Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (Mandarin Oriental), Las Vegas, NV
Adam and I visited the Mandarin Oriental to explore for both of our career interests. Adam wanted to tour the hotel because Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is one of the best hospitality groups in the world, leading in luxury and guest services. And I of course wanted to taste desserts at their award winning restaurant, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire – the only restaurant in the United States by Chef Pierre. Throughout Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s career he has achieved several Michelin stars for his restaurants overseas. Twist is Chef Pierre’s second restaurant with the Mandarin Oriental, the first is in Hong Kong. Chef Pierre Gagnaire is very well respected and known worldwide; to have his restaurant in Las Vegas is a pleasure for all of us. Knowing he is well involved in his restaurant here, I was very excited to try his dessert creations.
Twist is a Forbes Five Star award winning restaurant located on the 23rd floor of the hotel. The restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and complemented by a beautiful view of the strip. The restaurant is very elegant: there are light silver tones and purple accents, classic white table cloths, and beautiful crystal clear balls hanging from the ceiling that have candlelight inside of them. (These crystal clear balls were actually decorated throughout the hallways of the hotel which made a nice continuous flow from the hotel to the restaurant).
We were seated at a dining table and from where we were, we were able to observe the high level of guest service given at the surrounding tables. We might not have received the total guest service experience, but when we were able to receive attention from the server he was very knowledgable and helpful in describing the desserts. At this time Adam told me that the food he was observing and the desserts that were placed on our table were way too small to fill him up. So, I promised him that if he attends all of the fine dining restaurants that have small portions there will be a hamburger for him waiting in my purse after dinner. He agreed that was fair haha.
We opted for their Grand Dessert and the Tanzanian Chocolate. The Grand Dessert by Pierre Gagnaire was four desserts inspired by traditional French patisseries. The Tanzanian Chocolate sold me when I read coffee granite (French for the Italian classic, granita) on the menu.
Grand Dessert Pierre Gagnaire
When the server brought out our desserts he recommended a specific order to taste each one, starting with the lightest and most refreshing and finishing it off with the richest one.
Vanilla Ice Cream, Green Apple Foam, Mango Coulis and Fruits: 10/10
Refreshing and sweet! Tart from the airy green apple foam, and surprisingly there was a lot of the green apple flavor despite its lightness. Then under the foam was vanilla ice cream followed by mango coulis with fresh diced mango. The vanilla ice cream and mango coulis was nice and sweet and offered a great contrast of texture from the light, airy foam. Everything balanced together perfectly, making this dessert easily one of my favorites.
Caramelized Pears with Fresh Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Shortbread and Lemon Meringue: 9/10
The lemon meringue was excellent! It had a nice bite on the outside, but the inside was so light and you could taste a hint of lemon. The pear sorbet was subtle and justified because the cooked pears were absolutely fantastic and presented the distinct pear flavor. The shortbread had a good texture with a crunch and was slightly sweet.
Chestnut Ice Cream, Cheese Cake Mousseline, Cassis Marmalade and Almond Nougatine: 8/10
Nine times out of ten Adam and I will never agree with loving the same dessert and I love that about us. It makes going on these dessert tours fun and reassures me as a professional that everyone has different taste buds; just because one person does not like it does not mean that it doesn’t taste great to someone else! So with that being said, this was actually Adam’s favorite dessert of the night and my least favorite, although it was still very good. This is hands down the most interesting dessert I have ever had in terms of the different flavor combinations. I really enjoyed the almond nougat with cassis marmalade. It was thin, crunchy and definitely had a nutty taste from the almonds. The delicious cassis marmalade was so sweet that it really hit your palate. Underneath the almond nougatine was the chestnut ice cream and cheesecake mousseline, which were weird at first, but grew on me more and more with every bite.
Orange Biscuit with Dulcey Chocolate, Ganache with Grand Marnier: 9/10
This dessert started with a ganache disc of grand mariner that had a layer of dulcey chocolate underneath, and finally under that lied the orange biscuit. The cake (biscuit) was moist because it was soaked in grand mariner. Between the cake and ganache disc, the grand marnier was a big punch of flavor. The chocolate lingered and balanced with the kick from the orange liqueur perfectly. (Yes this dessert kicked and punched!) I totally understand why the server recommended finishing with this dessert – it had a great lasting impression.
Tanzanian Chocolate: 8.5/10
This dessert was kind of two desserts in one. I absolutely LOVED the coffee granite (flavored ice) and the actual tanzanian chocolate was very good. The plate was simple, but pretty. The small chantilly dollops surrounding the plate were excellent and had a pop of alcohol (rum or whiskey, I believe). The chocolate bar was simple and similar to a traditional ice cream bar, but better. The coffee granite came in a martini glass rimmed with chocolate. Finally, there was a hazelnut shortbread cookie dusted with cocoa powder which was amazing alongside the coffee granite and caramelized hazelnuts. Overall, nice crunch from the cookie and hazelnuts with the simple coffee granite.
Pistachio Dacquoise: 9/10
This was a complimentary dessert all guests receive. The pistachio dacquoise was like a macaroon. It was delicious! Soft with a slightly crispy bite and creamy pistachio filling. This complimentary dessert also came with blueberries in crystallized sugar on toothpicks, which were also very good. Ultimately, this was a nice way to end a dessert tour with more dessert that was light and refreshing.
As if the complimentary dessert was not enough, they also gave us take home biscotti’s packaged with the Twist logo. The two biscotti’s were chocolate praline and pistachio cranberry. They were excellent in flavor and perfectly sweet. They were so delicious that also I ate Adam’s, oops haha.