Slideshow: First Look: Abstract Plating and French Technique on the Dessert Menu at Mettle, Austin

Birch, sweet cream, hazelnut ($9)
Birch, sweet cream, hazelnut ($9)
Walter makes a birch ice cream that's reminiscent of hard candies. He surrounds that with airy fennel seed meringues, white chocolate sassafras crema, salted hazelnut powder, and dots of unfiltered hazelnut oil. The tuile on top is meant to be crushed into the dessert. When combined, the components taste distinctly like a root beer float.
Chocolate, milk, soy ($9)
Chocolate, milk, soy ($9)
The velvety "chocolate bar" is made from 70% chocolate and is smeared across the plate. Candied cocoa nibs and a milk tuile made from egg whites and milk powder add crunchy texture. The intensely umami white soy (sauce) ice cream ties the bitter sweet elements together. This dessert reminds Walter of salted caramel chocolates.
Mango soup, yogurt, pistachio ($9)
Mango soup, yogurt, pistachio ($9)
A crunchy pistachio croquant acts as the base for the mango sorbet, yogurt curd, and pickled mangoes. Epazote, a peppery and minty herb, and Japanese togarashi chili powder bring a spicy je ne sais quoi. A chilled mango soup is poured on top, tableside.
Rose and Campari ice creams ($5)
Rose and Campari ice creams ($5)
The pleasantly bitter Campari ice cream is served with grapefruit that's been slowly "confit" in syrup and a drizzle of ice wine syrup.

The rose sorbet is made with fresh rose petals and is scooped onto a subtle cream and cucumber gelée.

Chocolate sorbet and brioche ice cream ($5)
Chocolate sorbet and brioche ice cream ($5)
The densely smooth chocolate sorbet is topped with a smoky Earl Grey foam that's been boosted with extra bergamot.

Chef Walter infuses milk with cubes of brioche over night to make the base for the ice cream. It is served on a layer of tonka bean dulce de leche.

Chef Finney Walter
Chef Finney Walter
"A lot of this particular menu are influences from my past, like California or France. Some people collect knives. I collect a lot of books and draw inspirations from them," Walter explained when I asked him how he creates each dessert's concept.