Archive for the 'Tea' Category

Fat Buddha, Queen Victoria Building – Yum Cha

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Well Fat Buddha certainly caught me off guard – openly discreetly with no fanfare and no write ups!  It wasn’t until my colleague told me “have you been to the new Yum Cha at QVB” that I was alerted to the fact that it has in fact been operational for over a week!  Very keen to try it – who doesn’t love yum cha?  We went there on a Saturday morning – but shhh don’t tell the people at our regular hehehe :)  It’s actually on level 2 of the QVB where the ABC shop used to be – directly below the Tea Room.  I have to admit, the name “Fat Buddha”, and also the red huge signs next to Cupcake Bakery signalling its construction made me believe that it would be a trendy mod-Asian style of yum cha.  How wrong I was!    We walked up to the grand foyer and discovered it is decked out more like a palatial colonial style of dining room – more like Raffles style than Longrain style (sorry to mesh cuisines, but you know what I mean!).  The gorgeous wooden screens, the red and gold fabric lamps and the solid wood chairs, matched perfectly with brand new linen and dark silver topped chopsticks.

They set the bar high – this is yum cha fine dining style!  The usual pram jam and rampant children running dangerously around steaming hot trolleys might not be featured here – instead it’s likely to form a suit crowd. Verified by the waiter who said that it was packed out during the week. Well the proof is is in the dumpling – the prawn dumpling in fact. The yardstick by which all yum chas are measured!  The pricing here seems to be at a small premium for the upmarket experience, most are extra large at $9.50 a pop. but you do get 4 of each, unlike some cheeky yum chas who now give 3!    I loved the prawn dumpling.  The skin was correctly translucently but al dente. Not soggy at all, and the prawn filling had the appropriate texture and also this delicious seasoning that is usually simply pepper in other restaurants. Thumbs up!

The fancy sister of har gau is the scallop dumpling.  They look like little “cheeks” if you know what I mean! hehehe.  They were plump and nice.  But my only gripe is that a bit of cheap seafood extender is also in the filling.

Next, the other staple for comparison – the siu mai – or pork dim sum. Dotted with some roe on top.  The meat had some texture but my one didn’t have much prawn.

The lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice was good too. Also at the extra large price though.  The rice was gooey and perfect, but personally a bit more sauce would be excellent! (more…)

High Tea at Home!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

A rainy long weekend – what to do!  It’s not often that I have time to spend all day baking, so why not call the girls over for some high tea  - ahem, afternoon tea, and pull out the dainty tea paraphernalia.    High Tea  (as well call it in Australia, despite it technically being defined as a substantial meal early in the evening and what we have being called afternoon tea by definition), is generally at least $40 a person in most posh establishments such as 5 star hotels.  Having it at home, I’m quite positive it would be less than $2 per person.  For my tea, I made scones, mini Victoria sponges, mini choc mint madelines, and cucumber sandwiches.  Teas on offer were Lady Grey and English Breakfast (ie , whatever was in my pantry).  In fact, almost everything was in my pantry. All I needed to buy was a cucumber, soft fresh white bread, strawberries and cream.  Here’s how.

First up, make half a recipe of plain vanilla sponge cake.  The recipe I use is half of the following:  1/3 cup each of plain, SR and cornflour, sifted.  Beat 4 eggs until tripled in volume along with 2/3 cup of sugar.  Gently fold in the flours and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.  So basically, half of the recipe will fill 12 muffin tins, just 1/3 of the way, you don’t want the sponges to be too high or else they’ll be huge towers when you fill them with jam and cream.  Flours, eggs and sugar – pantry? Check.  I also wanted to test my mini madelines tin.  It was filled with less than half a recipe of the chocolate fondant recipe from masterchef, which involves butter, cocoa, chocolate, sugar and flour, again, all in the pantry/fridge.  I steeped some mint leaves in there for a mint flavour, but it didn’t work that well :(


Bacco Pasticceria – now at the Queen Victoria Building!

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Since Adriano Zumbo, Sydney has been in a bakery (and more specifically, macaron) state of frenzy.  It then surprised me that the new branch of the Bacco Pasticerria opened in quite a low key manner, in quite a low key spot at the top of QVB.  I can’t say that that upsets me too much, because this means that by lunchtime there is greater likelihood of a good variety of sweet things to choose from!  Bacco is a pasticerria and cafe and restaurant in one.

Beneath the stained glass arched entrance is a clear glass display of beautiful pieces of fine cake art.  It is soooo hard to choose from – tiramisus, mousse cake slices, gigantic macarons sandwiched with ganache, and their signature three texture chocolate mousse cake to name but a few..

They also have a good selection of family sized cakes, all too delicious to eat – topped with gorgeous strawberries, macarons and other jewels of adornment.   The style is less crazy, definitely not plain classic, each one a beautiful work of art that seems too good to ruin by eating.

What paticceria in Sydney would dare not offer a macaron. These chubby cuties sandwiched generously in ganache and irresstible in their pastel beauty.


Bathers Pavillion Afternoon Tea

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Bathers’ Pavillion, Balmoral, is well known for its brunches in the cafe, and also the fine dining restaurant, both sharing an uninterrupted view of Balmoral Beach as you dine.  But did you know that it also offers the best value high tea in Sydney?  It is just $50 for two people, and really does make you think why other Sydney hotels charge so much for around the same thing, minus the view!  Bathers’ Pavillion takes a more casual approach, no stuffy waiters and elegant china here!  This is very well suited to its large proportion of families that come her also much more affordable at $25 instead of $50+ per person.  The napkins are brightly coloured, and suit the seaside type of interiors inside.

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Also unlike other stuffy high teas in Sydney, Bathers does NOT put everyone’s food onto the one tea stand in an attempt to make it not look stingy! Bathers puts two persons food on the one stand, no need to make it look good value because it already is!

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Many people eat savoury sweet sweet, but for me, I start with hot then move to savoury then to sweet.  First up, scones!  One each, still warm, and of a good size, served with whipped cream and strawberry jam.  High tea purists might argue that clotted cream or double cream should be served.  But I prefer my cream with as little saturated fat as possible, it makes it much less heavy.

Bathers Pavillion afternoon Tea 4 scones.jpg (more…)