Burnt Orange
345 Victoria Ave
Chatswood, Sydney

In the middle of Chatswood Chase shopping centre you will find this leafy little café oasis.

Although there wasn’t much passing traffic it was quite busy for a Tuesday lunch.

The decor was bright and fresh and there was an al fresco feel to it.

Feeling like a cleansing drink, as she often does, Dame M spied the juices and ordered an apple, carrot and orange juice. 

This was  cold, refreshing, and just the right balance of flavours.

We chose some starters from the menu – a bowl of mixed olives and the homemade brown bread with butter.

Inspired by the pretty, leafy surrounds and her love of chicken salads, Dame D ordered the Green Goddess chicken salad with avocado, bacon, roasted corn, cherry tomato and Persian feta. Sliced, pan fried breast of chicken topped this colourful, appealing looking dish. The chicken was moist and tender with a hint of garlic, the cos lettuce was fresh and crispy as were the cherry tomatoes.

She loved the texture contrast between the ripe avocado, soft and delicious Persian feta and the crunch of the lettuce and bacon. This was an ambrosial, filling dish.

Dame M chose the Alaskan King Crab Benedict on toasted Brioche. She hadn’t had this combination before and it sounded interesting. The eggs were beautifully cooked and the creamy hollandaise sauce was slathered on top. All the elements of this dish were balanced, so the delicate crab flavour was not overpowered. A lovely combination.

There was a small selection of “Afters”, Yuzu and Lemon Meringue Pie took Dame D’s fancy. This was a very pretty looking dish, an old favourite, with a twist. The traditional biscuit base was crumbed and sprinkled on top and the meringue and lemon curd was piped straight onto the bowl base. The meringue was soft and sweet and the lemon curd was smooth and extra tangy thanks to the Yuzu. Simply scrumptious!

Dame M chose the indulgent Banoffee Pie with maple-roasted pecans and Belgian chocolate ribbons.

It looked amazing.  The biscuit base had a filling of fresh banana and creamy toffee. Delicious.

We both loved the maple pecans and there was plenty of chocolate to top it off.

It was time for a good cup of coffee so we ordered a latte and a flat white. A lovely way to finish a lovely dining experience.

Burnt Orange has it’s original café in Mosman which is a very popular place.

The Chatswood outlet hasn’t been open for very long but we think it will do well too if they keep putting out such good dishes. They obviously know what they are doing.

Those Dames, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Burnt Orange. Big thanks also to Claire McPherson of CPM Online Marketing Solutions for arranging our visit.

Burnt Orange Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


The Gunners Barracks
End of Suakin Drive
Georges Heights (near Mosman), Sydney

It's hard to put into words just how picturesque this place really is. With sweeping views out across the harbour is easy to see why this is so popular for weddings and special occasions.

There are also the lovely walks in the surrounding bushland too - with many people working up an appetite by doing this first, or working off their food afterwards with a stroll in nature.

But it always seems to come back to those views and of course the charm of the building, the area and the history associated with it all.

This was a real gunners barracks. Constructed in 1873 it was the last military building in Sydney made entirely of stone. It was built to last - and it has!

Of course when you think of high tea you often associate it with champagne - and you won't be disappointed here. After we were greeted and seated at The Gunners Barracks we were greeted again with two glasses of lovely bubbles.

Somehow sipping champagne in a lovely historic building with fine china on the table and sweeping views of the harbour and they yacht races seems so ....... wonderful.

Then of course there was the actual high tea that arrived a short while later.

The beautiful three tiered stand of fine bone china was adorned with delicious goodies on each layer. A separate plate had even more treats -  light and fluffy freshly baked scones (with a side of double cream and home made jam), tasty mimosas with raita dipping sauce and cute mushroom tarts.

The bottom layer of the stand had finger sandwiches - egg and mayonnaise, salmon with cream cheese and cucumber and finally tender roast beef.

The top two layers had the sweet goodies like a very light almond slice, a beautiful rhubarb panna cotta topped with crumble, salted caramel macarons, chocolate slice with raspberry (chocolate heaven) and a lovely light fluffy and creamy passionfruit cheesecake. It was sweet eaters delight.

High Tea also includes tea - naturally - and there are so many choices of different tea's here the hardest decision you need to make is which one to actually have.

Mlady had her favourite - English breakfast tea - and wasn't disappointed.

Sir decided to be a bit adventurous and had the fragrant vanilla tea which he had black and adored.

The Gunners Barracks is a sophisticated and elegant place, with spectacular views and food to match this.

Its great for couples or groups. Its outdoor balcony is lovely but they also have a beautiful indoor area too.

Even though it's a big place - seating around 350 - it is understandably very popular - so make sure you book. It's so worth visiting!

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Gunners Barracks and Grand Pacific Group. Special thanks to Melody and Sam and to Aaron and Sal for looking after us so well. Big thanks also to Hannah Evans from Grand Pacific Group for arranging our visit.

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Passiontree Velvet
Shop K3415 Macquarie Centre
Cnr Herring and Waterloo Rds
North Ryde, Sydney

If you like looking at pretty food, then eating it, this place is somewhere you'll love. The Passiontree Velvet name is probably better known north of the border in Queensland, but they've now thankfully spread their wings and travelled south.

A shopping centre isn't where you'd normally expect a place like this but it certainly doesn't seem to be a problem for the many people visiting. In fact, it probably makes it all the more accessible.

Nestled in the newish part of Macquarie Centre, this place stands out with its huge almost glowing display of beautiful cakes and macarons. It causes people to stop, stare longingly and then invariably buy.

We started with some lovely coffee. It's always a good yardstick for any cafe/cakery and it was bruchtime as well.

It also gave us a bit more time to decide what to order, as well as a chance to go and gaze longingly at all the goodies on display inside their long front counter.

It's a sweet-tooth's paradise here with so many choices. Some are individual servings while others are for sharing.

The very intriguing baked stuffed avocado caught our eyes and intrigued our appetites straight away as it sounded a bit different.

It was avocado halves lined with smoked salmon and baked with an egg in each half.

There was a hint of chilli and some cracked black pepper too and it was served with two pieces of toast - pane de case to be exact.

Then the high tea for one arrived. It was a two tier stand with long rectangular plates.

The bottom level had sandwiches, a fresh scone and a lovely salmon bite.

The top level had the sweet stuff and they really looked good. They also tasted great too!

Each one was a work of art - beautifully presented and hard to resist.

Even though we'd basically had brunch and a high tea it was impossible to resist some of the smaller treats on display.

So we made the easy choice and decided not to resist!

We had the salted caramel popcorn eclair and the popular strawberry cheesecake eclair. Both were delicious - light fluffy pastry with great flavours for the fillings and toppings.

The tea at Passiontree Velvet is a real focus. We spoke with Chris Sheldrick, who put this place together, about it and heard all about their passion (pun intended) for serving great tea.

They also use clear glass teapots too - so they can see if you need a top up and offer it asap. It's a great idea and they also look really cool as well. If you want herbal tea don't fret - they have plenty as well. 

The focus here is on cakes, macarons, tea's and high tea's, but they actually offer a lot more than this - including very tasty cooked breakfasts and lunches. You can mix, match and share too and even take away what you don't finish.Passiontree Velvet. They have a killer macaron tree too if you're looking for a great gift or event idea.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Passiontree Velvet. Big thanks to Bec for looking after us and to Chris for inviting us.

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The Tea Room QVB
Queen Victoria Building
455 George St
Sydney CBD

The Queen Victoria Building is the grand old Dame of Sydney. It oozes style, class and sophistication, and The Tea Room QVB certainly belongs and fits in here.

Its a classy place offering a dignified and elegant high tea as well as plenty of other food choices as well. It's also a big place, seating around 300 for weddings and around 200 for high tea.

The first thing you notice when you walk in the door is the grandeur. It has enormously high ceilings that have a row of impressive crystal chandeliers down the middle. It's breathtaking and almost everyone stops and stares. You can't help it. It's like stepping back in time to an era of Lords and Ladies - with us playing the part of these noble gentry.

We were there for their famous high tea so of course it seemed perfectly appropriate to start with some champagne. We conservatively decided on a half bottle of their Vollereaux Champagne - a winery established in the early 1800's and producing champagne since 1923. It was a lovely start to what lay ahead. 

Then of course there was the high tea - well two to be honest as we each decided to choose different options to experience more of what was on offer.  .

Mlady had the Traditional Afternoon Tea - and it was certainly impressive. The three tiered stand was packed with goodies.

The bottom plate had light and fluffy freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream as well as a pastry wrapped savoury roll.

Moving up to tier two and we found finger sandwiches (strips of sandwich with the crusts cut off), and a few other savoury goodies like a mini quiche.

On the top plate was the sweet stuff - and it was everything you'd expect or hope for in a high tea. These cakes and sweet treats looked beautiful, and tasted just as good. They were indulgent, but hey, that's what high tea is all about!

Sir chose the Oriental Afternoon Tea - which had plenty of things from the more traditional varieties. However, it also a few replacements that fitted with the theme of this version.

The bottom plate fortunately again had the delicious scone, jam and clotted cream and their very tasty savoury roll.

The middle layer also again had the finger sandwiches, but then added a beautiful scallop and ginger dumpling, a Peking Duck cone, another cone with crab, coriander and lime, a shitake mushroom and chicken pastry and finally a Parmesan shortbread with avocado, tomato and white anchovy.

The top layer again had sweets including a lovely chocolate slice and a fruit and custard tart. It also had a macaron with Asian writing on it - in keeping again with the Oriental theme - and it tasted good too!

Then of course there was the tea. There's a huge range - 32 in fact - stretching from varieties we all know and love, like their most popular English Breakfast, through to some very unusual varieties and boutique flavours, like Orange Pekoe, and on into the just plain unexpected - like Royal Gunpowder. Mlady had her favourite English Breakfast Tea and Sir had a great Orange Pekoe.

The Tea Room Queen Victoria Building is all class. If you want a quality experience in a spectacular room then come here. It's a step back in time, and up in standards, that will linger.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Tea Room Queen Victoria Building and Grand Pacific Group. Thanks to Suzana and Laura and Laura for looking after us. Big thanks also to Hannah Evan of Grand Pacific Group for inviting us and arranging our visit.

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The Palace Tea Room
Queen Victoria Building
George St Sydney CBD

We had the pleasure of visiting The Palace Tea Room which is owned by Manuel and Gwen Spinola and is quietly located on Level 1 of Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria Building. The tea room is an elegant retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD and is a tribute to Victorian tea drinking; it has a large dining area, as well as external seating that runs along the QVB gallery, with plenty of tables and chairs.

The external seating allows you to gaze over the railing to the floor below and also have a great close up view of the gorgeous QVB clock.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the tea room’s manager, Alex, and chose to sit inside amongst the cosy surrounds and aromas of the tea room with it’s thick drapes, beautiful chandeliers and plush seating.

We decided to start with cappuccinos while we eagerly awaited our Traditional Afternoon Tea – a selection of cakes, petit pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and tea.

Our treats arrived on a beautiful three tiered china cake stand and Alex explained each tier to us. The first two tiers were made up of sweet cakes, while the bottom tier held the scones, crustless finger sandwiches and other savouries. Where to begin?

Well, we began with the array of savouries and started with the trio sandwiches – a flavoursome chicken sandwich on seeded bread, a traditional egg sandwich on white bread and a tuna sandwich on brown bread.  The bread was soft and the sandwiches were delicious, with something for everyone.

Next, we delighted in the crab coronet, a  light, crisp cone shaped pastry filled with fresh flaked crab with a hint of lemongrass. Delicious.

Contessa Z’s favourite was the Parmesan cheese shortbread, sandwiched together with a sundried tomato and olive filling. It was so light and buttery and definitely melted in your mouth.

We then tried the freshly baked scones, one fruit and the other plain. The scones were light and fluffy on the inside, with a slight crunch on the outside and were good enough to eat on their own, but were even better when topped with the clotted cream and freshly made mixed berry jam, which is a staple at The Palace Tea Room. The jam was raspberry flavoured with a hint of blueberries and strawberries. Contessa D said the jam was one of the best she had ever tried.

Onwards and upwards to the first tier of our sweets, which was also the right time for us to order a nice cup of tea from the extensive selection available at The Palace Tea Room. Tea lovers, you will not be disappointed with the wide range of exotic teas to choose from, 26 in all, to be precise.

Decisions, decisions…in the end, we were guided by the manager, Alex, who suggested we try some of the tea room’s most popular teas, such as Paris Vanilla Tea, Spicy Cinnamon, Rose Floral Tea and Pomegranate Oolong. We elected to try the first two and were not disappointed. The  tea is served in beautifully ornate Royal Albert and Wedgwood fine bone china teapots, with matching teacups, milk jugs and sugar bowls, all of which adds to the old world charm of the tea room.

Each one of chef Christelle Verger’s sweets were delicious and we started with the Strawberry Macaron, which was simply divine.

The mascarpone filling was topped with blueberries and raspberries, and with a hint of strawberry from the macaron it was everything a macaron should be.

It had a light crust, with a moist meringue and a silky smooth filling.

Our next treat was a moist Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake, topped with a light frosting and delicately crowned with lightly salted caramel popcorn.

It was not too sweet and the flavours were perfectly balanced.

The lime flavoured Marshmallow Square is best described as a delicious fluffy pillow of sweet citrus.

It must be said that the most interesting combination of flavours was found in the Chocolate Vegemite Slab with Avocado Filling and Chocolate glaze. The flavours worked really well together and this sweet was a nice surprise.
Finally, we delighted in the Passionfruit and Mango Cheesecake. A beautiful dessert with a light biscuit base that complemented the cheesecake filling which was also light in texture but by no means light on flavour, and visually enticing, with swirls of fruit throughout.

The Palace Tea Room is a hidden gem in Sydney’s CBD that is a fusion of modern and Victorian charm.

The decor is elegant and the atmosphere is lovely and warm, as is the service.

The delicious food and the extensive range of exotic teas all combine to make a visit to the Palace Tea Room a must.

We highly recommended it.

Two Countessas, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of The Palace Tea Room and Grand Pacific Group. Special thanks to Alex for all the help while there and to Hannah Evans for arranging this visit.

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Dunbar House
9 Marine Parade
Watsons Bay, Sydney

Dunbar house is an historic Harbourside venue situated in magnificent Watson's Bay offering breathtaking views down the harbour of Sydney's city skyline. You probably know Dunbar house as the perfect venue for a wedding (which it is) with the famous Moreton Bay Fig tree just outside, a place were many vows have been exchanged.

What you may not know though, is that after a recent refurbishment, Dunbar house now offers a stylish restaurant for a la carte breakfast and lunch, as well as for exclusive hire. The exceptionally stylish decor in addition to the warm welcome upon arrival conveyed a relaxed yet professional atmosphere. The sun was shining so we chose a table outside with a beautiful outlook over the water and Robertson Park. The seating inside is just as exciting with beautiful tables and lovely couches, a perfect setting in any weather.

If you fly first class you start with a glass of champagne before take off so we thought we would do the same (ok. we're not flying today but this place oozes luxury). We chose NV Lanson, a fine French champagne.

With our champagne our appetiser arrived. A delicious scallop served in a cup with a cauliflower volutè and truffle oil - it was very creamy and smooth with a rich flavour.

We love it when our waiter recommends a wine for us so we had a glass of William Fevre Petit Chablis, a light and crisp accompaniment to our entrees which had just arrived.

We had two entrees, Tempura Zucchini flowers stuffed with feta accompanied by tomato salsa, Sicilian olives and rocket, plus nori wrapped quail fillets with avocado, horseradish mousse and papaya. Both were outstanding. The creamy feta and peppery rocket combined well with the fluffy Zucchini flowers. The quail, perfectly cooked, had a zesty kick when combined with the horseradish mousse. Our waiter told us the quail was not a regular menu item but a special for the day (lucky us!).

Next our mains arrived.

First was a lovely beef cheek pie with truffled mash.

The beef was rich and tender, the filo pastry was crisp and buttery.

We really liked the truffled mash too. This turned out to be a very hearty dish with plenty of flavour - and nice pastry for the pie!

Our second main, a Murray river cod served with a quinoa salad was just as impressive. The lime and tomato dressing added a real freshness to it. Both mains were served with 2012 Massale Pinot Noir. We were fortunate enough to meet head chef Tarrant Fennel who spoke to us about his passion for creating a fresh seasonal menu that is modern yet unique, a notion we most definitely noticed today.

And then quite suddenly a heavenly selection of desserts were presented before us accompanied by two glasses of 2010 Dowie Doole Cane Cut Viognier.

The first dessert, A crispy chocolate cannoli with poached rhubarb and lemon balm herb was absolutely impressive.

The hint of lime in the balm lingers on the palette and is very refreshing.

An afternoon tea tray was beautifully presented on a 3 tier stand overflowing with cakes such as a  cherry ripe slice, raspberry cheesecake and a lemon financier. Of course, you can't have a proper afternoon tea without savoury treats and this one is complete with a salmon mousse tart, Parmesan, olive and sundried tomato shortbread and a selection of sandwiches. Oh - and don't forget the scone with lashings of cream and house made berry jam!

Dunbar House offers truly exceptional service in a very chic setting. Our waiter on the day, Michael, provided us with outstanding service and shared a great deal of food knowledge. Dunbar house is open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch.

The Counts, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Dunbar House and Grand Pacific Group. Special thanks to Hannah Evans for arranging this visit.

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Burnt Orange
1108/1109 Middle Head Rd
Mosman, Sydney

Burnt Orange is as pretty as a picture. It's in such a beautiful location out on the peninsular at Mosman with views across the bushlands and on to the water.

The structure itself is also quite spectacular as well. It's basically a historic building with balconies around most sides where the restaurant/cafe operates, maximising those magnificent views.

The building was erected on Army land in 1920 as the club house for Mosman Golf Club. It was resumed in World War 2 and then converted to Army housing till as recently as 1997.

Further down the track it became Burnt Orange which also has a gift shop and is also available for functions.

Breakfast and brunch trade means you need good coffee - and they do.

In fact Burnt Orange is also a cafe and operates for both morning and afternoon tea - as well as offering high tea.

We started with coffee's which were very tasty. They actually have good range of coffee and a lengthy tea list available including specialty, organic and herbal teas.

We're fast becoming fans of juice with breakfast and brunch. Not instead of coffee - but as well as it. Mlady has been pushing this with Sir for a while and it's finally getting through. There's a good range here that you can mix and match to your own tastes. The options are orange, apple, pineapple, watermelon, carrot, beetroot, with ginger/mint. Mlady chose apple and ginger/mint (she loves anything ginger) and Sir chose apple, carrot, beetroot and mint. They were so fresh and refreshing.

Sir was peckish and chose the diverse Breakfast Board.

It was certainly a large breakfast. The board arrived holding house-smoked trout, grilled halloumi, fresh avocado and soft boiled egg served with two enormous slices of toasted Avoca brown bread.

Where to start! It was a big breakfast but so tasty with a great range of flavours that were delicious.

Mlady decided to have something that sounded a bit lighter so she chose the toasted homemade muesli with sheep's milk yoghurt, fresh berries and Summer fruits.

It was an extremely healthy start to her day but it was such a big serving.

The flavours and colours were brilliant with plenty of variety in both departments. She really loved this dish and devoured it.

Burnt Orange is simply beautiful. It's the perfect place for a romantic or special breakfast, brunch or lunch with great food. The views are amazing too. In fact, they even have high tea on some days too. It's popular so book!

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Burnt Orange. Special thanks to Hugo and Emma for looking after us so well. A big thanks also to Claire McPherson of CPM Online Marketing Solutions for inviting us.

Burnt Orange on Urbanspoon


Level 8 Swissotel Sydney
68 Market St
Sydney CBD

JPB is the revamped and renewed restaurant on level 8 inside the Swissotel in Sydney CBD.

Now under the guidance of Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich, who has a strong pedigree both overseas and locally, there's a whole new menu that is produce driven and creative at the same time. It's a great combination that results in some exciting dishes that you remember well after your visit.

Firstly though, JPB is on Level 8 - which is actually the lobby level of the Swissotel in the CBD.

You just take the lift up from their Market St entrance and it's on the far side of the lobby where a window seat lets you gaze up at Centrepoint and the city lights. The daytime view is just as nice too.

JPB looks bigger than its seating of 80 people suggests - but this probably just reflects how well spaced out the tables are. There's another room upstairs that seats a further 30 to 40 people.

Our nibbles started with a big bowl of fresh chickpeas mixed with garlic and chilli.

What an great start - they were so fresh and tasty as well as looking beautiful piled in their bowl -it was almost a shame to eat them (but we did anyway)! It was such a simple combination to snack on while we studied the menu - and it's always good to nibble while doing this!

Mlady had a gin sour made from Oxford Scholar gin and lemon juice with egg white, frou frou lemon and lemon myrtle. It was a twist on the classic that she really enjoyed. Sir had a Ned Kelly gun fire - a very tasty twist on a first settlers drink - made from pickled Illawarra plum and holey dollar gold rum with black tea.

A serving of robust house made individual dampers with subtle lobster dipping sauce was again unique and a nice companion.

Oysters are always a great snack to start a meal in earnest or even as an entree of course. The oysters here are either Sydney rock or Pacific and they are served in a variety of ways - natural, cucumber mignotti, kilpatrick, seaweed or watermelon foam. It's hard to know where to start - they all sounded so good! A selection of specialty salts on the table allowed even more variation - with suggestions on when you might like to use them.

The milk poached white asparagus sounded interesting. 

They came served with black truffle aioli, pecorino and watercress. 

This was another produce driven, simple and yet very effective dish with the flavours of each ingredient showing through yet in a balanced way.

The cleanseas hiramasa kingfish with cucumber, ponzu dressing, black garlic and flax seeds combined into another extremely tasty and appealing treat.

It was also a lovely combination of textures and flavours - but it's important to make sure that you use the sauce drizzle surrounding the meal on the plate - it goes so well.

This dish had it all and was lovely.

For both of us the dish of the night was probably the a la minute smoked ocean trout. The trout is smoked immediately before serving - you can't get any more timely than that! It came with avocado terrine and lemon myrtle fluid gel but has now evolved to be served with Meredith goats milk,  yoghurt whey, watercress and charcoal. All we know is that this was probably one of our dishes of the year for 2014 - it was that good!

The Ora king salmon was again another great dish. The red of the salmon contrasted beautifully with the greenery on the plate.

Contrasts of textures, colours and flavours abound here giving each dish a diverse mix and yet combines beautifully to create an experience that teases the taste buds at every mouthful and delights the diner. This dish was yet another example of this.

It's hard to go past ordering scallops for us these days - they're such a great menu item and can be served in so many different ways with such a variety of sauces, accompaniments and toppings.
The scallops with chard baby fennel, corn, pork rinds and honeydew was another creative combination. The juicy plump scallops were presented so nicely with delicate accompaniments surrounding them almost artfully.
The great dishes just kept on arriving - beautiful plating and presentation to match the lovely flavours being offered..

This may have been wagyu but unfortunately we can't exactly remember the meat and cut.

It was beautifully cooked though - pink and juicy as can be seen from the picture - and the presentation was again so pretty. The meat was extremely tender too.

Mlady was in a cheese cake kind of mood - it does happen - and so she chose the vanilla and malt cheese cake with blueberry and almond tuile and spiced rum.

It was again nicely presented and she loved it.
Sir spied the donuts and had the coffee pot de creme with donuts, double cream and cinnamon. It was delicious and came with a great toffee lattice on top. 
JPB is a bit hidden away but it has amazing city light views, a chic yet relaxed decor and some very impressive produce driven creative food. The use of flora adds colour, flavour and texture so nicely. You will leave satisfied and impressed.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of JPB and Swissotel. Special thanks to Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich for his lovely food, Annika and Emi for looking after us so well and Lauren Kekwick for arranging our visit so capably. 

Jpb on Urbanspoon


The Loft
3 Lime St
King St Wharf

The Loft have introduced an impressive high tea on weekends.

You get a mountain of food and unlimited tea together with absolutely amazing views looking out over Darling Harbour past the moorings.

It's hard to know what to do - eat, drink or gaze out over the water!

We had the "high tea with a sweet twist" which includes a Breakfast at Tiffany's cocktail for each person - as well as everything else of course!

The Loft is indulgently relaxing and very comfortable - think big comfy lounges, low tables, big cushions and everywhere - those views!

High Tea is available from midday on Saturday and Sunday and it's decadently good!

To get into The Loft go around to Lime Street and the entrance is at street level. It's just a short flight of stairs and you're there.

The "Breakfast at Tiffany's" cocktails looked great and tasted just as good. You get these at the start of your high tea, before the food arrives. We sat back, sipped away and watched people strolling along the promenade down below us (The Loft is one level up from the wharf providing impressive views) and boats come and go on the harbour.

It was so relaxing and so pleasant!

Of course one of the things everyone looks forward to at a high tea is the food!

This was a traditional high tea in many respects having scones with jam and cream, savoury finger food and sweet treats. It was an impressive range with quantities that were very substantial. We just kept eating and eating and it seemed to keep lasting - it really was a decent sized high tea. We occasionally paused to take in the views - it was hard not to.

You really can't have a high tea without scones - they are such an essential part of the whole thing!

The scones we had were of course freshly baked and arrived nice and warm. The cream was rich and thick but the real killer was the beautiful home made strawberry jam that came with it. It was a good sized serving and it was just so good. We actually overdid it with the jam just to use it all up!

The finger food provided was delicate and delicious. We loved it all and it was a great combination that everyone would love. It all looked so good too - you want a high tea to be impressive when it arrives and this certainly was!

The High Tea at The Loft is possibly not as well known as it should be. The food is impressive and the decor is inviting. Just immerse yourself in one of the comfy lounges, gaze out over Darling Harbour and enjoy the experience. You won't be disappointed.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Loft and The Keystone Group. Special thanks to the manager there, Courtney a'Beckett and to Mel for looking after us so well. Big thanks also to Rita Sadik of Keystone for arranging our visit.

The Loft on Urbanspoon


Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Out of Sydney

Ever been on a cruise? We hadn't until recently and were fortunate to experience a Pacific Island cruise on the Carnival Spirit out of Sydney.

What an experience it was.

We knew the food would be good based on earlier reports - but it still surprised us with the quality and variety as well as how they can personalise individual meals even though they have over 2,00 people on board!

After boarding and your bags getting delivered to your cabin you must go back up on deck to watch the sun set on Sydney as you leave the Harbour. The lights of Sydney look amazing as the ship slowly passes the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

It's stunning.

We've all seen movies with cruise ships that seem grander than a five star hotel.

We never expected it to be as spectacular as it was in reality. Everywhere we went on board kept surprising us.

The grandeur and attention to detail was amazing. The atrium was nearly 10 floors high. The woodwork everywhere was beautiful. You just walk around in awe.

We've previously shown some of the food available at Empire Restaurant. There are so many places to eat and drink on Carnival Spirit it seems you're going from food to drink to food etc etc all the time. It's everywhere. We visited Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ for lunch one day - even though we were still full from breakfast! It's up the top of the ship and serves some tasty slow cooked treats! We grabbed a selection on a few plates and put them in the middle of our nearby table to share. You can take as much as you want too!  

There are so many entertainment options on board you struggle with what to choose. Fortunately each evening they issue everyone with a brochure setting out what's on, and when, the next day. It's compulsory reading!

One thing you simply can't miss are the water slides. They have the biggest and fastest here in Green Thunder - a 10 metre vertical drop with top speeds of 65 kilometres an hour! It's a rush.

Let's get back to some food again though! In spite of the massive breakfasts, lunches and dinners we were dumbfounded to discover they even have high tea in the afternoon on several days during the cruise. Of course we had to try it!

It's a good selection of savoury and sweet goodies with tea or coffee - and the scones were delivered fresh from the oven and piping hot!

The thing you can't get used to on board are the views. It's postcard material every day from sunrise to sunset.


How great are these pods? There in the Serenity Retreat at the stern of the ship. Each holds two people so you can lie back in comfort, sip a cocktail, listen to live music and watch the sun set (or rise). It's a child free area as well!

Cruising is like travelling on a five star hotel. The food is everything they've told you and more. The entertainment is just as good too - Vegas style shows, a dedicated comedy club, live music in about eight or nine different places, a gym, games room, bars everywhere, a casino, shops, shops, shops....... it was a different world. It's easy to understand why some people cruise all year round - it would be a great life!

Special thanks to Carnival Cruise Line for providing so much for us! Thanks also to MGMedia for arranging everything so professionally.