The banker-turned-baker started out with an online dessert store after his participation on MasterChef, and the inspiration behind the name ‘Mad Hatter’ came from the famous Lewis Carroll character from the fairytale Alice in Wonderland.
It fitted him perfectly, as Marcus has a fondness for wearing hats and a flair for coming up with wild and whimsical dessert creations.
He is indeed the Mad Hatter of desserts infused with Malaysian flavours!
From an online shop, Marcus expanded to a brick-and-mortar premise to sell his desserts in June 2017. The shop is simple, bright and clean with a see-through kitchen, white walls, wooden tables and chairs.
There is a small coffee table with fluffy cushions and armchairs in front of the store, where you could sit and chat with a friend for hours over desserts and coffee.
Upon stepping into Mad Hatter Desserts, your eyes will immediately zoom to the colourful and interesting desserts on display, which are the result of Marcus’ experimentation with French culinary techniques and unlikely local ingredients.
There are about 10 different types of cakes available at any one time.
It would be wise to go early if you want to try the more popular cakes as they always sell out quickly.
When we arrived, the Watermelon & Assam Boi Tart that we heard much about was all sold out, so we went for the Passionfruit & Miso Tart (RM15) instead which had similar tangy notes. It looks appealingly like a white donut on top of a thick, crumbly, yellow base.
Actually, the yellow is the colour of the passion fruit jelly, and the 'donut' is constructed from miso panna cotta and miso ganache spiked with taucu sauce that immediately cuts through your palate with very sharp and savoury flavours. Who would have thought that taucu sauce could also be a component in a western dessert?
This passionfruit and miso tart is a great pick-me-up to awaken your taste buds with its fresh and zesty flavours!
The Chocolate Calamansi (RM17), one of the very first cakes to go on the menu, is another flagship cake. According to Marcus, it's a big hit with customers as chocolate is a perennial favourite. Inspired by the passion fruit and chocolate cake popular in Australia, the Chocolate Calamansi is given a Malaysian twist with the passion fruit replaced by a core of calamansi (limau kasturi in malay or 桔子 in chinese) curd, wrapped with salted praline crunch of hazelnut feuilletine in a tantalizing dome of dark chocolate mousse.
Each bite of the creamy Chocolate Calamansi is pure delight and all the components just blend perfectly together. Evidently, Marcus has developed a knack for reinventing desserts using local flavours. It makes a lot of sense to use ingredients that are readily available, as it keeps costs down and they work just as well to hit all the right notes.
Also highly recommended is the Raspberry Rose & Lychee (RM17), Marcus' own interpretation of French chef Pierre Herme’s famous Ispahan. This cake is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye - it looks very elegant and exquisite, reminding one of beautiful Geishas in Kyoto with its soft pink and white hues.
Every layer of this delicate dessert is graceful; with layers of raspberry mousse, rose and lychee ganache, raspberry jelly and sponge cake tying well together.
Last but definitely not least, we had the 'POP' Corn (RM17). This playful dessert is, quite literally, simply sensational!
It looks like a miniature ice-cream sundae, with fresh pomelo sprinkled on top, and nutty caramel & chocolate layers at the bottom.
Marcus explained to us that the correct way to eat this is to really dig right down to the bottom of the glass to get the full effect of all the flavours in one spoonful.
Wow, every spoonful really pops like a thousand little fireworks going off in the mouth!
A great dessert should feel like a good ol' song and dance, like having a fun party in your mouth, and this is exactly it. The rich and sweet caramel mousse balances the taste of the slightly bitter and salty popcorn flavours perfectly.
This dessert will definitely bring out the fun in you. Hop into the rabbit hole, because with one bite you’ll be transported back to childhood!
In short, we were delightfully pleased with all four desserts that we tried, as they were distinctive and very well put together. Mad Hatter Desserts is definitely a good place to hang out with your pals and enjoy some fun desserts. The ambience feels light and most importantly, the desserts are creative, clever and certainly hits our sweet spot!
By the way, Mad Hatter Desserts has a menu of five special desserts that are available only after 7pm. One of them is the Bubur Cha Cha (RM23). Now, you are probably thinking, what’s so special about it? Ah, this bubur cha cha is unlike anything you've encountered before. It's a deconstructed sweet-potato-&-yam cake, inspired by Marcus mother’s traditional bubur cha cha. We have heard lots of raves about it. Go try it, all you adventurous food seekers!
Mad Hatter Desserts is located at 19 Jalan SS21/60, Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur. The opening hours are 12pm to 10pm on weekdays and 12pm to 11pm on weekends. Mad hatter Desserts will be closed every Tuesdays.
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