Layers of ice cream and sponge cake dressed up in pearly white meringue — few desserts show up to a celebration like a baked Alaska. We round up a list of places across India that serve this 150-year-old elegant dessert. By Eshita Srinivas
The showstopper of dessert platters across fine dining establishments and the star of several MasterChef challenges – a baked Alaska features slices of sponge cake that are topped with ice cream before being encased in a meringue (egg whites and sugar). While some chefs brown the dessert in an oven or with a blow torch, others pour alcohol over it before lighting it up to add a flambé twist to the mix (popularly termed the bombe Alaska).
The origins of this dessert, also known as an omelette surprise, can be traced back to as early as 1802 when ice cream was served in a hot pastry at a state banquet in the US White House. By the 1850s, meringue-encrusted frozen desserts began making the rounds at teas and formal dinners. And eventually, in 1867, French chef Charles Ranhoufer from New York’s Delmonico’s created a version of the sweet treat to celebrate the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Since then, several recipes have floated across restaurants in the US, each more technical than the other.
In India, bombe or baked Alaska is hard to come by, often losing its spot to the more ubiquitous tiramisus and cheesecakes. That said, if you’ve got an experimentative palate or are yet to witness your dessert being set on fire, head on over to these restaurants in your city.
The baked Alaskas at these 8 restaurants in India are lit
This popular, chic dessert bar and bistro in Pali Hill serves up some of the most Instagrammable desserts in the country. Led by chef Freny Fernandes, who’s worked at several Michelin-star restaurants, the establishment’s most popular desserts include the Jardin du Rose, coffee-bean shaped tiramisu, and caramel apple. Their afternoon tea spread as well as pastas, soups, and sandwiches come recommended as well. That said, for something a bit more eye-catching, try their bombe Alaska, which comes with raspberry sorbet, French vanilla gelato, brownie, meringue, and salted caramel milk chocolate sauce. Delicious!
Image: Courtesy Moner
This fine-dining establishment offers Indian and continental delicacies. It’s also known for its stunning outdoor seating that offers the best views of the city. On the menu here are summer delights like arancini, paneer marrakech, prawns thermidor, ham steak Hawaiian, and more. However, it’s the baked Alaska that’s guaranteed to be the showstopper of your meal. Flambeed with brandy right at your table, this sweet treat features a Swiss meringue, candied fruit, and ice cream and is perhaps the most recommended dish on their menu. Give it a go if you’re in the city.
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An iconic restaurant that has been around for over 65 years, Gaylord is always buzzing with customers. Mezzanine floors, old-school decor, and multicuisine fare underscore the restaurant. Their chicken a la kiev, waldorf salad, paneer tikka, croissant, macaroons, and pie come highly recommended. As does the baked Alaska, which is topped with cherries and flambeed at your table. Reportedly, Bollywood celebrities like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Lata Mangeshkar were regulars here, with music duo Shankar-Jaikishan reserving a table for themselves every evening for tea.
Representative image: Courtesy @letsmakestuff_au/Instagram
This elegant gastro bar located in the Taj Lands End hotel is known for innovative cocktails and delectable sushi platters. On the menu besides these are small plates like stuffed zucchini cheese fries and jarred salmon with burnt lemon, spinach and goat’s cheese phyllo parcels, and table barbeque skewers, amongst others. For dessert, try their theatrical baked Alaska, which is lit up right at your table. Even better, all of these creations are served with a side of live DJ music and wines from around the world.
Representative image: Courtesy @jacobfood/Instagram
This popular bakery, located within the Taj Mahal Palace, serves some of the most decadent sweet treats in the city. Popular off their extensive menu is the plum cake, chocolate truffle, cheesecake, and seasonal fresh fruit cake. And while they do not feature baked Alaska on their menu, you could call ahead and request one, especially if you’re headed to the hotel for lunch or dinner. Their version comes with ice cream, vanilla sponge, and meringue.
Representative image: Courtesy @fab_flour/Instagram
This iconic restaurant in Kolkata has been around since 1956 and is known for its steak and wine fare. The menu’s most recommended dishes include the chef special chicken fillet cooked in wine and cream sauce, crab meat cocktail, chicken stroganoff, seasonal Hilsa fish, risotto arrosto, and vegetable a la kiev, amongst others. Their baked Alaska is a signature dessert, featuring the classic combination of ice cream and cake. The creation is topped with a cherry and brought to your table in flames! That, combined with the jazz bar ambience and the attention to detail makes this a must-visit spot if you’re in the city.
Image: Courtesy @puja_porijayee/Instagram
Continental and Indian fare served in a laid back wood-panelled brewhouse, Murphy’s captures the grunge spirit of Bengaluru. This was one of the first places to bring Irish stout beer to the city. Their Belgian wheat beer and dark beers come highly recommended. Besides this, their chocolate walnut brownie, pepperoni pizza, calamari, and peri peri chicken are a favourite among diners. For dessert, try their baked Alaska which features a trilayer of ice cream cake topped with meringue. The dessert is flambeed with Paul John single malt, which lends a certain smokiness to the dessert.
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This iconic restaurant in Connaught Place is always packed. A host of European, Indian, and Asian delicacies are served with a side of colonial ambience here. The menu features delicacies like lamb kebab platter, badshahi kofta, chicken ala kiev, lahori meat, kala jaam, cona coffee, and more. There’s also a host of creations with recipes that date back to the 1930s and 1970s. End a satisfying meal here with their decadent baked Alaska that features a sponge cake and ice cream and is browned using a blow torch.
Image: Courtesy United Coffee House