A new dessert bar is open on Spring Mountain Road and serving fanciful airy treats, impossibly hued teas, and surprising savory dishes. The operators of hot pot restaurant Chubby Cattle and of X-Pot at the Grand Canal Shoppes have opened Xtra Sweet Dessert Bar in the space formerly occupied by Meet Fresh, a Taiwanese dessert chain that specializes in taro balls, herbal jelly, and tofu pudding. The new dessert restaurant highlights a French and Chinese style of dessert, offering light and creamy mousse in the shape of xiao long bao and strawberries.
Joyce Li, a founding partner of Chubby Cattle and CEO of Xtra Sweet says that when she opened the Meet Fresh location in the space at 3930 Spring Mountain Road five years ago, it wasn’t a great fit for the area. “A lot of people have this perception about dessert — cheesecake, chocolate. So something like taro, herbal jelly, beans, some people can not understand that,” says Li. “They think ‘I just had dinner. I don’t want to eat starch again.’”
In the new restaurant, Li and co-owner and executive chef Qi Guan, who studied pastry in Paris, designed a dessert menu without the starchy flavors that Li felt some diners were put off by. The menu includes mousse treats filled with chocolate, jam, and curd in the shape of dumplings, mangoes, lemons, and clouds. A tea menu spans hot loose-leaf teas to iced drinks with colorful dragon fruit, pistachio, and taro. And savory items borrow from X-Pot’s kitchen for wagyu sliders and crackers topped with foie gras, caviar, and strawberries.
Also on the menu are high tea-style menus that include assortments of pretty macarons, two-person matcha mousse cakes, taro puffs, and other items. The cafe is also making mooncakes, ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The Chinatown cafe seats about 50 people in a counter-service restaurant decorated with cloud mobiles that hang from the ceiling and a wall covered in pink silk flowers. Xtra Sweet is open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at 3930 Spring Mountain Road.