PASSION TREE - CHATSWOOD, SYDNEY

Passion Tree
T67 The Interchange
436 Victoria Ave
Chatswood, Sydney

Light and bright, pink and white…..Passion Tree looks as sweet as its menu. With an industrial theme of concrete floors and exposed ceiling ducting, the décor is modern with lots of bright lights and coloured cushions. As you walk through the arched doorway the counter full of colourful cakes and macarons looks tempting and delicious.


An array of scattered white chairs hanging upside down from the ceiling were a fun, effective and very quirky touch.






 Jerry, behind the counter, explained the menu and the specials on offer. We started with a latte and a passionfruit soda. The coffee was good and the soda, which comes in different flavour choices, had a nice tang.

We decided to go for the chocolate fondue. Molten milk and dark chocolate bowls arrived surrounded by goodies to dip – strawberries, banana, cake, waffle pieces, macarons and marshmallows! It was a really good combination and we both loved it.


Dame D was keen to try the strawberry tower, so we ordered it together with the watermelon bingsoo. Both impressive to look at, there is even a competition for the best photo which is open until Christmas Day.

The strawberry tower was a thing of beauty – berry sorbet embellished with sliced fruit and whipped cream. It was a shame to destroy it but it was well worth it! A really refreshing dish. The watermelon bingsoo was as good as the picture too. Melon balls covering watermelon sorbet with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yum! We noticed people passing by actually stopping to point at this treat and call others over for a look! As an indulgence it was a healthy one so we proudly gave it the thumbs up.


  

The final dish we just HAD to try was the waffles with caramel popcorn and cream. Wow.

It arrived in all it’s glory and the waffles were crispy and drizzled with syrup.

We barely had any room left for this but somehow it was too good to stop eating.

There are lots of interesting items on the menu here and lots of specials. You can also order cakes to take home which look amazing.

If you are in the mood for a sweet treat or you haven’t tried a bingsoo, Passion Tree certainly is worth a visit.

The station is close by so its easy to get to and a great place for a meeting point. We had a fun experience and felt quite spoilt after our sugar hit!



Those Dames, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Passion Tree. Big thanks to Jerry for all his help. Special thanks to Gaby Mavridis of Sydney Public Relations for the invitation.


Passion Tree Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

SWEETFEST 2015 - SYDNEY CBD

Sweetfest 2015

Do you haver a sweet tooth - or two? We do - so we dropped in to Sweetfest 2015 - and we're glad we did. It was understandably busy - cause people love sweet things.

The concept was straight forward. They had stalls there selling their sugary sweet wares, and they had a series of masterclasses from some of the best in the sweet business. Tick and tick!




It was very busy there, both inside at the Masterclasses and outside at the stalls. It was all running so smoothly though. At the stalls, the food was moving quickly so people didn't need to queue, or when they did, not for long at all. It was great food too. 


Inside the masterclasses the crowds were being entertained, educated and impressed by some of the best around. We dropped by the masterclass with Andy Bowden which was being expertly compered by the dynamic Myffy Rigby. The crowd loved it. He was making sort serve desserts - sampled by an impromptu dance-off winner. The big screen up behind them meant everyone in the audience could see what was going on. 


We also had a chat with the next "sweet act", the lively  Alistair Wise who had come all the way from Sweet Envy in North Hobart.

Now we wished we'd been able to stay for his session as we've been to Sweet Envy in North Hobart. We therefore have some sort of connection.

Alistair is a real character - he literally bounces - he's a ball of energy.

His session was "salted caramel, pecan sticky bun and the expanded theory of everything".

In a weird way it summed him up perfectly.

Next to us was a cake made earlier by Katherine Sabbath - adorned with lollypops and dazzling everyone with its bright colours.

It certainly lived up to its name of "Water Coloured lollypop cake".

Katherine was arriving just as we left and this was another missed opportunity for us to hear from a sweet legend.

This was the first year for Sweetfest. It was popular, it had great food available and great demonstrations from some of the best around, all expertly kept together.

We left with plenty of goodies from a number of the tasty stalls there. We'll be back next year!

THE COFFEE EMPORIUM - HORNSBY, SYDNEY

The Coffee Emporium
Shop 3036 Westfield Hornsby
236 Pacific Highway
Hornsby, Sydney

Being a Sunday, as usual we headed off for our traditional brunch.

We decided to head to Hornsby and this time we popped in to The Coffee Emporium. We'd walked past this place a few times before and noticed that it had a nice feel to it. It's in a sunny "corner" upstairs looking out over the mall and the famous Hornsby clock fountain.

There was a good selection to choose from including cakes, slices, cookies, sandwiches and you could even have a cooked breakfast.






















Mlady spied some delicious looking Muesli cookies on the counter which were described as "Breathtaking scrumptious MUESLI individual cookies". They were also described as being hand made. The description was so true - this cookie was so yummy! Mlady also had a medium Soy (half strength) cappuccino which went very well with the cookie.





















Sir had a nutty fruit slice that he described as a heavy slice that was predominately made up of nuts and fruit. Sir thoroughly enjoyed this "meal in a slice"  and to accompany it he chose his usual skim flat white (medium) which complimented the slice.





















The Coffee Emporium is in a good location and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed. We sat in an area which resembled a bar overlooking the walkway - watching the world go by - which is also one of our relaxing pass times.













The Coffee Emporium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

TEA ROOM QVB - SYDNEY CBD

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.

Click to add a blog post for The Tea Room QVB on Zomato 

THE PALACE TEA ROOM QVB - SYDNEY CBD

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.





Click to add a blog post for The Palace Tea Room on Zomato 

SLIDE - SYDNEY

Slide - Risque Review
41 Oxford St
Darlinghurst, Sydney

Slide has been around for a while now and has been attracting big crowds to its Moulin Rouge style of shows. It's classy too - the type of show that most can go to - so don''t be afraid!

We were there to enjoy their French three course meal and to watch the show Risque Review.

We're not sure if the place is modeled on being a slightly smaller Moulin Rouge - but if you've ever been there you can expect similar quality in a much more intimate room.

It's not all about the show, and it's not all about the food and drinks. It's about both. There are even different types of shows on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings so you can come back for the food and have variety in shows.























We started with a few cocktails.

Mlady had the love cat - described as long red and sexy, while Sir had a French martini - a classic drink. Both arrived promptly and tasted lovely.

The entree was a trio, or trilogy, or whatever three is best described as!

It was a single escargot (snail in the shell), port wine rockmelon salad with smoked duck breast (served piled high in a large glass) and a delicate single serve of goat cheese souffle served in a spoon.

All three were tasty but the souffle was probably our favourite by a whisker.






















The show started after our entree and it was certainly impressive. We expected it to be professional - they have been here a while - but it was so much more than that!

There was singing, dancing, acrobatics, humour, pantomime, costumes, razzle dazzle and a bit of cheekiness thrown in as well. We were thoroughly entertained - this is smaller than Moulin Rouge but almost comparable.






























Mlady's main was the Poisson L'Iberico - salmon fillet with saffron beurre blanc, fennel and capsicum ragout, chorizo served with pesto coated jumbo fries. It was delicious.

Sir had the Agneau Grille - perfectly grilled lamb rump served with parsnip mash and wild mushroom bordelaise and herb buttered green beans. A side of pommes frittes capped it off so well!











Of course dining out on French food means a tasty sweet finish to any meal. We had a trio described as les delices de Paris - violet macaron, eiffel ginger bread and petite rose and pomegranate pavlova. It was a great way to finish a lovely meal with threee tasty treats.

The show of course was just as memorable. We were enthralled by the acrobatics, enchanted by the saucy escapades and allured with the dancing and singing. It was a great show!





Slide is a venue that has been attracting large audiences for quite a long while.

Once you go there though it's very easy to see why.

You need to book ahead but it is such a great evening at Slide you should give it a go!

There were plenty of couples there as well as larger groups - they cater for all.

The food was excellent and we were talking about the show for days afterwards!

Sir and Mlady were guests of Slide. Special thanks to Fernanda for looking after us on our visit. A big thanks also to Lucilla Dodds for arranging our visit.


Slide on Urbanspoon

CAFE BIRKENHEAD - BIRKENHEAD POINT, SYDNEY

Cafe Birkenhead
Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre
Drummoyne, Sydney

While Cafe Birkenhead is in fact on the edge of a shopping centre, or inside it really, it also has its own identity and most importantly its own outlook over the water. The views here are lovely.

By day it's a large cafe dishing out a wide variety of food and drinks for breakfast, morning tea, brunch and lunch. By night it is often catering for a function - and its open plan allows for a wide variety of different configurations.

Either way you still get those lovely views out over the water - some with sunlight on it and others with night lights!


Mlady and I love bruschetta and the fresh and interesting combination of mushroom, baby beetroot and goat curd certainly caught the attention of us both.

It was certainly just as colourful as we expected and the flavour combination was excellent. We also agreed that it ticked the "healthy" box as well.

It was a substantial serving of two large slices with plenty of topping - so it was just as well that we had only ordered a single serving to share.

I'd hate to think how either of us would have coped with this as an entree for one!

The selection of freshly squeezed juices provides some lovely combinations. I love mint in drinks so I chose the Energy Booster made with watermelon and mint. Mlady loves ginger so she chose the Pink Lady made with apple, pineapple, strawberry and ginger. They came in jars and they were fresh, refreshing and delicious. 


Mlady is quite a fan of spinach and ricotta as a combination so the spinach and ricotta ravioli was her immediate choice for her main course.

The ravioli came served in a pink sauce made with sun dried tomatoes and the meal was garnished with wild rocket.

Like everything else at Cafe Birkenhead it was a massive serving and she really enjoyed it.


I love seafood and pasta - they just seem so right together!

The crab and prawn homemade linguine with chilli, garlic, parsley and lemon therefore ticked all the boxes.

It was a big serving and they didn't skimp on the seafood either which was lightly cooked, moist and tender.

There's a decent list of desserts ranging from cakes, cheesecakes and brownies through to muffins, macarons and even scones.

However in keeping with the Italian theme of the place and our other dishes we chose a serving of cannoli filled with ricotta and pistachio to end our meal.

It looked impressive and was actually really tasty.


Even though we were really full by now, the lemon citrus tart had also caught my eye. I love citrus tarts - lemon or lime are both fine.

I always browse dessert menu's and more often than not end up with a tangy citrus dessert - or chocolate.

This one was indeed tangy - as it should be. The ice cream and cream went well and it hit the spot!





Cafe Birkenhead is a big place that attracts the shoppers at Birkenhead Point for breakfast, brunch and lunch. They also use their beautiful location for weddings, parties and other functions. It's close to shops, with good food in substantial portions.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Cafe Birkenhead. Special thanks to Tony, the Manager, and Prisca for looking after us. Thanks also to Fallon Gomesz from Platinum Restaurant Group for arranging our visit.



Cafe Birkenhead on Urbanspoon

SOIREE/SOFITEL WENTWORTH - SYDNEY CBD


Soiree (at the Sofitel Wentworth)
61 - 101 Phillip St
Sydney CBD

Soiree is on the ground floor of the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel and it is also the place to go for the lovely Classic Wentworth High Tea. It's a pretty place with lovely atmosphere, comfortable seats and cosy nooks. The whole restaurant oozes class but in a relaxed way.


We started with a few glasses of champagne - and why wouldn't you at a high tea!

As someone who isn't a fan of white wines, Mlady had the Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose. It was certainly a great drink and she loved every drop of it.

I had the Tattinger and it was - as always - lovely. Tattinger is certainly a favourite of mine.

You actually have the option of champagne here as an added extra (and for a small extra charge) or if that's not your cup of tea - sorry - you can simply have a cup of tea. If you want champagne it will come first for you to sip while you await the goodies. However don't rush it - they are quite happy to delay the arrival of your tea until, you've finished your champagne - if that's what you want.




It's an impressive three tiered stand that arrives for High Tea. It's very elegantly presented and has a great assortment of goodies there to work your way through while sipping several cups of tea. 



We started on the bottom tier of the stand - with the sandwiches, quiche and muffins.

It's a great selection with roast beef on whole wheat bread with horseradish butter; smoked salmon on ciabatta bread with cream cheese, cherry tomatoes and capers; cucumber and dill on white bread; spinach and pumpkin muffins and last but not least quiche Lorraine.

After the savoury sandwiches we moved on to the scones which were on the second tier.

There were four there for us - two each of plain and fruit - although Mlady only had a plain one (to save some room) so I had the joys of eating three of them! Both varieties were delicious and of course they came with a decent sized serving of cream and jam.


Finally we got to the top tier of our high tea - where all the most indulgent goodies are located.

It looked spectacular with a sea of different colours on display and it tasted just as good.

There were eclairs, macarons, tartlets, opera square and the Wentworth cheese cake. All of these were delicious!



Soiree is an impressive place. Service was excellent and there's an elegant but relaxed feel to the whole place. The food was also great - so much variety and the quality was also wonderful. The Classic Wentworth High Tea is something well worth doing! Treat yourself - you won't regret it.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of the Sofitel Wentworth. Special thanks to Rebecca Freestun for arranging out visit and to Ashleigh and Marjorie for looking after us on the day. We also had the opportunity to take a peek at one of the lovely suites upstairs as well - with pictures to be posted very soon. Thanks to Melissa for showing us around upstairs.







Soiree on Urbanspoon

Sofitel Wentworth on Urbanspoon

TIFFIN AT THE LANGHAM (GLOBE BAR) - THE ROCKS, SYDNEY

Tiffin at The Langham (Globe Bar)
89-113 Kent St
Millers Point, Sydney

Going into the Globe Bar at the Langham is like stepping back in time - in such a good way. It has old world charm and sophistication. The world just seems to stop as you partake of Tiffin at the Langham and indulge in these wonderful delicacies in timber panelled surroundings.


It's such a lovely way to spoil or treat yourself once in a while and not just for a special occasion. We all deserve to feel like a King or Queen from time to time.


High Tea here - or Tiffin as they call it at the Langham - has been around for a long time. It's a large room that stretches for quite a distance and it has nicely spread out tables and chairs that ooze old world elegance.


We started our afternoon tea with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne each. We both agreed that this was something we could easily get used to if given half the chance!

It was superb - Mlady particularly loved it and it's become her new best friend. Hic.

This is a seriously good drop.



Soon our three tiered stand of tasty treats arrived. It looked spectacular and it was all explained in detail to us so we knew what was there to devour.

The bottom tier had sandwiches - all with the crusts removed. We had two each of cucumber, watercress and ricotta on country white bread; free range chicken breast and herb mayonnaise on wheat bread; pastrami, asparagus, homemade tomato and mustard chutney on light rye bread and finally Tasmanian smoked salmon crepe with chive cream cheese.

They were all extremely tasty and extremely fresh as well. The bread was so soft and the fillings were beautifully done. Mlady loved them all and didn't have a favourite. I wasn't far behind but always love anything with smoked salmon and these crepes were good.

The middle tier had scones - lovely fresh steaming scones.

There were again two each - surprise surprise - of both golden raisin and plain scones.

They came with a pot of homemade strawberry jam and another of double cream - delish! Warm scones are such a nice part of a good afternoon tea aren't they?




The top tier had all the sweet goodies there and it looked amazing with so many colours and so much variety. It again had two each of lime crème brulèe, strawberry tart with vanilla crème patissiere, opera cake, French macarons, white chocolate cupcakes with pink buttercream icing and finally traditional New York baked cheesecake. Mlady is a brulee aficionado and loved this - but also loved the macarons. For me it was the delicate cupcakes - they were extremely light and fluffy and the buttercream icing hit the spot. 


There's a great selection of different tea's available. Mlady had ‘The Langham’ breakfast tea and I had the Assam long leaf tea from India. Both arrived in large Wedgwood teapots with enough in each for several cups. In fact all the plates, cups and bowls were all Wedgwood.

Mlady is a big tea drinker and whilst I'm not this was perfect with the goodies we were consuming and they were delicious teas.



Tiffin at The Langham is traditional English high tea. The ambiance reminded Mlady of an old show she had seen years ago called "Tom's Midnight Garden". It truly was like stepping back in time - and the service was as you would have expected in an English manor as well. It was subtle, understated and very efficient. Everything just seemed to happen when it needed to. We loved it all at Tiffin - it was a wonderful experience from start to finish.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Langham. Special thanks to Samira Cherry for arranging our visit.



Globe Bar (The Langham) on Urbanspoon



GALERIES LAFAYETTE GOURMET - PARIS

Galeries Lafayette Gourmet
48 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris, France 

I was in Paris last week and as always took a quick wander through Galeries Lafayette. The Gourmet area here is amazing. You can get basically anything here and because it all looks so appetising it's so hard to choose. I ate way to much here and took more away for later! You must go here and browse (and stock up) if you're in Paris.



I thought people might like a few pictures of just a very small selection of some of the range available at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet so here goes: