Showing posts with label mousse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mousse. Show all posts

Sugar Hit 2012: Sheraton on the Park

What is wrong with you, Sydney? Where is your love for all things sweet and the month of Crave Sydney International Food Festival?! I ask this because when we set foot into Sheraton’s Gallery Tea Lounge there is no one there. Not a single soul – no patrons, no staff – and on a Saturday night.

Sugar Hit 2012: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

How could you resist a Sugar Hit billed as:

“A chocolate dessert feast with opera slice, chocolate and cocoa nibs tartlet, chocolate macaroon, chocolate mousse and a chocolate éclair.”

Sofitel have not participated in Sugar Hits for a good 5 years now, but Monsieur Poisson cannot stop raving about when they last did – it was a Lenôtre gateau opéra. So with Sofitel reappearing on the menu this year, it was chosen mainly because Monsieur Poisson and Mistress both love gateau opera. We made our way to Sofitel as a group of four, and this is when things started to get a little unusual.

A French weekend in London

Another free weekend in Europe makes for another mini-escapade across the continent. Our trip to London felt more “legitimate” than our weekend to Paris – we had to pass through customs, show our passports and leave the EU – however it had less of a tourist focus as it was also planned as an opportunity to catch up with Monsieur Poisson’s cousin whom we’d not seen in almost two years. It would also be the first time in two weeks where we’d once again be located in an English-speaking city.

Sugar Hit 2011: Sydney Harbour Marriott & InterContinental

October has come around once again and, apart from Christmas paraphernalia popping up in department stores (some since early September!), it also means the Crave Sydney International Food Festival is upon us. For Monsieur Poisson and I it means another year of Sugar Hit desserts, but we have both promised ourselves to take things a little easier than last year where we racked up a mammoth ten Sugar Hits – our most ever!

Sugar Hit desserts are offered at participating venues throughout October with a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine for $20 from 9-11pm – some only on certain nights of the week so make sure you check before rocking up.

Sydney Harbour Marriott
Although we don’t spot anyone having the Sugar Hit when we arrive at 9pm, we were told when making our reservation that it would be a full house that night. The thing to take note of is that places often have a limited number of desserts prepared for each night and that once they’re sold out then that’s it.

The Sugar Hit here is billed as ‘A chocolate tasting including milk chocolate and hazelnut tower, white chocolate mousse and rich mud cake’. The ‘tower’ appears not so much as a tower as a slice of gelatine-set mousse on a chocolate brownie base and adorned with a puffed rice crunch. The white chocolate mousse is smooth and not overly rich nor creamy. Supported by a thin disc of sponge underneath, it is bound by a dark chocolate woven “basket” which has echoes of last year’s Shangri-La Sugar Hit. The mud cake is rich and dense but the least sugary of the three components, and rounds off the chocolate theme nicely. Served with a glass of Brown Brothers Moscato, the overall presentation of this Sugar Hit has me thinking of portions of desserts from a hotel buffet assembled together on a plate. The swirls decorating the plate are a plus point however, being raspberry coulis rather than a flavoured gel.

I’ve ordered a pot of Earl Grey on the side which, at only $5.50, is the popular hotel choice of Ronnefeldt and is elaborately presented on a silver tray with milk, honey, rock sugar and two bite-sized coconut cookies!

Sugar Hits at the InterContinental have consistently impressed both Monsieur Poisson and myself so we keep coming back year after year. It’s a popular choice as we spot two medium-sized groups of Sugar Hit goers as we are taken to our seats. When the dessert is placed down in front of us, we notice it is very similar in composition and presentation to last year’s.

The description of ‘Home-made pistachio and bitter chocolate vacherin with blood orange custard’ doesn’t actually prepare me for the elaborate layered chocolate slice with which we’re presented. Interspersed with windows of blood orange jelly and custard, the chocolate slice is flanked by a blood orange, chocolate ganache macaron perched on a strip of fruit jelly. I don’t detect any discernible pistachio, meringue, nor bitterness about the chocolate, however the whole dessert comes together well as a subtle and balanced interpretation of the classic jaffa flavour combination. No in-your-face orange here.

As for taking it easier this year, Monsieur Poisson and I have decided to share a Sugar Hit at each place we visit rather than consuming one each. This doesn’t stop him from ordering an affogato though!

30 Pitt St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9259 7279

117 Macquarie St (entrance cnr of Bridge St & Phillip St), Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9240 1396

happy eating!

Sugar Hit: Old Sydney Holiday Inn, 18 Oct 2010

When the urge hit to venture out for yet another impromptu Sugar Hit the easiest option, we thought, would be to head to a hotel which would be more likely able to accommodate us without a booking than a restaurant or café with lesser seating. We drove down to The Rocks and managed to find parking quite easily across the road from the Park Hyatt and I was ready to settle into the romantic interior and beautiful view when we were politely informed that bookings for Sugar Hit there were a must, and that there were only two sessions available – 9pm and 9:45pm.

So much for our theory. Hrmph.

Out comes our trusty copy of the Sydney International Food Festival program and, for somewhere nearby, we head to the Old Sydney Holiday Inn to try our luck. It is a hotel I’d never set foot in, despite walking past its entrance many-a-time; mostly when on the way to Pancakes at the Rocks during my younger years I must admit. We are seated in the ground floor lounge of the hotel atrium which allows a view of all the open balcony hallways housing the hotel rooms. By the flicker of alien green faux candlelight, the waiter tells us there is only one serve of their Sugar Hit remaining for the evening. Monsieur Poisson and I agree to share it between us, and are secretly grateful as the month’s sugar intake is taking its toll on us.

Old Sydney Holiday Inn’s ‘Orange on The Rocks: white and dark chocolate mousse, honeycomb pieces, chocolate ganache, orange segments highlighted with Cointreau and woven caramel nest’ is served with a Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora that is more watery and less sweet than we’ve had elsewhere. It is poured from a smaller bottle but we’re uncertain as to whether this has anything to do with it. The wine complements the orange flavours of the dessert well but the chunks of honeycomb are sweet enough without it, or the pool of chocolate ganache on which it sits.

The described ‘woven caramel nest’ is far from being a nest, but instead are strands of spun sugar laid across the orange segments. The mousses are interestingly piped into either end of a rolled tuille biscuit, giving rise to an appearance similar to cannoli. The dark chocolate mousse is a particular delight especially with its occasional hidden chocolate chips and when eaten with a broken shard of tuille in lieu of a spoon.

55 George St, The Rocks, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9255 1871

happy eating!

Sugar Hit: Glass Brasserie & Azuma Kushiyaki, 1 Oct 2010

October means for Monsieur Poisson and I what used to be known as Good Food Month. For the past couple of years revamped as Sydney International Food Festival, it remains our favourite way to indulge our sweet tooths in special Sugar Hit dessert menus and it also happens to be how we started dating. Our shared love of food is one of the things which brought us together and, well, when first dating you don’t have to worry about not having anything to say if you’re simultaneously stuffing your faces with food!

As per previous years, Sugar Hit desserts are offered at participating venues throughout October with a glass of dessert wine for $20 from 9-11pm. This year’s program sees the disappearance of quite a few hotels which have featured in the past, which is a shame because it’s always nice to sit in a hotel and indulge in the pretend notion that you’re away on holidays.

Worried about missing out, we jump in early this year and book last year’s two most popular venues – Glass Brasserie and Azuma Kushiyaki – as our starting point.

Glass Brasserie
We are running half an hour late whilst trying to secure parking in the vicinity of Hilton Hotel in which Glass is located. Monsieur Poisson is getting irritated (something which almost never happens) and I decide to cancel the reservation out of courtesy and so as not to run late for our next stop at Azuma Kushiyaki. Of course as soon as I do this we all manage to find parking spaces and score a table at Glass post-cancellation. Such is the cruel conspiracy of nature.

Described simply as ‘Alcazar chocolate and coffee cake’, we are presented with a rich multilayered cake with texture somewhere between mud cake and fudge. The cake is sitting on a slick of melted chocolate – not chocolate sauce as per our initial impressions – with a small pile of pistachio crumbs at the opposite end of the rectangular plate. There is an after-note of bitterness which we attribute to the darkness of the chocolate rather than the coffee which is not very obvious at all. Paired with a slightly sticky Brown Brothers Cienna & Cabernet, you get a wonderful chocolate berry flavour – the husband likens the wine to an alcoholic Ribena! And for those shying away from alcohol, Glass will happily swap this for coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Azuma Kushiyaki
Due to our delayed start at Glass, we call Azuma Kushiyaki to push back our reservation and are very kindly accommodated. Their Sugar Hit last year was booked out by mid-month and was extended to run into November on accord of its popularity. Sharing its name with last year’s Sugar Hit, the ‘East meets West – Dessert Tasting Plate’ is a neatly-presented affair comprised of several components.

Monsieur Poisson chooses the Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora which has featured heavily in Sugar Hits past, while I go for a cleansing cup of green tea. There is also Hennessy XO on offer for those a little more hardcore, or perhaps with more refined tastes.

The dessert tasting plate is brought out in two stacked Japanese-style boxes. In one there is ‘Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis’ and ‘Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Coulis centre & freeze-dried Raspberry Flakes’ in the other. I start with the smooth soft-set panna cotta flecked with the occasional vanilla seed with tart berry coulis on top – it reminds me of strawberries and cream but requires no chewing. I move onto the other box of goodies before finishing with the chocolate mousse which has a tiny hidden sponge and berry coulis centre, but the highlight for me is the fluffy berry mousse layer on top and the dried berry bits. And I’m not even a person who normally enjoys eating mousse!

The other box is a bit heavier with a ‘Green Tea Ganache Tart’, ‘Petit Almond Financier’, ‘Wasabi Ganache Tart’ and ‘macaroon’ [sic]. The flavours of the macarons change daily and are decorated with different smiley face expressions – a cute Japanese touch to your dessert. There is only one macaron per dessert plate but we receive two flavours between us – orange with an orange zesty filling, and coconut (I think) with a yuzu-like centre. These and the financier are polished off quite easily while the tarts have me defeated. I was going into sugar overload by this point and with both tarts being crust heavy, although a buttery crumbly one at that, it means there is more shortbread-like pastry than filling. The matcha tart is obvious in flavour while the wasabi ganache has us divided – at least three of us can’t taste the wasabi and I was really hoping for an after-kick as you do with chilli chocolate.

Overall a fun and very sugar-filled evening, but I’m afraid attempting two Sugar Hits is no longer recommended for this small Asian female!

Level 2, Hilton Hotel, 488 George St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9265 6068

Ground floor of Regent Place, 501 George St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9267 7775

happy eating!

Koi, 28 Aug 2009

Koi is located in Woolwich, one of Sydney’s many peninsula suburbs resulting from the inlet that is Sydney Harbour. Koi is tucked away almost at the end of Woolwich Road near a pub, in an area which is predominantly occupied by large houses. Diagonally across the road is Clarkes Point Reserve which offers distant views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and is a popular location for outdoor wedding ceremonies.

Monsieur Poisson and I were at an engagement party when Mr Jetset, knowing Monsieur Poisson’s love of sushi, recommended that we try Koi. He said the sashimi and sushi were both excellent and that he had become a regular customer through going back several times for both. But somehow through conflicting schedules of availability for the usual suspects, almost a year had passed since this recommendation to actually dining here taking place. In the meantime I had recommended Koi to Mistress who, along with her boyfriend, returned positive reports.

Koi is decorated in detail both inside and out. A pair of stone lions greets you at the heavy, dark wood doorway which leads to a small lobby-style area. Around the corner from an indoor garden water feature is the main dining room replete with a sushi bar which emits a hot pink glow from underneath. Lighting within the restaurant is soft and warm, and there are a couple of small rooms for private dining.

Our table reservation is confirmed by telephone call from Koi staff a few hours prior to our booking time. Upon arrival we are seated at a large, heavy looking, dark wood table in keeping with the décor, towards the back of the dining area. Hot green tea is ordered all round and we feel bad for the diligent waitress who continually refills our cups without request throughout the evening, as a teapot is not provided at the table. Points for service, however!

As our first few dishes arrive, Dr King becomes evidently enamoured with the array of plates used to present our food. Chunky stoneware with hewn edges in earthy colours feature heavily and we only see the same style plate appear twice across all the dishes we order – and that’s with four different desserts as well! But more about that later… We begin the evening with ‘Seared Scallop Carpaccio with Soy Butter’ which is surprisingly fragrant of butter from the moment it is set on our table, but subtle in taste. The scallop slices are large, evenly seared, arranged in overlapping flower petal fashion, decorated with a coral salmon roe centre and finished with a sprinkling of chopped chives.

The ‘Scampi Carpaccio with Nut Oil and Red Wine Vinegar’ is much less attractive in appearance, resembling more a platter of mush where the scampi meat is almost identical in colour to the centre of the plate. Do not let looks deceive you however, as it is a beautiful balance of fragrant nuttiness, faintly tart vinegar and soft, sweet scampi flesh.

We then continue with salmon toro sashimi which is simultaneously bouncy yet melt-in-the-mouth. Slices of salmon belly are served alongside ones rolled up to enclose avocado and fine lengths of cucumber like an inside-out maki roll. But even this calibre of beauty pales in comparison when placed next to the tuna chutoro sashimi, with its smooth, fatty texture which is not at all sticky on the palate. It is not cheap but absolutely worth its 'market price' cost. Koi also has the fattier ootoro which we will make a point of trying the next time we are there.

Our ‘Soft-shell Crab Roll’ and ‘Spicy Tuna Roll’ arrive served on the same plate. Warm soft-shell crab is rolled with cucumber, avocado, tobiko, mayonnaise and enclosed in rice and nori. Biting into the roll gives a satisfying crunch, not often experienced at other sushi bars. The spicy tuna roll has tuna sashimi rolled with mixed Japanese pepper, leek, sesame oil and shaved bonito. Both are simple in construction but sophisticated in flavour.

The ‘Coral Roll’ contains plenty of seafood with crab meat (NOT crab stick), scallop and cucumber enclosed in rice before being overlayed with thick salmon slices.

For more substantial mains, we have two dishes to share. The first is ‘Kamo’, which is a miso duck breast, alongside roast beetroot on sweet potato purée and a 62 degree duck egg. The duck is sweet with crispy skin and succulent, juicy flesh. The beetroot is tender and sweet. The duck egg has a sexy wobble and reveals silken innards when pierced.

Secondly we have the ‘Wagyu' featuring a 180 gram, grade 6+ Wagyu steak chargrilled, served with pickled capsicum and tarragon butter. The tender beef has a well-seasoned, thin, smoky crust which is beautiful on its own, but adopts another dimension when dipped into the creamy, Béarnaise-like sauce.

Then it’s onto dessert, and it is where our meal takes on a markedly European influence. Between us we order four desserts which covers most of the menu. But before we get into the swing of sweet things, we are treated to complimentary palate cleansers of green tea and white chocolate mousse with green tea ice. The mousse is so smooth and enjoyable that we all agree we would happily have it as a dessert in its own right.

I decide to have the dessert special of ‘Azuki and raspberry soufflé with raspberry sorbet’, and am rewarded with a fragrant and light soufflé with a crusty top that is studded with berries. We all think we heard wrong about there being an azuki component and assume it has been puréed into the soufflé batter, when I discover a smooth azuki centre hidden well into the middle of the pot. The sorbet is fluffy and tart, offering pleasant contrast to the soufflé.

Gingerbreadman has the ‘Black sesame crème brûlée with apple and sake purée, apple sorbet and sesame tuille’. It has a most surprising presentation for a crème brûlée, with slices being sandwiched between layers of sesame tuilles. There are sesames seeds everywhere! The apple sorbet is intensely refreshing but we don’t detect any of the sake.

Monsieur Poisson has the ‘Triple chocolate slice with chamomile poached pear, mango ice-cream and kiwi purée’. The slice is dense but not overly fudgy or brownie-like. The intense chocolate flavour is offset by the lightness of the pear spiked with tea flavour and the almost sorbet-like mango ice-cream.

Dr King has chosen the ‘Macadamia cake with pumpkin ice-cream and honey mousse’. The presentation is not what we expect when it arrives resembling a terrine, with the cake layer at the base, ice-cream in the middle and mousse sitting on top. The pumpkin ice-cream is subtle in flavour and not as unusual as it sounds. It actually tastes quite good paired with the honey mousse.

Feeling fully satisfied, we ask for our bill which arrives with some complimentary after-dinner chocolates – gold-dusted fishies served on a chilled platter.

Koi is a traditional Japanese restaurant incorporating a few, modern fusion touches used to good effect. It is undoubtedly the best Japanese meal I’ve had yet. Complemented by excellent table service, intricate interiors and beautifully-presented food on rustic servingware, it provides an intimate and authentic dining experience.

102 Woolwich Rd, Woolwich NSW
Tel: (02) 9817 6030

Opening Hours:  Mon & Tues  CLOSED
Wed  6pm-10pm (dinner only)
Thurs  12pm-3pm (lunch)
           6pm-10pm (dinner)
                        Fri & Sat  12pm-3pm (lunch)
                        Sun  12pm-3pm (lunch)
                                6pm-9:30pm (dinner)

Koi on Urbanspoon

*EDIT*: As at mid-2011, Koi has been "temporarily closed" according to their voicemail message.

happy eating!

LATEST UPDATE: Koi scored 14/20 in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2010, not quite making it to the mark for a Chef’s Hat Award.

Sydney International Food Festival: Sugar Hits, Oct 2009

*We interrupt our usual broadcast to bring you a summary of the month that was…*

October for me means celebrating several friends’ birthdays and has also, for many years, meant Good Food Month. Having never worked in the city means that I have never been able to take advantage of Let’s Do Lunch offers, but just because Good Food Month has now been renamed to Sydney International Food Festival does not change what the month-long events mean to me: Sugar Hits!

Throughout the month of October many places offer a nightly dessert deal including dessert wine for $20, from 9-11pm unless stated otherwise, most of them being hotels. In the past some places have allowed the substitution of alternate drinks for non-wine drinkers, but in recent years the deal components cannot usually be changed.

This year there were a few funny things about Sugar Hits:
  • the website had originally advertised Sugar Hits for $45 – a bit of a price hike! – which was soon corrected
  • Tony Bilson’s Number One and Swissôtel were both omitted from the printed program but were listed online
  • there was a misprinting of the phone number for Sir Stamford
  • there was an unexpected change of menu at Shangri-La (more about that as you read on)
Four Seasons, 4 October 2009

A large group of us descended upon Four Seasons without much planning, however one of us did call ahead to make a reservation. Upon arrival he was told Sugar Hit was not being offered that particular evening, but when the whole group was assembled staff said they could serve it to us anyway. Confused? Oh yes, much.

The menu featured ‘Baked chocolate mousse with mandarin sorbet and anise seed croquant’ paired with Brown Brothers’ orange muscat and flora which was not allowed to be swapped for coffee or tea. In hindsight, Four Seasons served the largest glasses of dessert wine of all the Sugar Hits we attended!

The baked mousse was fudgy with its texture resembling a brownie and the sorbet had a slightly bitter taste akin to citrus peel. There were little cubes of jelly dotting the plate that tasted like manadarin and were firm but not quite as chewy as, say, a gummy lolly. All elements sat on a plate decorated with swirls of chocolate sauce and mandarin sauce.

InterContinental, 5 October 2009

Monsieur Poisson and I ended up here after trying to book for Azuma Kushiyaki (see below) but were told they were closing early due to it being a public holiday and would not be offering Sugar Hit. We phoned InterContinental and were told no booking was required so we rocked up around 9:30pm.

The description for their Sugar Hit was a ‘famous dessert trilogy paying homage to chocolate’ by Austrian pastry chef Karl Beil. We started off with a glass of orange muscat and flora each before being presented with a rectangular platter with a white chocolate dome, chilli chocolate slice and a chocolate macaron on chocolate paste.

The white chocolate dome was a marshmallowy mousse resting on a disc of sponge. It was sweet but not overly creamy. The chocolate macaron, as Not Quite Nigella said, is actually a macaroon and for some reason the one on my plate was much larger than that on Monsieur Poisson’s. The biscuit was almondy and was sitting on some seriously rich chocolate paste. The chilli chocolate slice was spongy yet rich at the same time with an obvious after-kick of chilli. Alongside was some nashi pear paste which we were told served the purpose of cleansing the palate between each chocolate morsel.

Sheraton on the Park, 9 October 2009

We arrived at Sheraton in the midst of pelting rain after learning that both Azuma Kushiyaki and Glass had been booked out since 4:30pm that afternoon. Sugar Hit was being served on the ground floor of the Sheraton, as opposed to upstairs as in years past. There didn’t seem to be an organised reservations system in place and we saw people being seated whenever they arrived regardless of whether they have made a reservation or not.

There was no mention of what the dessert wine was when it was placed in front of us and we could only assume it was Brown Brothers’ orange muscat and flora. I suspect that the wine had been pre-poured and the glasses chilled en masse as the wines arrived being less fragrant than what we had experienced elsewhere.

The dessert was a ‘Warm chocolate pudding with golden almond splinters, honeycomb ice-cream and chantilly cream’. Not being much of a pudding girl, I didn’t have high expectations but was pleasantly surprised by the spongy and fluffy pudding covered by a river of chocolate sauce flecked with almond bits. The centre was hot but it was no fondant so I can understand how some would have been disappointed. The ice-cream had lovely crunchy honeycomb bits and was sitting in its own mini-waffle basket which stopped the ice-cream from running everywhere. The cream was smooth with a rich dairy taste and cut through the pudding nicely.

Partly due to the miserable weather, Monsieur Poisson ordered a caffe latte afterwards that arrived with quite a bit of milk foam and a biscotti on the side.

Shangri-La, 16 October 2009

Shangri-La’s Sugar Hit menu caused confusion for me this year as the program had them serving ‘Coconut panna cotta, mango jelly, frozen coconut pops and pineapple’, whereas the website listed a ‘Hazelnut torte, lemon curd, sugar-coated hazelnuts and lemon jelly’. Not similar in the least! However the dessert wine was allowed to be swapped for soft drinks and juices, but not tea or coffee.

What we got on the night was a hazelnut torte that was more mousse than torte, with its obvious lack of nut meal, that had a lemon curd centre. The sugar-coated hazelnuts had turned into sugar-coated popcorn, although the popcorn was crunchy, light and thinly and evenly coated in toffee. The stripes of lemon curd on the plate were not quite tart enough for me but, then again, I like and can tolerate quite a bit of sourness. The lemon jelly was cute and dusted with caster sugar which reminded us of jube lollies from our childhood.

Azuma Kushiyaki and Glass were reportedly booked out until the end of the month and I was disappointed at Sheraton because I had expected a much more nutty affair!

Azuma Kushiyaki, 23 October 2009
So if Azuma Kushiyaki was booked out, how did we get to Sugar Hit there? Due to a little trickery on Monsieur Poisson’s part, he made a dinner reservation for us to celebrate our anniversary. Ours was a drawn-out meal anyway and when 9pm swung around…

This was the Sugar Hit that I really wanted to try, partly because it was new to the Sugar Hit list but mostly because of the stunning photos I had seen on other food blogs. Judging from these, Azuma Kushiyaki looked like an exceptional value-for-money Sugar Hit.

Azuma Kushiyaki’s ‘East meets West – Dessert Tasting Plate’ featured ‘mochi with kinako served with vanilla ice-cream and Japanese brown sugar syrup, green tea rolled cake with chestnuts, nori seaweed langue de chat biscuits, vanilla cheesecake and Belgian chocolate mousse.’

I started off with the mochi which was sitting in partly melted ice-cream by the time I had finished with my frenzy of photographing. They were a nice bite-size, not overly sticky and mildly sweet from the kinako. I was instructed to pour the sugar syrup over the mochi and ice-cream which added a glorious burnt caramel taste. The green tea cake was light with a fair amount of green tea taste and quite a lot of creamy filling. I seemed to get more chestnuts in my piece than I had seen in photos. The langues de chat were buttery with a savoury twang of nori which reminded me of Asian packs of nori-flavoured potato crisps. The vanilla cheesecake was of the unbaked variety and was smooth, creamy and very milky in taste. The chocolate mousse was dark, not sugary and heavenly even for someone like me who normally doesn’t like mousse!

Monsieur Poisson gave the Sugar Hit a miss and ordered himself the Belgian chocolate mousse from the current dessert menu. It was presented with as much care and precision as my dessert and Azuma Kushiyaki was definitely the standout for me amongst this year’s Sugar Hits.

Sir Stamford, 24 October 2009

We were accompanied by Ms Sourdough and Weirdo to this Sugar Hit, but unfortunately Weirdo was on a diet and had to sit and watch us eat! We were confounded to be asked what drinks we wanted by a staff member and further perplexed when he told us the Sugar Hit was paired with a ‘riesling which is not really a riesling’. Anyhow, after a little while we had glasses of orange muscat and flora placed in front of us before the arrival of a ‘layered treat filled with strawberries and cream, with layers of soft ginger shortbread in between’.

Sandwiched in between rounds of icing sugar-dusted, crumbly, ginger shortbread were layers of thick cream and fresh strawberries. The top was decorated with slices of dried strawberry and mint leaves, which added a different layer of flavour and textural contrast. The amount of cream proved too much for Ms Sourdough and myself, but Monsieur Poisson happily accepted my rejected cream. The shortbread had interesting bursts of ginger and saltiness (perhaps from the use of salted butter?) and was rather filling, but was nice with the berry coulis that had been drizzled on the plate.

Swissôtel, 27 October 2009

We squeezed in one last Sugar Hit before the end of the month and landed ourselves at Swissôtel, where they had a twist on the partnered drinks. From the above you would probably think the only drink on offer was Brown Brothers’ orange muscat and flora, but the other featured dessert drink was Hennessy cognac. Swissôtel was serving Brown Brothers’ zibibbo or a Hennessy cognac mule cocktail with their dessert of ‘White chocolate raspberry layered mousse, champagne glazed poached berries and dark chocolate pistachio’.

Monsieur Poisson tried the cognac cocktail which was made with lime juice and ginger beer. It had an interesting tart and gingery kick at the end but the cognac was quite potent and Monsieur Poisson failed to finish it. I rather enjoyed the zibbibo because of its light flavour and bubbles. The layered mousse had a layer of nuts hidden in the middle and a crumbly base. The cup contained a white chocolate mousse concealing poached berries at the bottom. The dark chocolate pistachio was quite rich and was like chocolate fudge decorated with pistachio rubble.

And that, is it for another year. I probably need to take it easy with desserts after all this, and it seems that October is the only time during the year that I consume any sort of dessert wine!

199 George St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9250 3231

117 Macquarie St (entrance cnr of Bridge St & Phillip St), Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9240 1396

161 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9286 6000

The Gallery Tea Lounge on Urbanspoon
176 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW
Tel: (02) 9250 6000

Ground floor of Regent Place, 501 George St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9267 7775

Azuma Kushiyaki on Urbanspoon
Level 8, 68 Market St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9238 7082

Crossroads Bar, Swissotel Sydney on Urbanspoon

happy eating!

So how many Sugar Hits did you do this year and what was your favourite?


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