What’s for pudding? Hong Kong chefs give British classics a culinary makeover

British puddings, renowned for their stodginess, remain a favourite comfort food

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 April, 2017, 12:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 April, 2017, 12:22pm

The British pudding has a stodgy past - spotted dick and lumpy custard, rice pudding and overly sweet treacle puddings. Then came the era of TV chefs and, with it, the Great British culinary makeover.

Chef Nathan Green worked for one such chef, Jason Atherton, and came to Hong Kong with Atherton’s 22 Ships. Now, with his co-owned restaurant Rhoda, he serves family-style Western fare.

On his desserts menu is his version of the very British Eton Mess, which originates from the famed prep school and consists of strawberries, cream and broken meringue. “Ours is a little different as we add a few more strawberry elements to the dish to really help with the flavour,” Green says. “We add a strawberry sorbet as well as a strawberry puree. On top of this, we macerate our strawberry fruit with vinegar, icing sugar and a little salt and pepper which all help to show the strawberries at their best.

“And, finally, we make a Japanese green tea biscuit which helps with the texture of the dish as well as adding a little bitterness, to help balance out the richness and the sweetness of the dish.”

At Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, head chef Gareth Packham offers an amazing version of the classic toffee sticky pudding. “We make ours using a classic style by making a date base, also folding pecan through the mix,” says Packham, who started his collaboration with Ramsay at the Savoy Grill when he was 22 years old.

“Most dishes on my menu remind me of childhood, so the sticky toffee pudding is a part of me and what I believe in; every piece should be unforgettable - if not, then I’m not doing my job.” Having only been in Hong Kong for a short while, Manchester-born Packham says he finds the “food fascinating. It seems like the simplest of dishes are the best”.