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Archive for the ‘High Tea’ Category

The Tea Room, QVB, Sydney

Have you ever met someone and just connect straight away? Have long conversations about everything and anything? This is how I felt about this wonderful gorgeous girl, N. We met at a wedding through our husbands, ‘The Mother’ works with her husband, we connected and well the rest is history!

I was catching with the gorgeous, N, for lunch and thought we would have lunch at The Tea Room. The Tea Room, which is situated in Queen Victoria Building, is known for its high tea. I love the high ceilings, elegantly decorated with wall paper, the light fixtures and the velvet texture. It is such a lovely wedding venue, and a wonderful place for high tea.

Unfortunately, we didn’t feel like high tea, so decided for lunch and perhaps dessert. N opted for the Roast barramundi, lemon, herb and spinach risotto, Mediterranean broth ($29). The fish was moist and the skin was crispy and crunchy. N loved it, it was delicate and tasty.

I opted for the snapper fillet, prawn filled zucchini flower, summer vegetable broth ($29) – it had me at zucchini flower. The prawn filled zucchini flower was outstanding. The fish was firm but moist and the mixed vegetables of eggplant, zucchini, and carrots were excellent. It was simple and well executed.

For dessert, N, opted for the twice cooked chocolate soufflé, vanilla and hazelnut foam ($12). Unfortunately the chocolate soufflé collapsed from the kitchen to our table. The chocolate soufflé was deliciously rich and deliciously moist. I loved the hazelnut foam and the vanilla ice cream was a great complement. It was just fantastic.

I had the dessert special – buttermilk pannacotta with raspberry coulis and peanut brittle ($12) and WOW! I have really taken a liking to pannacotta, it was wobbly, soft and just melted in my mouth. The raspberry coulis was a little rich, however, the peanut brittle was unbelievable tasty. Who doesn’t like peanut brittle? Wish there was more of it though!

It was a wonderful lunch, not only the food was stupendous but the company was brilliant. We sat there for hours talking, laughing and conversation just flowed. I had such a wonderful girlie chat that I didn’t want it to end!

I remember coming here with ‘The Mother’ for high tea, and the traditional afternoon tea is excellent, assortment of sandwiches, scones, pastries and sweets. I love the scones, and the finger sandwiches, it certainly has been a while since I had high tea, and will definitely come back for it.

Service was excellent, waiters were tentative. It was certainly a relaxing and wonderful lunch.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

The Tea Room

Level 3, North End, QVB

455 George Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

Ph: +61 2 9283 7279

The Tea Room, Queen Victoria Building on Urbanspoon

A’s famous Ham and Baby Shower

Every year, our dear friend A makes her famous ham. A is a wonderful chef, and for those who knows her, would agree with me! I have often suggested that she goes on Masterchef as I believe she would do well, however, she claims that the pressure and stress is not something she would enjoy and living with people she has never met before would drive her mad. I would probably have to agree that the pressure and the stress would probably fail me! (Not that I would ever make it to the first rounds of Masterchef anyway!)

So when, S, T, L, and I received an email from A about her Ham night we all jumped for joy, as it is something that we have looked forward to every single year! Last year I missed out as I wasn’t in Sydney, so this year I was determined to go!

A’s ham is just absolutely superb, the smokey flavour, the texture, and the moistness are just wonderful. I remember one year she made mango chutney, and eaten with ham – WOW! Look at the glaze on the ham?

Below is a photo of when it has been slice into pieces – the slither of fat, the shininess of the glaze, I am craving it all over again. It is just wonderful. Thanks for the doggy bag home too – they were a great midnight snack!

Not to mention her potatoes, baked kipler potatoes cooked in duck fat – yes you heard me, duck fat! Crunchy outer skin and soft and tender insider, I couldn’t help but eat at least half a dozen of these! They were that good!

My contribution to the wonderful meal that evening was a rocket, pear and feta cheese salad. I completely forgot that A can’t eat feta cheese, she is pregnant and at the time baby B had not been born. The salad was light and refreshing – I have always loved the combination of pear and rocket, and thankfully the pear was soft – nothing worse than hard pear in salad!

Recipe for rocket, pear and feta cheese salad:

Ingredients

  • 300g wild rocket or normal rocket
  • 1.5 pear thinly sliced – core removed
  • 80g feta cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for taste

Method:

  • Wash rocket leaves and draink
  • Place into a mixing bowl
  • Add in pear slices, salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil
  • Add feta cheese and mix well

L made these wonderful apple custard tea cake – cupcake like and they were incredibly moist and incredibly tasty. Eaten slightly warm and with Vanilla bean ice cream they were just to die for!

About a month and a half ago now, A had her baby shower. She invited a few of her closest girlfriends around for high tea. I can’t believe that at seven months pregnant she made all these wonderful dishes all by herself.

Caramel slice, lemon and blueberry tart and magnolia cupcakes (I can’t for the life of remember what flavours they were!).

The savouries – mini meat pies, just as good as those from Bourke Street Bakery and these chicken, corn, salad and mayo mini sandwiches. Both an absolutely delight!

Her famous lemon scones were just to die for, especially when hot and eaten with cream and jam – who doesn’t love a good scone?

A, congrats on the birth of your son B! I sure look forward to meeting him shortly and seeing him grow up.

Thanks for the wonderful ham night and the high tea – you are truly a wonderful cook! P is certainly a lucky man!

Marie Antoinette’s high tea at Westin, Sydney

I was organising my sis-in-law to be, O, hen’s day. She wanted something ‘girlie’ to do, and what better way than to have high tea? 7 of her closest friends, including myself, talking, eating, drinking tea like true ladies!

I haven’t been to the high tea at the Westin, but have heard many good things about it. As part of the SIFF event special, the high tea includes unlimited tea with a glass of rose wine from brown brothers for $45. However, if you have missed the SIFF event, don’t fear, they still do have high tea on weekends, however, prices are slightly different. There are three options, the tea / coffee option ($44), sparking rose ($51) and for the indulgent, Moet & Chandon champagne option ($61).

As we sat down, we noticed there were masks, for each and everyone one of us; it was part of their theme. We sat there, swapping masks to match the colour of our outfits and took photos – of course we didn’t eat with our masks on, I would have been happy too if everyone else did. However, no one wanted too!

Our brown brothers rose wine – delicious! I could have easily had another glass – it just went down smoothly!

The moment we have been waiting for, three tiers of towering goodness.

The bottom tier, savoury, from left to right: starting with avocado and shrimp tartar, blt and deviled egg finger sandwich, kiwi and orange croissant with mascarpone and finally, slow cooked roast beef with crème cheese stuffed with baby belle peppers.

The slow cooked roast beef with crème cheese stuffed with baby belle peppers were delightful! It was a shame the bread was a little hard.

The kiwi and orange croissant with mascarpone was not savoury I thought, but it was delicious. I loved the flavours of kiwi and orange together.

The avocado and shrimp tartar were too cute to eat, however, it was good but nothing to rave about.

I loved the blt and deviled finger sandwich which was served in a heart shaped bread – adorable!

As soon as we have finished the bottom layer, they brought out the scones as they are served warm. There were two types, plain and sultana – both awesome!

I love good scones, fluffy, and moist and they were just that! Mini warm scones with good cream and jam are just divine!

Second tier, starting from the left, lemon curd meringue tart, macaroons with fresh blue berries and beetroot cherry cup cakes.

The lemon curd meringue tart was incredibly rich. It was way too overpowering, sweet and tangy! I wasn’t a huge fan. I did like how a Marie Antoinette portrait was printed and placed on each tart. I thought that was quite clever and adorable!

The beetroot cherry cup cakes did not taste like beetroot and cherry, however, they were probably my favourite. They were seriously cute, and as unladylike as this is, I managed to ‘pop’ one in my mouth! Classy I know. It was light, fluffy and moist.

I am not a huge fan of macaroons but had a bite of this, it really didn’t do anything for me. The other girls, including my sis-in-law loved it!

Last but not least, the top tier, chocolate cream with exotic fruit caramel and candied walnuts. It had a passionfruit flavour, although I am certain there was banana in it also. The chocolate cream was quite runny, it was a tad sweet for my liking, however, underneath it all lays walnuts. Don’t think most of the girls liked this, it was definitely too sweet for all of us!

Aside from the from the food, there is unlimited tea, I lost count how many teas I had, but definitely the green tea, the white tea and lychee tea.

The high tea was served in the Westin Lobby bar and lounge, opposite the reception. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, chatting, giggling, and gossiping. It really had that ‘relax’ atmosphere. A common topic of food, shopping, jewelery, and tv shows will always bond a group of girls together, regardless whether or not they have met before.

Welcome to the family sis-in-law to be! Looking forward to the wedding – it will be a great day!

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Westin The Lobby Bar and Lounge

1 Martin Place,

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 8223 1111

The Lobby Bar & Lounge on Urbanspoon

S’s tea party

A dear friend of mine, S, is getting married shortly. She didn’t really want a big hen’s night, so her bridesmaids, A1 and A2 thought it would be nice to organize a tea party for her. A few of her closest friends, drinking tea or champagne over sweets and savoury food discussing things like friendship, marriage, babies and basically life.

I have known S for a while now, we met at indoor soccer, and she knew ‘The Mother’ before I met her – it’s all that six degrees of separation thing.

That morning, I went to Adriano Zumbo, it has been a while since my last visit, and by a while I mean a good two years or so. The queues have been insanely long that I really haven’t even tried to go there until that morning. A uni friend of mine, C, wanted to buy some macaroons so we met in the city at 9 am and got to Balmain by 9.15am. Yes, we were eager beavers!

Thankfully the line weren’t that long, we only had to wait 10 minutes before it was our turn. I felt like a child in a candy store, all the pastries, the desserts, the sweets – I was in candy heaven!

I got some croissants, a plain croissant and a chocolate croissant. My dad had the plain croissant and he thought it was deliciously rich, and beautiful. ‘The Mother’ had the chocolate croissant and he absolutely loved it too, then again, he loves chocolate croissant. I lost count on how many chocolate croissants he ate whilst we were in Paris!

I said to C that I was only going to be 3 desserts, I ended up with 6 different delicious and wonderful desserts and 12 macaroons! It wasn’t all for me of course, half for the family and I, and the other half for the lovely tea party that afternoon.

Now the tea party, it was hosted at A1’s house and it’s a beautiful house. Five of S’s closest friends were there and we were all looking forward to the wonderful delights that we were about to consume.

A1 is a fantastic chef, I have asked her many times to enter masterchef, however, she is expecting shortly and I don’t think she wants to be parted with her newborn. A1 made these delicious vanilla cupcakes, sprinkled with rainbow hundreds and thousands, they were moist and wonderful. I will have to get the recipe from her one day!

There were also egg tarts and coconut tarts, think they were bought from a bakery in Cabramatta. The egg tart glistened and called out to me, I had to have one. Had too! It was fresh, the pastry was crunchy and melted in my mouth, the egg tart itself wobbled, it was creamy and good!

More desserts which consisted of caramel slice, pineapple cheese cake and a mini banoffee pie.

Here are the yummy desserts I bought at Adriano Zumbo. The round chocolate tart was deliciously sweet but yet bitter. The malt teaser (top left) which was malt dacquoise, almond pralie feullitine, malt bavarois, vanilla cremeux, chocolate sabayon mouse was sweet – a little too sweet for my liking but S managed to cut the malt teaser into six tiny pieces! Unfortunately I didn’t have any of the ed on the rocks (top right), I was just overloaded with sugar and couldn’t eat anymore!

The macaroons, now there were just too hard to share between the six of us. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what was what, but here are the flaovours: Mango and Tonka Bean with Black Pepper, Blueberry Lavender, Beetroot and Raspberry, Coffee Brule, Oatmeal and Ylang Ylang, Mango and Tonka Bean with Black Pepper, Pear, Fennel and Pistacchio, Olive with Bergamot Hard Candy Pitt. I didn’t have any, not a huge fan of macaroons; however it was funny how the girls tried to decipher what was what!

Last but not least, A1’s famous sausage rolls. She made them herself using the Bourke Street Bakery recipe and they were as good as the originals! I couldn’t but eat at least four of these, they were that good!

We talked. We laughed. We gossiped. We discussed. It was one of the best girlie afternoons I have had in a long time.

I used my brother’s camera, which is the nikon d90 and I am in love… I NEED to get a new camera! NEED! WANT! LOVE!

Adriano Zumbo

296 Darling Street

Balmain, 2041

Ph: +61 2 9810 7318

High tea @ Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

I have read many raving reviews about the High Tea @ Peninsula Hotel. It is on the list of things to do whilst in Hong Kong, and has been recommended by many people. Unfortunately, I was seriously disappointed! I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was all about. I admit, the lobby is absolutely gorgeous, and very European. The atmosphere and service were fabulous and if the food was slightly better, I would have totally and utterly enjoyed it!

I came here with my neighbour A, we got there early, at 1.30pm and were first in line! I remember coming here previously with Hubby and came around 2.30pm on a Sunday and the line were horrendous, and left!! So after being in line for about 10 – 15 mins, we were cordially escorted to our table. The ambience was great, the string quartet playing in the back ground, I can see why it’s a great place to have high tea with friends and / or families!

So the three-tiered stand is placed before us, consisting of a mixture of savoury and sweets.

First tier, raisin scones and a little pastry wafer. The raisin scone weren’t as moist as I have liked, it was more biscuit like than anything else. Eaten with a dollop of clotted cream and jam, it was surprisingly delicious, if only it was moist. The little pastry wafer were nice but nothing to rave about.

The second tier, savoury sandwiches and other savoury pastries. The cucumber sandwiches were a little bland and boring, the tuna and mayonnaise sandwich was nice but nothing to rave about. I enjoyed the salmon sandwich, however, it was tiny, and only ONE was given. The mini quiche was delish, however the other pastry was incredibly sour and both A and I did not enjoy it. My favourite would probably have to be the quiche and the salmon sandwich.

The top tier, sweet goodness. From left to write, starting with the coffee macaroon, 3 layered mouse cake, egg tart, pistachio macaroon, banana cake with chocolate, another egg tart and in the centre, chocolate with lemon and pineapple. I didn’t have any of the macaroons as I am not a huge fan so gave them to A to eat. A thought they were incredibly sweet and couldn’t even finish one! The egg tart was creamy, however, I still prefer the Macanese tart! My favourite was the banana cake with chocolate, the banana cake was incredibly moist and absolutely delicious!

Last but not least, these little cute espresso cups which was coffee panna cotta with a scoop of coffee sorbet. This was deliciously sweet, however, too sweet for my liking!

So from all the delights (or non delights) above, I only liked the salmon sandwich, the mini quiche, the banana cake with chocolate and the coffee panna cotta with coffee sorbet. Otherwise, everything else was just ordinary.

A and I enjoyed the atmosphere and the ambience, however, the food was a disappointment. We were both so SO unsatisfied and unimpressed with the food. I still do prefer the high tea at Joel Robuchon (read review here), the serving are  a little small but it was far more delicious and appetizing ! It might have been our batch, but we were truly and utterly disappointed.

GA’s rating: 5 / 10

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2920 2888

Glorious food for afternoon / high tea with fantastic friends!

Everyone loves high tea, regardless if you are male or female. R, J, F and I all love high tea, and thought we would replicate all the delicious goodness on our own. I don’t mean we all make the pastries, sweets, and scones on all our own? No no – that’s just way too much effort! I am lazy and need to be in the ‘mood’ to bake – well baking is my way of procrastination! We wanted a high tea that’s somewhat different to your traditional high tea. Of course there will be the traditional scones, croissants and sweets but we (I should say, I) wanted some Indonesian snacks.

It was held at R’s place (read her review of the high tea here) and we were all given specific tasks to bring but it was pretty much whatever you want to eat, buy. J had the tasks of bringing savoury pastries, F sweet pastries, R, sandwiches, drinks and fruits, and I, Indonesian snacks (sweets and savoury).

I bought all my Indonesian snacks at restaurant padang (read review here) and I wanted to buy everything that I saw but I knew that my eyes were bigger than my stomach! For savoury snacks, I bought the traditional risoles, kroket and pastel kari.

For sweet snacks, I had to buy, durian mochi (yes they were absolutely divine, hint of durian so it wasn’t too smelly!), klepon (delicious round coconut sweets with palm sugar inside that burst into your mouth once you bite it), pineapple nastar (delightful pineapple round tarts), and banana coconut sweets. Yes, I was craving all of it!

Here’s what it looks like plated up next to J’s pastries – mini croissants, Japanese chocolate chips, and red bean chewy donuts.

J went to three different bakeries in TST and bought more than we could eat! It was great though – it’s always better to have more than not enough! Bottom left: I loved these sausage donut wrap, and Japanese corn chewy donuts. Bottom right: Look at all those delicious cookies! Top left: sponge chocolate cake in a shape of a sandwich and top right: R’s grilled bacon wrapped pineapple drizzled with maple syrup.

It’s not high tea without scones, cakes and sweet pastries! Here are the cranberry scones, custard filled pastries, fruit pastries and chestnut napoleon – my my I was in dessert / sugar heaven!

It took us a good 30 mins to plate it up and to make it all ‘pretty’. By ‘us’, I meant J and R, I just stood there perusing at what I can eat first! Then another 30 mins before we all finished taking photos – I was ravenous by the end of it and was dying to eat all the delicious goodness!

It was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with great friends! We had a great time catching up, talking, laughing and well… being us!

Thanks R for hosting a great afternoon – great food, great game and most importantly, great company!

Superior sweet High Tea @ Four Seasons, Central, Hong Kong

I have always enjoyed going to High Tea, either with the girls or with Hubby (He won’t admit it but I know he enjoys High Tea also!). We were keen to try the High Tea at the Peninsula, but when we got there at about 2.30pm, there was an incredibly long line that didn’t seem to be moving at all! We waited for a good 25 mins, to see whether or not the line would move but alas… it did not move at all, and by this stage, Hubby was getting a little impatience and suggested we go somewhere else! Thankfully, I had a back-up plan, which was the Four Seasons!

There were no queues at the Four Season, which was a bonus and the fact that it was Fathers day, they also had dessert buffet, which means MORE sweets!

Our set took a while to come, so we started with the buffet of sweets. My plate consisted of the berries and port trifle, raspberry floating island, chocolate orange square tart, black forest cake and raspberry sponge cake. I loved the black forest cake, it was incredibly moist. The berries and port trifle was also delightful. I thought the chocolate orange square tart was a little too sweet for my liking.

The traditional tiramisu with crystalised orange zest was served in a martini glass. It was incredibly sweet but incredibly delicious! Hubby ate two of this and I am sure he could have eaten more! He absolutely loved it!

I have yet to finish my desserts, and Hubby stood up to get more – berries and port trifle, tiramisu with crstalised orange zest, vanilla panna cotta with balsamic strawberries and raspberry floating islands. His favourites were the vanilla panna cotta with balsamic strawberries and the tiramisu. I am not a huge fan of panna cotta so did not have any of this.

Finally – our towering of savoury and sweets goodness arrived. The bottom tier consisted of ham sandwich, salmon sandwich, cucumber and cheese sandwich, prosciutto bruschetta , eggplant with potato salad, mini egg salad sandwiches and quiche lorraine.

I absolutely loved the mini egg salad sandwiches and the eggplant with potato salad.

The middle tier, scones – lemon scones and sultana scones. The scones were a little hard for my liking and way way WAY too sweet! It was warm, but when served with jam and cream, I could feel my sugar levels rising. It was definitely way too sweet!

I don’t think we even made a dent on the top tier – macaroons, brioche, blueberry cheese cake and mango pudding in shot glasses. I had some of the blueberry cheese cake and some of the mango pudding and that was it. I was stuffed!

We sat there for another hour, thinking that we could potentially eat the rest of it, alas no… I completely over dozed on sugar and was seriously full. It was good sitting there talking to Hubby. We have had a busy week of football world cup and visitors that we haven’t had the chance to sit and talk.

Personally, I thought the high tea at Four Seasons was way too sweet, especially the scones! It filled you up  too quickly. I think the fact that we started on the buffet of sweets prior to eating the savoury also made us full. This is great for those who have a superior sweet tooth!

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

The Lounge, Lobby Level,

Four Seasons Hotel

8 Finance Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 3196 8888