When most of us think of Thai desserts, our minds go straight to mango sticky rice. Those of us who eat a lot of Thai sweets might also think of eggy Thai custard, even luk chup. But NoVA is lucky enough to have a Bangkok-style dessert café, Magnolia Dessert Bar & Coffee, to show us that there’s so much more to enjoy.
I went to Magnolia hoping to sample Thai-style tapas, but they’re no longer on the menu. Instead, I started with a Thai toast, grilled toast spread with mildly spicy chile jam, then covered in pork floss. I also got a ham-and-cheese crispy crêpe, filled with just a couple of pieces of each. But I wasn’t there for a substantial meal, anyway. I was there for honey toast.
Also known as Shibuya honey toast, the cubes of sweet, crisp bread originated in Japan, but have made their way around Asia. Sometimes they’re hollowed out before they’re filled, but at Magnolia, the toast is simply covered in toppings. And I mean covered.
There are three versions of the toast currently on the menu, strawberry, green tea and Nutella. I tried the last of these. Chocolate and hazelnut combine in a base of Nutella cream that drips off the edge of the toast as you cut in. A hazelnut-filled truffle adds a dash of elegance, as does a single macaron. On the side, which quickly fuses with the toast as all the ingredients combine, there’s chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and a sprig of rosemary which is worth a bite or two for an herbaceous refresher.
I accompanied the chocolaty dessert with a rose tea latte, as pink as it is floral-tasting. All of the items were expensive, with the honey toast costing $13.99. It’s a lot for a dessert, but for an occasional indulgence, Magnolia will remain on my mind when I’m craving something sweet. // 431 Maple Ave. W., Vienna
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