A taste of the moon.
That’s the celestial proposition pastry chef Darius Campbell is offering guests at the newly opened Luna restaurant at the Falls at Westmall, Westmoorings.
Chef Campbell has created the restaurant’s signature Luna Goddess dessert. The intriguing and equally delightful treat features a caramel mousse with a caramel insert, almond Florentine layer and a brownie layer, dipped in a white chocolate and almond dip and plated in the middle of a midnight chocolate sauce.
“Personally, wherever I go, I always have to have dessert. It closes the palate and completes the meal. You may have had an appetiser and an entrée, but dessert is sealing the deal. And this one-of-a-kind creation is the perfect way to end the night,” Chef Campbell told the Express on Wednesday.
Campbell, who was recently forced to cut short his culinary studies abroad and return home due to the ongoing global pandemic, said too many restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago don’t put enough thought and creativity into their dessert menu.
Among his creative innovations are Tropical Smore—chocolate mousse dipped in a dark chocolate and coconut glaze, sandwiched between two graham cracker sables, topped with a coconut meringue and a scoop of passion fruit ice cream—and a red velvet cake featuring New York-style cheesecake and white chocolate chantilly.
“I believe Luna gave me an opportunity to be creative. Step out the box and provide something that I believed Trinidad lacked as it relates to dessert. I believe our desserts are usually very limited; I wanted to bring something unique to our guests.
Something for everyone
Luna boasts a diverse, locally infused, international-style lunch and dinner menu, said restaurant manager Leon Williams.
Williams said since opening its doors days before Christmas Day last December, the restaurant has been inundated with requests for personal bookings and private functions from guests loving their open-air, moonlit patio. It has also started a Signature Sunday Breakfast Brunch Buffet, he said.
“Because of the deck and the atmosphere it creates, we have even got some request for weddings,” Williams quipped.
“I mean, the name says it all. It’s a dedication to the moon, the full moon. In our menu, you will find elements of what the theme of the restaurant is about and that is what the evening brings: that moonlight dinner,” Williams explained.
Head chef Adam De Freitas has included steaks, seafood broil, sandwiches, paninis, salads and soups on Luna’s varied menu. But Williams revealed that a certain beer-glazed lamb shank is proving all the rave.
“Chef Adam really looked at the menu to identify what customers want for lunch and dinner. But from the time we launched to now, there has been one clear-cut, number-one seller. Everyone who tried the lamb has come back for it. You know, sometimes you to go to a restaurant for one thing? That turned out to be the one thing for us,” Williams said.
Williams said launching a restaurant during a global pandemic has been a challenge. He reiterated however that sanitation and safety protocols are a high priority at his restaurant. Luna has wash stations strategically set up for staff, and customers must sanitise their hands before entering and when returning to the restaurant.
“I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, I know what it is to go through times likes these. To make this brave investment was a step in a direction, and I think a lot more local restaurateurs could take a lesson from this. It may not be the ideal season, but it could be the perfect season once you set your menu right, your price points right and, of course, location is key.
“Being in the mall is one thing. But if you look at our prices, you would see we didn’t come into the mall to outprice the mall. We still have the food court and other notable restaurants around that are direct competition for us. So when you’re strolling through the mall, feel free to stop in,” Williams concluded.