A new dessert experience is heading to Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The goal is lofty and simple at the same time: To keep a patron’s night just as entertaining as it is delicious.
“It’s definitely not ice cream sundaes and hot chocolate sauce,” said owner and chef Rory Macdonald. “It’s a bit more unique.”
Macdonald, a London native and former head pastry chef for Hakkasan restaurants, fulfilled his lifelong dream and opened his first bakery, Patisserie Chanson, in March. The ground floor is a cafe serving recipes inspired by his childhood memories, notably ones in France. Customers love the five flavors of macaroons, including passion fruit, salted caramel and earl grey using tea from the London-based tea company Bellocq. The popular options continue with four flavors of chocolate bars and six types of chocolate bon-bons. There are also four options of Kouign Amann (a crusty cake), including Macdonald’s favorite: a plain, black sesame with the sesame seeds mixed into the dough. Everything, he added, is made in-house.
But those who want to carry the experience into nighttime will soon be able to step into the downstairs speakeasy dessert bar. (It’s expected to open this month.) Macdonald is opting to create a fun environment where pretentious vibes aren’t part of the equation. The desserts are really the main focus here.
Macdonald’s menu, which he’s still crafting, will offer options for a four or eight course tasting menu with a variety of desserts. He stresses that these desserts won’t all be sweet so that patrons get a more balanced experience and won’t leave feeling too full.
“People hear the word dessert bar and think they are just going to have chocolate cake and ice cream and it will be too much,” Macdonald said. “Sometimes if I eat too much and have a really sweet dessert, I leave the restaurant and I feel I can’t move. That’s what we are trying not to do.”
The first few courses will be on the savory side with desserts made with olive oil leading into the sweeter ones with a chocolate base. Some desserts will also play on nostalgia with a take on peanut butter and jelly, a combination many kids (Macdonald included) grew up eating. A craft cocktail menu will also be available with recommended alcoholic beverages like light dessert wines and champagne to pair with the dessert. This is meant to really complete the experience.
“People never really get to see the full aspect of what a pastry chef can offer,” he said. “This is really my way to kind of show people what we can do.”