (or mascarpone?) was dense, the cookie base was more of a paste and the whipped cream had the texture of clay, as in we could mould it into different shapes.
Here's a GIF of us messing around with the whipped cream. It tasted completely off, so we didn't really want to take a chance on an already terrible cheesecake.
Well, there's 2,000 bucks we're not getting back. If a tiny chocolate square costs upwards of Rs. 100, it had better be excellent, or inoffensive, at the very least. If it was just one item that had missed the mark, we could have looked the other way, but you can't call yourself a 'chocolatier' and serve this up.