Sunday, October 24, 2010

Marie Antoinette high tea at the Westin

It all started from the Sydney food bloggers' picnic where we mentioned that we should do something for the good food month. Betty initiated the outing by proposing a high tea.

"Guys let's go for high tea!"
"Why don't we do a sugar hit too while we're at it?"
"Oh wait, we have a few hours in between the high tea and the sugar hit, let's have dinner too!"

After the nth exchange of messages on Twitter and email, a group of sugar obsessed food bloggers decided to tackle a high tea at the Westin, followed by dinner for the sugar break, finished off by sugar hit at Shangrila hotel.

As a part of SIFF, the Westin has a Marie Antoinette high tea with sparkling wine for $45.

Complimentary Brown Brothers' Rose sparkling wine

Unfortunately I don't drink carbonated stuff so I had to stick to my tea, that had really nice aroma to it.

Whole rosebud JING loose tea
After quite a long wait, here comes the morsels!

there is nothing new except what has been forgotten” - slow cooked roast beef with crème cheese stuffedbaby belle peppers, avocado and shrimp tartar, blt and deviled egg finger sandwich, kiwi and orange croissant with mascarpone

The roast beef was yum! I found the profiterole encasing the shrimp to be too dry and I ended up scooping the shrimp tartar filling out. I couldn't taste the bacon in the blt and devilled egg finger sandwich, but the little sandwich came in a cute heart shape, toasted to the crispy side, and it was pretty nice. The kiwi and orange croissant was a nice bridge between the sweets and the savoury.

let them eat cake!’ - lime curd meringue tart, chocolate cream with exotic fruit caramel and candied walnuts, macaron with fresh blueberries, beetroot and cherry cup cake

The chocolate cream came in a little cup and it wasn't as rich as it looked, thanks to the exotic fruit caramel that tasted like passionfruit cream, that cut the richness of the chocolate cream.

Lime curd meringue tart (L), beetroot and cherry cup cake (R)

The lime curd meringue tart had the picture of the queen made from fondant. The tart had really strong lemon flavour that wasn't very appreciated by some of us, although I was quite fond of it. The beetroot and cherry cupcake, although the beetroot flavour wasn't very apparent, was nice and moist, and surprisingly one of the best pieces on the high tea.

Macaron with fresh blueberries

Most of us left the macarons to the last, since they were just too pretty! It was very heavy in the almond flavour but I liked it, especially with the addition of the fresh blueberries that cut the richness of the macaron.

Halfway through the high tea, we were wondering where the scones were, since high tea wouldn't be right without scones! Apparently the waiter would bring them out once we've finished the savoury plate.

Plain baby scones, baby scones with raisins

Scone with cream and strawberry jam
The scones had cake-like texture and I like my scones to be denser, more like the Tea Room type of scones! But with a slather of cream and strawberry jam, everything was all good.

We got unlimited servings of tea/coffee. When my tea run out and everyone ordered their second pot of tea, I opted for a cup of hot chocolate. Yes, I hadn't had enough sweets ;)

Hot chocolate

I suspect that they used powdered chocolate for this, sadness :(

After hanging around for a bit in the lobby, we decided to go to Subsolo tapas bar for a sugar break before our sugar hit later that night. I will post about these a bit later :D

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zumbo's cakes

I am sure most Sydneysiders must have heard of the name Adriano Zumbo, from his innovative cakes and Masterchef fame. I am fortunate enough to have tasted some of his famous creations.

On my birthday earlier this year, my friends surprised me with a birthday cake. As they were singing happy birthday to me, one of them was carrying this baby.

Adriano Zumbo's Croquembouche

Oh. My. God.

Who would've thought that they would actually order a Zumbo cake, and his famous croquembouche that kinda propelled him to fame, on top of that?!

I love you guys! You know me so well lol.

Dissecting each profiterole from the croquembouche tower proved to be quite a tricky job. Each profiterole was coated in a thick toffee layer that created the satisfying cracking sound as you sink your teeth into them. The creme patissierie was smooth and not overly sweet, creating a nice balance with the sweet toffee coating. Since there was a generous amount of toffee layer, most of us couldn't get past the second serving of the profiteroles since it was getting a bit too sweet.

Fast forward a few months later...

Masterchef season 2 just ended with Adam emerging as the winner. One of our friends just graduated and he was going back to the home country for good, so we held a little farewell dinner for him in Masuya. I was told that they ordered a Zumbo cake for that occasion, that turned out to be...

V8 cake

Cross section of V8

The famous 8 layered vanilla cake consisting of:
1. Vanilla crème chantilly topped with vanilla glaze
2. Vanilla water gel
3. Vanilla macaron
4. Toasted vanilla brulee
5. Vanilla chiffon cake with vanilla syrup
6. Vanilla ganache
7. Vanilla almond crunch
8. Vanilla dacquoise

Okay, so I am neither a food critic nor I am good at describing my food, but after the first scoop of the cake, I was in heaven, well perhaps vanilla heaven. It was just THAT good.

The vanilla creme chantilly (top layer) was the best cream/custard I've ever had. I especially like the addition of the vanilla almond crunch layer that provides a different texture and subtle saltiness to the very rich mousse like cake. The rest of the layers just somehow worked together to create this awesomeness of a cake that can't be described in words and you'll just have to fork out $150 to try it for yourself. However, may I remind you that this cake was indeed extremely rich with that amount of vanilla. After the first few scoops of heaven, I was struggling to finish my tiny little piece of V8 cake. I couldn't even finish my second piece since I felt so sick halfway through that.

Was it worth the $150 price tag? Well I guess the value of money is relative, but I can say that eating this cake is more for the experience, something like dining in Tetsuya. And make sure you have plenty of people to share this cake with!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sugar hit at Guylian Cafe

I get quite skeptical when huge chocolate brands start opening their cafe (Lindt, Guylian). I feel that the yumminess of their chocolate products can't be translated into their cafe products like cakes, cookies, etc. The local cafe's still win hands down for that matter.

Thus, when I saw Guylian cafe in the list for Sugar Hit, I never really considered that until I saw this.

OMG how good does that look?!

And so, I dragged the boy with me for a post-dinner dessert on the next day.

When we were about to order, we thought, rather than having two identical sugar hits, why don't we order one sugar hit and another Guylian cake? And I asked for a hot chocolate instead of the matching wine since I don't really like sparkling wines.

Guylian's hot chocolate

Rich rich rich hot chocolate. A cup of steaming hot chocolate poured on a piece of chocolate until it's all melted and gooey and then you stir them together creating an awesome chocolate shot.

And here comes the original sugar hit dessert...

Grand Forest - baked chocolate cake with layered of grand marnier strawberries, kirsch dark cherries, raspberry creme patissiere, sandwiched between two layers of thin white chocolate discs and sprayed with white chocolate. Accompanied by strawberry popping candy chocolate, caramel honeycomb, and dark chocolate stick.
It tasted as good as it looks! It was basically a black forest cake with a twist of berries and it was around the size of my fist. Due to the abundance of the berries and cherries, it wasn't too chocolate-y rich. The boy made all the pretty layers collapse after the first scoop lol. I only had one popping candy in my chocolate and the boy was sad since he didn't get any. The caramel honeycomb was soft and light, and the chocolate stick reminded me of a pocky.

The sugar hit was really nice and not overly sweet/rich, until we realised that we might have made a mistake by ordering this.

100% pure pleasure - Belgian chocolate mousse with almond panna cotta and Guylian chocolate ganache adorned by chocolate plates

In other words, this cake is all sorts of chocolate. The 'cake' or mousse itself was actually very smooth and decadently rich. But, only for chocolate lovers! I would have enjoyed this so much more, had I not devoured a cup of thick hot chocolate AND a sugar hit dessert, after having dinner. Since the boy only had a few scoops of each cake and a sip of the hot chocolate, it was a one woman job to finish all those three.

By the end of the night, I had this massive sugar stroke. My head was pounding. I felt really sluggish till the next morning lol I could've failed a glucose tolerance test if I were to have one. Oh well, I guess there is a thin line between pleasure and pain, and that cake was truly 100% pure pleasure ;)

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe
Level Ground, 91 George Street
The Rocks, NSW 2000

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I love Japanese food.

When dining out in Japanese restaurants, however, I never understood why people would order chicken karaage, since (at least in Sydney) they are normally pretty dry and bland, give me my KFC anytime! Why would you order that when there are other more delicious stuff like tonkatsu, tempura, etc etc...

BUT, there is one exception to this. 

Chikyuya, which literally translates into the restaurant earth, is located at the quieter side of Bondi Junction despite being right next to the Westfield. In this restaurant, you won't find those dry and bland pieces of deep fried chicken, but instead...

Chicken karaage with teriyaki sauce
Their chicken karaage is always juicy, succulent with nice crunchy coating smothered in sweet teriyaki sauce. You can opt for the sweet chilli sauce too, but teriyaki sauce is my personal favourite. And I would always ask for an extra mayonnaise for the dipping sauce on the side, although the chicken karaage is already flavoursome enough by itself.

Their gyoza is also as juicy as the chicken karaage. The juice actually drips out when you bite them nomnom..

Seaweed salad
I can't remember the prices for the food but they are very reasonable for Japanese food in Sydney (below $15). This place is definitely one of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney IMO. They have been in business for many many years, known and loved by locals through the words of mouth, but not very publicised (YET!) for some reason, considering the amazing quality of their food. 

Shop 106, 106 Ebley St
Bondi Junction NSW 2022

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breakfast on the bridge

I woke up at 5am this morning when the sky was still dark. I was one of the lucky 6,000 people to attend the breakfast on the bridge. Well, technically I didn't get the ticket myself but my boyfriend managed to get one for both of us, very lucky indeed. We reached Milsons Point station at around 7am and we joined my friend and her group.

On the entrance, there were a lot of stalls for Allpress coffee where you can grab free coffee/hot chocolate. I was gonna get a cup of hot chocolate but when I saw them squirting a bottle of chocolate sauce for the hot chocolate, err... no thanks!

As we were walking to the ticket inspection area, it started pouring, booo!

The breakfast on the bridge this year had a football theme. I heard it was for the bid for Australia to host the 2018/2022 FIFA world cup. There were lots of random soccer balls, a fountain for decorations at the entrance, as well as people dressed in interesting costumes.

After the ticket inspection, there were some people distributing bags of freebies with rain poncho and some yummy goodies.

Nudie's apple & apple juice, Wallaby's macadamia nut butter, an orange

The Nudie's juice was unexpectedly very yummy! Much better than a regular Berri's apple juice. I shall start trying out their products from now on.

After we laid down our food, a guy from Brasserie Bread came over to our spot and gave us some organic sultana loaves.

Organic sultana loaf from Brasserie Bread

That was a nice surprise and the sourdough bread was beautiful as expected from Brasserie Bread. The sultana pieces were juicy and plump as they were soaked in apple juice beforehand. The bread went very well with the macadamia nut butter we received from the freebie bag earlier. Apparently they have started selling the loaves in the Banksmeadow store now.

After a while, the rain started clearing up and the weather was really nice for a picnic.

The 6 lanes on the harbour bridge that I have driven past so many times!

My friend was wearing this I Zumbo T-shirt that he received at the Zumbo event at Mid City mall a few weeks ago. Even the people next to us asked him if they could take a photo of him and the T-shirt lol.

About an hour after the rain cleared up, we were instructed to pack up our goodies as the event was about to wind up in 15 minutes. They did that by blowing the whistles and giving out yellow cards (soccer theme!), which was followed by red cards that signalled the end of the event.

The weather was really nice and sunny when we were walking towards the Rocks. If only the event started an hour later it would have been perfect! But we certainly didn't let the rain dampen our spirits and we braved the elements till the end. Everyone in our group had a great time despite the initial hiccup from the mother nature :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

High tea - Mos cafe

I went for high tea with my cousin in Museum of Sydney cafe, also known as MoS cafe, located a block away from Circular Quay. This is a fairly new high tea institution, as they have just started serving high tea on their menu since July this year. The high tea is only offered on the weekends.

I managed to get a buy one get one free offer for the Moet & Chandon champagne package valued at $52/person, so I decided to stray away from my favourite high tea venue (The Tea Room) to try out this new place.

We were greeted with a glass of sparkling Moet & Chandon.

Sadly I can't drink any carbonated stuff, but the staff were very accommodating and they gave me a selection of wine. I ended up with a glass of Riesling which was quite yummy.

The 3 tiered high tea. The rack was a quite tall for some reason and we had to get up from our seat to reach the top tier.

The bottom tier - ribbon sandwiches. Cucumber sandwich with aioli and chives, poached chicken,housemade aioli & parsley, smoked salmon, capers & cream cheese, egg, mayonnaise & watercress.

The sandwiches were pretty good with fluffy bread and nice fillings.

The middle tier - the savouries. Plain and date baby scones, smoked leg ham & gruyere quiche, smoked salmon, dill & creme fraiche quiche, poached chicken & asparagus quiche, field mushroom & thyme quiche.

The quiches were nothing spectacular. The baby scones were VERY small, they are indeed babies. You could pop them in your mouth in one go slathered with lots of jam and cream. Although the scones weren't too bad, I was not too satisfied since scones are usually the main highlight in high tea for me.

The top tier - the sweets. Mini lemon curd tartlets, creme brulee tartlets with balsamic strawberries, dark chocolate cups with hazelnut pralines, belgium chocolate dipped strawberries, sweet ricotta filled baby cannoli.

For some reason, we only received one cannoli and one chocolate cup between two of us. I asked the staff about this and he said that it's normally like that. Hmm.. when my friends went there, each of them got one of each piece, how strange! Anyway, he was nice enough to give us another cannoli so yay! Overall, the sweets were nothing to rave about, but the cannoli was pretty decent. Perhaps all these years in The Tea Room has raised my standard for high tea.

The last but not least - the tea.

Strawberries and cream from T2.

They have a nice selection of tea from T2. And the best thing? You can ask for different types of tea without any extra surcharge! It's like all you can drink with T2 tea.

Overall, I think The Tea Room is still my favourite in terms of the high tea offering. But it was pretty nice to venture into another venue once in a while.

Museum of Sydney
37 Phillip St (Cnr Bridge St)
Sydney NSW 2000

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Barbecue madness at Atelier

Today was the barbecue madness that marks the beginning of my favourite event of the year, the good food month! After stuffing myself with free yummy food samples (the most important thing!) and food tasting at SMH growers market at Pyrmont, I headed off to Atelier restaurant in Glebe for their pork extravaganza. When I was browsing through the massive list in the SIFF website, I caught a glimpse of this word:

'roast pork on the spit'

....and I was instantly sold.

Oh, hello. This baby greeted us at the entrance to the restaurant.

The pork extravaganza was $35/person that included canapes, salad bar, UNLIMITED roast pork, dessert. I seriously think that this package has the best value out of all the offers for SIFF.

We started the feast with a piece of panini from Brasserie Bread along with this awesome butter. The waitstaff said it was some kind of French butter mmm.. I could've eaten a few of this but pork > bread so I had to restrain myself from doing so.

The canapes were deep fried John Dory cakes and marinated wagyu beef with some vegies.

The fish cake was nice but I couldn't really taste the beef in the little tartlet.

The salad bar had a selection of garden salad, Greek salad, and potato salad with chorizo, along with a pile of panini from Brasserie Bread.

I didn't take a photo of the salad bar, so this is my first sample on my plate. The chorizo was moreish and the pile of bread was so tempting! Yes, I love my bread and butter.

Not long after that, the first plate of pork goodness came.

They were very generous with the serving. This plate was pretty humongous! The pork had nice cracklings and the meat was very tender, juicy, and according to my dining companion, did not have the porky taste that some not-very-well-cooked pork may have.

After we polished the plate of pork goodness, the waiter collected the plate and he asked 'Would you want a bit more pork?'



The second round came. Sadly, we were pretty full after this plate. Considering that we had to save a room for dessert, we concurred defeat at this point. We could've had at least another plate had we not eaten so much at the SMH market beforehand *sadface*

We were given a selection of chocolate mousse and tiramisu for the dessert. Being a smart couple that we are, we chose one of each.


It was everything a tiramisu was meant to be; savoriadi nicely soaked with coffee liquor and creamy mascarpone.

Chocolate mousse

The chocolate mousse was smooth and intense, combined with whipped cream and cherry soaked with liquor.

A fruit platter magically appeared at the salad bar as a finishing touch for this great feast.

Overall, the food had really good quality, as expected from Atelier restaurant. I should try their regular menu sometime in the future.

Restaurant Atelier
22 Glebe Point Road
Glebe NSW 2037
(02) 9566 2112

Friday, October 1, 2010

Malay Chinese takeaway

It has been more than 2 months since my first post! *gasps*

The more photos that pile up from various restaurants that I have been to, the lazier I get to update this so-called blog. Anyhow, I should start with my favourite laksa in Sydney.

Coming from South East Asian background, I can safely say that the laksa from Malay Chinese takeaway is THE most authentic one I have tried so far in Sydney (and I have tried quite a number of them!).

Chicken laksa ($8.70) with extra vegetables ($1)

I ordered chicken laksa with skin (I love my chicken skin and the juicy fats underneath nomnom) with a bit of vegies in a measly attempt to make it slightly healthier. The broth was very flavoursome with a right amount of spiciness. Most laksa from other places use too much coconut cream/milk that overpowers the taste of the actual laksa soup base. The chicken pieces were nice and tender, but the tofu was the star of the dish! The spongy tofu were completely soaked with the soup and became these pieces of awesomeness. I could eat a bowl of just the tofu and the soup.

As it's located in the heart of CBD, it gets pretty crowded at lunch time. I find it cute that they sell the apron like shield that protects your suits from the food. Wouldn't wanna attend a corporate meeting with laksa all over your shirt I guess? For those working away from the city, this place is closed early at night for dinner (7.30pm) so get there early!

Malay-Chinese takeaway
Shop 1, 50-58 Hunter St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9231 6788