Sugar Hit 2011: Shangri-La

In recent years, the description of Sugar Hit desserts at some venues has become increasingly mysterious. “Your choice from our dessert menu” or “As uniquely designed by our pastry chef” don’t offer any insights for diners who are trying to decide where to go. If you want to grab people’s attention then you really need to advertise what’s on offer.

However curiosity got the better of Monsieur Poisson and I with Shangri-La’s Sugar Hit billed as ‘Indulge in a specially designed dessert’. We’ve had good experiences there in years past – well, perhaps not so much last year – and thought we’d take a leap of faith into the unknown. We later discover through the hotel’s dining website that the Sugar Hit is a ‘chocolate tapas plate’ and that they are being offered from 7pm each evening instead of the usual 9pm. Something to note for those wanting to attempt a Sugar Hit crawl.

The Sugar Hit is presented as a platter of six miniature desserts – chocolate bavarois, whisky candy bar, chocolate and cherry tart, pistachio slice, gâteau opéra and macaron – along with a glass of Brown Brothers Cienna with berry notes which work most well with chocolate flavours. The serving is most certainly sizeable and, we discover, comprised of a selection of desserts offered as part of Shangri-La’s chocolate high tea which takes place from 1-5pm on weekends.

I start with the pistachio slice as I expect it to be the least sweet. Its green foundation of pistachio sponge upholds a white chocolate and rice pudding bavarois and green pistachio glaze. Whilst the flavours are subtle and not overly sugary, I am a little put off by the greenness and the little bits of rice. I am biased, however, as admittedly I am not a fan of rice pudding to start with.

The lemon and white chocolate macaron is much less sugary than I expect and fragrant with lemon flavour. It has a pleasant chewy texture and marshmallow-like filling. The chocolate cherry tart in comparison is much heavier with its thick chocolate filling but the slightly tart cherry offers some relief.

The chocolate bavarois turns out to be my favourite with its smooth, mousse-like chocolate filling bound by jaconde sponge. The mini-pipette of raspberry coulis adds a bit of fun but the dessert is complete in taste even without its inclusion.

We find the gâteau opera a little dry, perhaps from sitting in the chilled display cabinet, but it does have a balance of chocolate versus coffee flavours. The whisky candy bar is saved until last due to its perceived richness but surprises us by being only rich in texture, and not too sweet in taste fortunately. A few chocolate-coated rice krispies adorn the top of a chocolate fudge square which sits on a rice crispy base with texture a lot like a Crunch bar. The chocolate has a hint of bitterness with a note of warmth at the end from the whisky, but it's the crispy base which wins me over.

Definitely a Sugar Hit which delivers good value but I still long for the days when the bulk of venues would offer up a dessert designed exclusively for Sugar Hit purposes only.

176 Cumberland St, The Rocks, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9250 6123

happy eating!


  1. Looks so much better compared to last year, I was heavenly disappointed with the one last year.

    I agree about the exclusively, I feel its not much a difference just going there dessert.

  2. from your description, it sounds much more promising than last year's. i do believe they should do an exclusive dessert for sugar hit

  3. love the pipette of coulis shoved into the bavarois!

  4. I remember going to a Sugar Hit like... years and years ago and left in a sugar coma. This one still looks good, but as you said, it's a little more special if they made the desserts specially for the event right? Not that I would actually say no to this... :)

  5. hmm that pistachio slice does look rather green but I love the little pipette of raspberry coulis!

  6. Variety is definitely the spice of life, and you can't say they don't offer that. I must admit when I was looking at the sugar hits, where they didn't describe what was on offer I just moved on to look at the next, without interest.

  7. So true...I was looking at the list of Sugar Hits, and was sorta dissappointed that barely any of them described what they offered! I love the pipette on the chocolate bavarois- it's so cute!

  8. I LOVE the whisky candy bar! Had it on the high tea stand on the weekend :)

  9. Hey Julie, heaps better in both presentation and taste compared with last year!

    Hey sugarpuffi, if it's something from the standard menu then there's much less incentive to try it out.

    Hey chocolatesuze, looked a little dirty when I had to pull it out!

    Hey catty, so you'd remember that once-upon-a-time that they would all be specially made for the event only!

    Hey Jacq, pipettes are in!

    Hey Sara, places aren't doing themselves any favours by being vague and mysterious about the Sugar Hits they're offering.

    Hey Von, exactly! How are you going to rope people into going when they don't know what's on offer?

    Hey Vivian, I saw from the picture you tweeted - love the crunchy base!

  10. Oh, those desserts look adorable! I want them all!


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