In 2007, much before La Folie opened to critical and commercial success in Mumbai or even before L'Opera offered its first dainty macaron to Delhites, Mikael Besse set up an avant-garde patisserie inside a Chennai cinema hall. Ecstasy’s sleek minimalism still stands out as uncommonly purposeful; from buttery leather sofas and leaning nambe glasses, to warm mugs along with a pot of Valrhona Grand Cru hot chocolate, the experience is disorienting yet comfortable. It nearly manages to conceal the absence of Mikael Besse. A sense of ‘auto-pilot’ invariably starts creeping in when you notice that while some of Besse’s best creations (flak, half baked cakes) come out as good as the last one, gilded promises like the striking fig mikata, Chennai’s most Instagrammable dessert, desperately needs a taste-test. Tedium of predictability further implores the question: will Monsieur Besse return with something cutting edge or, will he join the list of expat-Chefs who came, conquered and went back?
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