Life at the Village at Leesburg is about to get sweeter: Executive chef Santosh Tiptur opens The Conche, a chocolate-focused dining experience, for dinner tomorrow night. A conche is a crucial piece of equipment used in chocolate manufacturing that helps flavor development. If you didn’t know what it is, that’s okay; Tiptur wants to teach you.
Tiptur is a co-owner and executive chef at D.C.’s Co Co. Sala, a similarly chocolate-themed restaurant. Armed with 27 years of culinary experience, Tiptur introduced diners to chocolate in all parts of the meal, from cocktail to burger to dessert. After a successful nine years and multiple RAMMY wins, Tiptur is ready to introduce chocolate-inspired dishes to Leesburg.
Tiptur will create the savory menu with the help of sous chef Jeff Collins, who helped Tiptur open Co Co. Sala. “When we opened up Co Co. Sala, he was the first person I hired,” says Tiptur of Collins, who stayed for three years. The menu will include chocolate as an element in most dishes, such as a cocoa nib-crusted diver sea scallop entree and a beef slider duo that comes with a chocolate barbecue sauce. Desserts will definitely be chocolate-focused, with each one focusing on highlighting the flavors of the chocolate used. Manjari, a fruit-forward 64 percent dark chocolate from Madagascar and made by chocolate-maker Valrhona, will be crafted as a chocolate mousse, served with creme brulee, toasted marshmallow and rosemary salted ice cream.
Education will be a crucial part of the experience. Tiptur is interested in teaching people about what chocolate is, where it’s made and how it’s made, including streaming videos of cacao plantations and holding truffle-making classes for both kids and adults in the Chocolate Lab.
The lab, a temperature-controlled area that is glass-walled so customers can see the process, is where Tiptur will employ his tempering machine (melts and keeps the chocolate at the optimal temperature) and his enrober (evenly coats anything in chocolate) for truffle-making. As for flavors that Tiptur plans on featuring, he says that his head is spinning from all the ideas, but he sticks to a simple rule: It should taste like the flavor it says it is, with concentrated flavors in smaller bites.
A longtime resident of NoVA, Tiptur is excited to bring this concept to the Village, an area where he thinks people are ready for something new and different. There will be a walk-up window with hot chocolate, coffee and small snacks, and eventually, ice cream will be served. The 2,800-square-foot restaurant, with 76 seats and a full bar, will also feature a small corner to sell chocolates to go.
The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday, 4-9 p.m. // The Conche: 1605 Village Market Blvd., Suite 108, Leesburg