Monday, 17 October 2011

Death By Chocolate

What's your main role in your circle of friends?

Amongst my friends, I am unofficially in charge of Events Management. I am  the one who makes those elaborate Facebook events, chases guests to RSVP, check dietary requirements, does all the relevant reservations, disseminates detailed directions to the location and makes sure everyone is dressed for the occassion.

I, somehow, just settled into the role. Admittedly, I wouldn't have it any other way!

I am the fussiest when it comes to going out. I am pedantic about food since I'm allergic to practically everything under the sun and meticulous about getting my money's worth. Setting up events is often stressful, especially when people cancel at the last minute or people turn up half way through the event. GRR.

But I like organising events and I like having the final say! AHAH.

Awhile ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to do a meet up over some delicious food. We don't get the chance to see each other regularly anymore because of conflicting schedules. So I booked for us to do something special, fancy and girly. I booked for the four of us to do High Tea!

The decision was made partly to coincide with the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. The Festival runs for the month of October and celebrates a wide variety of international cuisines. As part of the festival, there are a myriad of food events staged around Sydney and regional New South Wales. One of the more popular events that the festival has running is High Tea. Participating restaurants and hotels are serving their High Tea menus with a flute of Brown Brothers champagne for $45.

It took us awhile to figure out where we wanted to have High Tea because the festival has spoilt us with so many tantalising choices! I ended up booking the Shangri-La's 'Wickedly Sweet High Tea' which consists of eleven chocolate desserts per person. It seemed like the perfect choice because one of my friends can't eat cold cut meats and another loved the sound of a chocolate high tea.

High Tea at the Shangri-Le is served in The Lobby Lounge and Terrace, and the surroundings are pleasant and comfortable. On a normal day, this would definitely be a place that I would pop in for a coffee to unwind.

Unfortunately, we chose the wrong day to go for High Tea. The hotel was packed to the brim with people coming and going, and the hustle and bustle of people was discomforting. Admittedly, there were a few activities and events being held in the hotel itself, hence the large volume of people present. The lounge also overflowed with patrons and people were bumping into my chair as they walked past. Not to mention that the noise level was extremely high and we had to shout across the table in order to be heard by each other.

That was really disappointing.

Another complain would be the service. All the waitstaff we encountered were lovely, courteous and friendly. One staff member tried to make small talk with a friend of mine which I thought was nice. It personalised the experience.

But as time went on and the amount of people increased, the staff were difficult to flag down and prone to mistakes. I just wish they weren't so understaffed because on the day that we went, they were literally swamped.

My three girlfriends ordered English Breakfast Tea and I had my usual latte. I'm not sure whether it was intentional, but I was not served any sugar. My friend laughed that maybe it was normal, considering the amount of sugar in front of us!

The desserts that we indulged in were :   

Gateau Opera – Layers of Kahlua soaked sponge with hazelnut chocolate crunch and coffee butter cream          
Double Chocolate Brownie –
Chocolate and walnut brownie with a milk chocolate mousse
Chocolate Shot-  Milk chocolate cream topped with chocolate crunch
Selection of Macarons – Variety of chocolate flavoured macarons
Whisky Candy Bar – A crispy feuilletine base topped with whisky infused chocolate
Pistachio Slice – Pistachio sponge with a White chocolate and rice pudding bavarois finished with a pistachio glaze
Triple Chocolate Dome – Layers of white, dark and milk chocolate mousse set on a chocolate sable
Chocolate and Cherry Tart - Sweet pastry tart shell with baked chocolate mousse and cherries in kirsch
Chocolate Bavarois – Mini chocolate bavarois cake
Fondue with Lollipops - Warm chocolate fondue with frozen chocolate and hazelnut pops
Rocky Road – Raspberry marshmallow, Rose jelly, salted peanut chocolate caramel

I forgot to take photos of one or two desserts but you can definitely get a feel for how decadent the desserts are. After my second piece, I was begging for salt! AHAH. I was actually craving for stir-fried udon!

Was it delicious? I really enjoyed the 'Chocolate Shot' which is the first photo and the Rocky Road  piece which had rose jelly. Aside for these two, I don't believe that there was anything particularly exceptional. Everything else was a bit so-so. I thought there would be different variations of chocolates like dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. At the very least, I would have liked one piece of white chocolate. Every piece of dessert just tasted like it came from the same type of chocolate and that bored me.

I'm not sure if that makes sense. But the High Tea was essentially the same chocolate flavour eleven times. There was little variation. 

I know that I would have loved the experience a million times better if there just wasn't so many people or if the noise level was lower. I was so excited to see my girlfriends but the atmosphere made having a proper conversation really difficult. 

There are many more things to try at the Crave Sydney Food Festival! I'll be heading out to the Night Noodle Market and Sugar Hit this week and I can't wait!

To all my Sydneysiders! Have you been doing any of the festival activities?


  1. This looks like an amazing experience and Valentine...what did you wear??? My friends and I are always trying to get together for high tea at Peninsula...similarly to the price you quoted it is $50 per person. I am not sure what the food is but I think it is a combo of finger sandwiches and desserts...honestly for $50 I'd rather have a real dinner :) The chocolate shot looks amazing and so does the rocky road :)

  2. Oh gosh, the title really says it all. That's a bit too much sweets for the day lol They all looked really nice, too nice to eat, actually. But yes, appearances are sometimes deceiving lol. But nonetheless, it looked delectable. The 2nd one (after the chocolate shot) looks really delish, kind of like a specially-made Pocky :) Sorry to hear the experience didn't turn out the way you expected, but it's great you were able to spend time and catch up with your friends.


    A Single Girl's Musings

  3. Ohhhhhh, look at all that chocolate! Yummm... I crave a macaron now, haha.

    Can't wait for the holiday season!!

  4. this kinda of place looks amazing.. so much chocolate of everything!! I'm kind of a chocoholic .. luckily I have willpower otherwise I'd have very big fat hips :P Thanks for sharing those great pictures!

  5. YUMMM! Though at the same time, I can see why it's sugar overload. I always have that 'one too many cakes' regret after high tea...but I still keep going back for more. lol =P

  6. I just saw a piece of heaven... x.x