HAPPY 2015 FOODIE FRIENDS! Can you believe it’s mid of January already?! By now you may have noticed Nessy Eater’s been busy indulging desserts and summery meals on Instagram. The Food Gods knew that they’d needed new volunteers to take up the festive Christmas feast and so they immediately decided to choose me. OH the pain I had to endure and retire my typewriter during the holiday season. But sometimes when you’re giving a task during Xmas by the Food Gods and it involves your stomach and gingerbread man, it’s automatically a food hall pass. This hall pass was cherished and used judiciously for it is not an easy thing to obtain. The hall pass is something to be prized and by verbal consent from the Food Gods and Santa, Nessy Eater has permission to share great foods with you kids. What are you waiting for? Let’s begin!
It’s my second visit to Crossroads Bar at Swissotel Sydney and just before I had retired my typewriter and crisp white paper, I managed to spot a really good deal on Groupon. For $79 for two people, you get Christmas Weekend High Tea plus a cocktail for each person. Before treating your tummy to savoury foods and sweet delights, I wanted to quickly inform you that this deal was ALL YOU CAN EAT high tea. I repeat High Tea BUFFET. DON’T PANIC IF YOU’VE MISSED OUT! After a quick investigation like a detective I found out through the Swissotel’s website the high tea buffet is still on but not Xmas themed though. I’m sure it would be still as good and it is normally $79 per person. That’s CRAZY! I saved $79! This by far was the best deal that I’ve ever purchased from Groupon.
Are you drooling?
Before thunder and lightning strikes to my typewriter I think it’s now time to share the Christmas spirit with you. Within a 5-star luxury hotel the Swissotel does get a thumbs up for their modern and elegant interior, however their service and overall management did not make it to a two-star. We were disappointed by the lack of service and management skills. For example when we arrived, staffs at the Swissotel looked like they wanted to wrestle with guests in UFC style. You could see it in their eyes they were very frustrated and sad, especially when there was one main bartender, a supervisor and three waitresses serving around fourty five plus guests. Waitresses responded with a robotic tone and left unhappily after we made our beverage orders. I guess Santa’s been overworking his helpers. Anyways moving on to rainbows and unicorns.
Our festive fare started with Christmas pudding. This traditional pud is made from vine fruit and butter, eggs and a splash of vanilla custard. Each handmade pudding was the size of a baseball and half a tennis ball. What does it taste like? Think fruitcake. It’s not everyone’s taste as it’s an acquired taste, it’s cream sauce with dried fruits in it. I think it err needed lots of cream to tone it down.
Strawberry cream caramel kept vanishing every time I was forced to return to the dessert bar. Lightly greasy but it’s wrapped around a creamy center that won’t disappoint. The half sliced strawberry made this dessert refreshing. I like the chance to play around with the wobbly jelly like texture of the cream caramel before I devour it. It gives me time to mingle before I say good-bye to it for the second time. If you’re craving for that caramel sauce to take home then you need to ask Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich for a favour.
Strawberry cream caramel
I managed to somehow not shatter the blackberry pavlova into a million pieces before it made it back to my table. The fun sized pavlova looked like snow ball meringues. It was extremely light and airy. Being able to taste it for the third time, it was one of those fabulous treats to go along with a cup of tea.
As Christmas traditions go, starting a marvellous high tea with a shot of eggnog is another great way to celebrate the festive season. The shot was very satisfying as there was an egg-rich dairy punch flavour. It can be very boozy and super rich if there’s more eggs added, but thankfully not.
Festive must haves were the fruit mince tart. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without buttery pastries and fruity mince pies. These delectable star shaped mince pies simply provided a moment of self-indulgence for me. The outside butter-enriched pastry is stuffed with chunks of moist fruit and topped with heavy sprinkles of icing.
Fruit star tart
Oh hot summer days means we need to thank the bartender at Swissotel for making us the strawberry cocktail. Though we were half way feeding our inner cravings, we still managed to wash this beverage down. The sweetness of the strawberries was a real crowd pleaser and off course the rum. It wasn’t sickly sweet, which is good news coming from the syrup. The texture kicked ass as it felt like a strawberry slushy rather than a classic cocktail.
Me thinks the strawberry panna cotta was carefully crafted. The strawberries makes a great companion with the panna cotta for bright, sharp summer fruit. The taste was somewhat cream-heavier but that didn’t matter too much because I was mildly annoyed at the casual sophistication of the presentation for this dessert.
Strawberry panna cotta
Just look at how this chocolate fountain GLISTENS! It brings a smile to everyone’s face including the grumpy cats. Stop making me smile chocolate fountain! STOP IT!
I simply couldn’t get enough of the salted caramel and jam lamingtons. The lamingtons were sandwiching the sweet jam. I tried burying evidence of me eating this, but the shredded dried coconuts around my mouth gave it away.
Salted caramel and jam lamingtons
This chilled blueberry panna cotta in a miniature plastic cup was simply impressive. The fresh blueberries and pipped cream married so well with the silky smooth vanilla bean gelatine.
Blueberry panna cotta
With our voucher package, we were treated with selections of tea or coffee. All teas are from T2.
English breakfast by T2
Tempt the tastebuds with smoked salmon tartar with pipped cream cheese on waffle cone. It’s so easy to eat and I didn’t notice I ate five till I started counting the gold wrappers. Oh Whoops!
Smoked salmon tartar cone
Not sure if sandwiches are meant to look like they’re all swirled up but hey I’m loving it. This smoked turkey, pickled raspberry jam and rocket on harvest grain was juicy with that jam spread across the bread so evenly. The thick pieces of turkey was zomg crazy ass delicious.
Smoked turkey swirl sandwich
Making my way back to the buffet bar and look who do we have here…cocktail prawn station with Crystal Bay Australian reef prawn cocktail with lemon and cocktail dressing.
Cocktail prawn station
The fire roasted red capsicums with green olive and goat cheese baguette was my least favourite. It was an interesting take on for me in terms of flavours. It has that sweet sourness from the olive and cold texture of goat cheese which I didn’t favour.
Wicked, decadent and sinful was hardly the best description for these dreamy little masterpieces. I took my time connecting with the Christmas profiteroles. Glazed with milk chocolate atop and sprinkles of crushes chocolate pieces, I think it was the perfect addition to the buffet bar.
Wait there’s MORE DESSERTS?! I became very full from stuffing my belly with trying a bit of everything, but noooooooo the pastry chef had to bring this blackberry and white chocolate mousse just before I was about to pack my fat body and go. My belly was crying on the inside but because this mousse cake was beautifully presented, I had to cut a seven inch width slice of cake.
Blackberry and white chocolate mousse
I spy with my eyes….. is that a full plate of Christmas macarons? A sensational dessert that always alwAYS ALWAYS pleases! Hehe.
We had to arrange a little bit more stomach space for the spring berry tart. Glad we did because that tart had just came straight out of the pastry headquarters looking all innocent and sweet.
Spring berry tart
Woohoo our Christmas Afternoon Tea finally came to an end, however I’m sorry I’ve missed out taking a few photos of some desserts and savories. Overall I loved skipping my way to the buffet bar and thank goodness majority of the desserts and savoury tasted magical so I could forget about their below average service. Totes heart every single desserts presentation. Swissotel is a great spot for afternoon tea whores, for example like me, although it’s a tad pricey but it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT sugar. To my disappointment I couldn’t walk out of the hotel like a Victoria Secret Model in high heels. Instead I left waddling out like Mumble from Happy Feet and swore to myself that I ain’t gonnabe eating dinner…
Top view of spring berry tart
Photos by Vanny Tang
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You know the day is still young at the Oxford Tavern because everyone has got their clothes on. It’s very un-sleazy here at Black Betty as they have been firing up an American-style barbecue of smoked juicy meats as well as Australian classics. If you’re a meat freak like me then you can expect the menu to include brisket, pulled pork, sausages and other BBQ offerings.
Monstrous Meat Platter at The Oxford Tavern
You’d appreciate the BBQ menu on weekends, with their outdoor custom-made American meat smoker. The meats are cooked overnight for approximately 18 hours and ready to be seduced from midday the following day.
Awesome painted walls
The lust is in the air when you discover the menu. I think I’ve just found the perfect BBQ joint to warm cold winter weekends.
I want to try a bit of everything!
You won’t go hungry here at Black Betty because there’s just too many meaty goodness waiting for you. I’m sure the Drink N Dine Executive Chef Jamie Thomas can help you out.
Executive Chef Jamie Thomas
My inner freak came out when I saw this this THIS…GIGANITIC BEEF BRISKET! *Heavy Breathing*…*HEAVY BREATHING*
Drum rolls please for the beef brisket entrance.
Majority of the meats are weighted and sold by the 100gram, so don’t expect the numbers to be exactly 100grams.
Ready to be weighed?
Oh! Look at this bad boy…just laying there and looking so seductive. I just want to nom nom nom you all up!
*Faints* Such a beautiful view
So much sexual attention is given to this MEAT PLATTER. Where on Earth should I begin? The platter contained a mix of EVERYTHING including snag, ribs, brisket and pulled pork with BONUS side of a bun and slaw. The cost of this platter was about $50 for two people. You can eat with 2-3 people but I suggest go for it yourself, if you dare.
Monstrous Meat Platter ready to be undressed.
If you love Smoked Pork Snag ($7) then get involved. This is heavenly delicious with a nice amount of fattiness in the centre and teensy weensy amount of spiciness. It really kicks up the flavours of pork that is smoked.
Smoked Pork Snag ($7)
You’d be a sucker for the Lamb Ribs ($6 per 100 grams)– These ribs are surprisingly meaty and marinated to perfection. Pretty incredible flavours that your tastebuds will be ready for. Just look at that beauty!
Lamb Ribs ($6 per 100 grams)
It’s nice to meat ya Pulled Pork ($6 per 100 grams)-There is plenty of taste in this shredded pork and is seriously rewarding if you dress it up with the bun, however it’s sad to say it was a tad dry. It’s ok, I guess you can serve it with a thick, tangy sauce.
Pulled Pork ($6 per 100 grams)
I need you darling Pork rib ($7 per 100 grams) although these are not melt in your mouth rack of ribs, but they are quite a treat if you squirt some barbeque sauce on top.
Pork rib ($7 per 100 grams)
Can you feel the Beef Brisket ($8 per 100 grams) slowly getting to your nerves? With amazingly smokey taste, it’s a forgiven wonderful cut of beef. The meat doesn’t reach the wow factor of melt in the mouth like Papi Chulo’s, however it’s a winner with anyone who loves a bold rich beef brisket in this style.
Beef Brisket ($8 per 100 grams)
Lashing onto you BBQ Pork ($8 per 100 grams) – This immediately reminded me of Chinese BBQ Pork. It smelt divine and this brisket promises something fresh and tasty. Pretty much heaven if you have it with the slaw.
BBQ Pok ($8 per 100 grams)
Out of my mind that I want dessert!
There’s some pretty interesting quirks on the dessert section of the menu. Mr Clark Kent and I couldn’t resist to order the Deep Fried Golden Gaytime ($9) with 100 and 1000’s. It’s so wrong yet so right, however Mr Kent and I both agree it didn’t meet its perquisites. Shockingly it turned out soggy for both our golden gaytime’s. Somewhere out there a unicorn just shed a few tears.
Deep Fried Golden Gaytime ($9)
There’s a number of characteristics in this MONSTER DESSERT, The Jelly Wrestle ($20). The waitress each gave us a pair of rubber gloves. It is not for the faint-hearted that no cutlery is allowed. Oh so bad oh so good! Slowly the giant plastic golden platter piled with huge scoops of vanilla ice-cream, red and green and blue jelly, toasted waffles, candied popcorn, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, raspberry syrup, chocolate syrup and sprinkles of fairy godmothers rainbow. Not to mention lots and lots of cherries (we count at least six). It was fun and we enjoyed it regardless of how stuffed we were.
The Jelly Wrestle ($20)
No cutlery allowed for Jelly Wrestle. Let me pretend to be a surgical doctor, call me Dr. Eater!
Black Betty’s selection of BBQ meats will satisfy even the greatest carnivorous cravings. The décor’s and space is amazing. It’s not hard to find the Oxford Tavern as it is located in the corner or find the police station across the road. It’s winter in Sydney, so you have to indulge in all that irresistibly moutherwatering meaty goodness!
Maybe this is more seductive then the topless girls. 😀
Photos by Vanny Tang
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