Gala Desserts has stepped in to fill a desperate need in the suburbs of Charleston: dessert. Okay, so maybe none of us need dessert, but it sure would be nice to have a place to go for an after dinner drink or a special end-of-evening treat. Now we have one.
Nestled in the stretch between Gene's Haufbrau and the thrift store in Avondale, it's easy to miss Gala Desserts, even if you know exactly where you are going. The entrance shares a foyer with the boutique next door, and the dessert case is in the back right corner of the shop, hidden behind customers when the place is full. They do have a menu with some non-dessert snacks and dishes, but since it's a dessert spot, dessert is what we got.
In the dessert department, Gala offers multiple types of mini cheesecakes, piped to order cannoli, dessert bars, tortes, and pretty much anything else you might think of. They also usually have several cakes available by the slice: so far I've seen Chocolate, Coconut, Red Velvet, and a few other "standards" rotate through. If you'd like a little something to go along with your dessert, they do have a liquor license ( yessssssss ), so you can get a little Bailey's in your espresso, or a splash of prosecco over some of their sorbet.
In one way, I really love the little place. Stocked with a hodgepodge of arts and crafts-y type furniture, a slice of cake and a glass of port is a really nice way to end the night here, particularly since it's a little closer to home than downtown. However, Gala is not without its issues. The biggest one being that the desserts just don't taste very fresh. They are certainly not "bad" or "turned" in any way, but they don't have that fresh taste and texture that I would expect ( and get ) from even the tourist-trap dessert place downtown. They have a "catered event" taste to them. The type of thing that tastes delicious at a wedding, but in-house should be fresher.
The key lime cheesecake has a delicious crust ( as do all of their cheesecakes ), but I would have liked to have had more of a citrus punch in the cheesecake itself. The key lime curd on top was delicious though. I would have eaten it on its own with a spoon! There was a key lime swirl inside the cake that had a mild bite of citrus, but like all of the "fruit" items (other than the curd), it was a little gummy. The Bailey's cheesecake was the clear winner: a slightly boozy take on the classic cookies and creme cheesecake combo of chocolate cookie crust with cheesecake. Topped with a chocolate whipped creme and a few chocolate cigars, it was rich, reasonably sweet without hurting my teeth, and flavorful even to this non-chocolate lover.
Other than the Bailey's Cheesecake, the cakes are my preferred dessert at Gala. Having tried both the Oreo Cake and the Red Velvet Cake, I would definitely go back and try the Coconut Cake next time, as the first cakes were great. Admittedly, they all still did have that "refrigerated one day too long" texture, but the taste is on point, and not overbearingly sweet, which is a huge win in what had previously been a dessert desert in West Ashley.
Desserts and booze West of the Ashley. It's about time.
Bailey's Cheesecake, any of the cake slices
Velvet Devil Merlot, Tawny Port, Raspberry Bellini, Affogato
829 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407
Behind the Thrift Store next door, valet across the street, or parallel park on Savannah Highway.