A couple of months ago, a video popped up on my Facebook feed. It was one of those videos that plays automatically if you hover long enough, so before long I found myself enthralled by the subject of the video – ASK Italian’s new dessert, the Chocolate Lava Mountain. If you’ve seen said video, you’ll know that it depicts a chocolate dome being melted by hot toffee sauce, revealing a scoop of ice cream on top of a chocolate fondant. As soon as I saw this I knew I had to try it, so when Monica and I were deciding where to head for lunch the other day, I was quick to suggest ASK. I showed her the video and she was happy to oblige, and so off we went for a relaxing lunch.
To start, we chose to share the Antipasto Classico Board, a wooden plank adorned with meats, cheese and olive tapenade – all the good things in life. The rosemary and sea salt bread was soft and chewy, although the rosemary could have been stronger, and it was very tasty dipped in the oil and balsamic vinegar or with the olive tapenade. Two types of salami and smoked prosciutto were complimented by the creaminess of the buffalo mozzarella, and it was all tied together by a salad of rocket and tomatoes with ricotta salata. All very tasty, and just enough to whet our appetites for our main courses.
Monica went for the Pollo Milanese – seasoned and breaded chicken breast served with mushroom sauce, greens and chips. The chips looked crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy in the middle – they were most probably out of the freezer but they were at the top of the freezer chip game. The chicken itself was crispy and golden and the whole dish looked very nice – Monica certainly seemed to enjoy it. I wasn’t jealous though, as my Rigatoni con Zucchine e Pesto was lovely. The dish was packed with courgettes, and the creamy pesto sauce was just right. I especially liked the whole pine nuts that were scattered through the dish as they’re one of my favourite ingredients. It wasn’t a massive portion of pasta, but it was just enough as the creamy pesto could have quickly become overwhelming. On the contrary, it was the perfect amount, and the courgettes even made it feel healthy (well, healthier!).
Our dishes were cleared and we were offered the dessert menu – not that I really needed it. Monica chose the simple Italian Cheesecake served with raspberry sorbet. Creamy and rich, she didn’t quite manage to finish it all, but she enjoyed what she had. And as for me? Well, of course I ordered the Chocolate Lave Mountain and waited with anticipation for my dish and its accompanying hot toffee sauce. The desserts arrived and I looked around in mild confusion – there was no sign of my jug of toffee sauce with which I was supposed to melt the chocolate dome. Then I looked down, and realised that the toffee sauce was sitting in the pool of cream that surrounded the fondant. Sadly, this meant I was left to crack the chocolate dome in order to reveal the ice cream, and I couldn’t help but feel a little let down. Don’t get me wrong, the chocolate dome was good, the ice cream was smooth and creamy, and the chocolate fondant was a gooey, thick chocolate lovers heaven. However, while everything tasted nice, the novelty of the dish is part of why people will order it, so I would advise those at ASK to get themselves together and serve the dessert as advertised.
It’s a shame that ASK fell at the last hurdle – everything I ate was very tasty and all for a reasonable price. I wouldn’t let their one mistake stop me from visiting again, but next time ASK try to tempt me in with fancy, novelty food, I might think twice before ordering them.