afternoon tea | the tea room, queen victoria building

Another tea session, and this time, somewhere that’s been on my list for a while now. And what better occasion than a birthday?

The Tea Room is an iconic part of the QVB – beautiful interior, well thought out design, all class. It’s certainly a popular destination, as I could see the beginning of a Hen’s celebration, family events, and general catch ups.

photo taken from the website

photo taken from the website

‘Tea’ options are limited to 2 hours (they do have main meals on offer though). I had initially opted for an afternoon time slot, which was limited to 1.5 due to a function at 3, but changed it to a morning session at the last minute. I was entirely thankful that I did, because it was nice to be able to enjoy the tea to its fullest extent, rather than rushing through.

We opted for the Afternoon Tea option and were seated on the ‘slipper’ chairs – plush armchairs which make the whole business seem even more fancy. The service is friendly, polite (being called Madam, haha), but not overbearing. There are a good selection of teas on offer, but the problem with high tea is that you kind of want to be adventurous and try a new tea, but don’t want to be stuck with something strange that doesn’t go with your food. So Darjeeling it is!

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As expected, everything comes out on very pretty serving ware – Royal Albert I believe.

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The scones are perfect. There’s a plain and raisin which you split between two – which I thought was a bit stingy, but after finishing everything, it was just right (greedy guts, haha). It comes with dishes of strawberry jam, and thick clotted cream. It’s a classic combination with the perfect balance- sweet jam, rich cream, fluffy scones.

There are some spinach, onion and three cheese puff pastry spirals as well – which were crisp with a good savoury flavour.

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There seems to be a bit of a cheese themed savoury thing going on as the two other small savouries are a parmesan cracker with avocado and sundried tomato, and a pastry shell with a parmesan filling and chive oil on top. Both really delicious and well balanced – not too salty, and a good kick of parmesan. However, if cheese isn’t your thing, they’re perfectly happy to accommodate when making your reservation.

Sandwiches on offer today are: chicken and walnut, cucumber and dill cream cheese, pastrami and rocket, and egg and chive mayo. They’re served on white and whole meal bread. They’re quite traditional combinations, and they’re generous with the fillings, so no complaints here!

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On to the sweets! Saving the best for last, am I right? The fruit tart has a custard filling and is quite refreshing with the fruit.

There is a strawberry and basil sponge, with a jelly top – which is probably the most unique one. I personally think it’s a little jarring to have basil in a pastry since I always associate it with savoury dishes. Though once you get past the interesting combination, it not too bad.

The macaron is strawberry. Nicely chewy as a macaron should be!

The final item is a chocolate mousse cake, with a shard of almond praline on top. A rich, chocolatey ending to a lovely meal.

We basically finish right at the 2 hour mark, which made for a leisurely eating experience, and are comfortably full.

I highly recommend coming here – the atmosphere itself is worth it. The main tea room has incredibly high, ornate ceilings, and three impressive chandeliers. It’s a meal that will not disappoint.

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The Tea Room
Level 3, North End QVB
455 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Ph | 02 9283 7279
Website | http://www.thetearoom.com.au/

 

 

 

rustic pearl, surry hills

Sometimes your day doesn’t work out as planned, but the alternative activities are pretty top notch anyway.

The intention was to attend the Flour Market – what I imagined to by an enormous hipster bake sale – a pastry and cake version of the Finders Keepers Market (here). We arrived at the location some time after 10, and promptly bailed since the line was ridiculous. I had also been usefully informed by another friend that it perhaps was not worth waiting in line – which made the parting easier, haha.

Instead, my friend led us to Rustic Pearl, which I have walked by a hundred times but never would have tried. There is a 15 minute wait, you leave your number and they actually call you when your table is ready. Granted, this is probably a tiny bit troublesome for staff when they’re busy, but I greatly appreciate it – it’s a system that is SUPERIOR TO ANY OTHER WAIT LIST SYSTEM.

It’s a beautiful sunny day and we get a table ouside. Service is friendly and relatively fast, but we find out throughout the meal that we need to be a bit more specific about what we order.

|minted lemonade w/ seasonal fruit - $6.5 | cappuccino - $4 | soy latte - $4.5 |

| minted lemonade + seasonal fruit – $6.5 | cappuccino – $4 | soy latte – $4.5 |

The lemonade was the highlight – “there’s a fruit salad in my lemonade!” – it’s refreshing, with the perfect amount of sweet to sour. The cappuccino had a very airy foam, which disappeared  fast (not ideal). I didn’t get a photo of my friend’s chai – she had ordered a chai latte, but they only have brewed chai with soy (which the waitress had forgotten to mention).

sucuk bruschetta - char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, avocado, rocket, pomegranate + soft boiled organic egg - $17

| sucuk bruschetta |  char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, avocado, rocket, pomegranate molasses & soft boiled organic egg – $17

Sucuk is a spicy turkish sausage, much like chorizo. The egg yolk was nicely soft, and the pomegranate molasses added a fruity sweetness. I think this is the sort of dish that has just the right balance of fresh and richer ingredients.

special | smoked wagyu omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast - $17

special | smoked wagyu omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast – $17

The omelette was fluffy, with a generous amount of wagyu and mozzarella inside. The smoked wagyu was very similar to corned beef and the tomato relish added sweetness, and lifted the heavier omelette. Skordalia is not something I have encountered before – it was like a pesto and had a nice garlic flavour – though it seems that traditionally it’s somewhat creamier and has a potato/garlic base. The bacon dust added extra flavour, and it came with a side of white sourdough.

bosphorus benedict | char grilled lobster flesh, crushed avocade, 2 poached eggs, homemade hollandaise and tomato relish, chives, chilli - $24

bosphorus benedict | char grilled lobster flesh, crushed avocade, 2 poached eggs, hollandaise and tomato relish, chives, chilli – $24

The hollandaise was creamy, with a slight tang from lemon. There was also a good deal of lobster meat, and the eggs were perfectly poached. The chilli also also added a nice heat.

eggs florentine | two poached eggs, wilted seasonal greens, hollandaise and tomato relish - $16.5

eggs florentine | two poached eggs, wilted seasonal greens, hollandaise and tomato relish – $16.5

pepe saya butter 25g - $1.5

pepe saya butter 25g – $1.5

I notice that they serve Pepe Saya butter – which has a fantastic reputation as a handmade, artisanal butter – and decide that we must try it (along with multiple sides of toast). You can see how they make their butter here. The butter is creamy and rich – there is only sourdough on the menu, which I think makes it difficult to discern the full flavour of the butter.

It’s a busy cafe with an eager lunch crowd, and a perfect place to spend a morning. Surry Hills Market was on that weekend with a good range of food, clothes, and collectibles on offer. I am inexplicably pleased to pick up an adorable Peter Rabbit toy for $4, and a double scoop of Messina to top off the day.

 

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Ph | 0406 930 083
Website | http://www.rusticpearl.com.au/

 

 

 

 

om nom | adelphi hotel, melbourne

I first heard about Om Nom 2 months ago, when I read a short article on Christy Tania – who is the head chef, and incredibly successful at a young age. Needless to say, Om Nom became a ‘must try’ destination.

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If there was one thing I learnt from this Melbourne trip, it’s that one should always make reservations, especially when the dessert bar only holds forty people. Luckily enough, we were able to walk in and get a table at 10.30 because of some no-shows (phew). The interior of Om Nom is incredibly on point in its theme – it’s like walking into a high class Willy Wonka factory. The stools in the waiting area look like licorice, and there are some areas with swing seats (distracting while trying to eat).

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There are savoury food options, but the dessert is the star, so much so that there is a ‘dessert degustation’ option – and you know that’s what we chose.

The degustation is $55 for three desserts, and you can choose from six…so of course we decided to get two sets.

Service is fast and friendly – you can tell they enjoy working there. They provide a summary of the components of the dessert when its brought to the table, but honestly it’s pretty hard to concentrate when there are these amazing dishes in front of you.

| pineapple verrine | strawberry, rum, pink peppercorn, vanilla, coconut, lemongrass, ginger, caramelised white chocolate, all spice

| pineapple verrine |
strawberry, rum, pink peppercorn, vanilla, coconut, lemongrass, ginger, caramelised white chocolate, all spice

The pineapple verrine was the first to come out, and the flavours were very aromatic as there were many spices involved. There was a layer of poached pineapple at the bottom, then pink peppercorn jelly, rum soaked strawberries, vanilla cremeux, coconut and lemongrass foam. The flavours were very unique, and quite subtle. Though, this was my least favourite dessert overall.

| mont blanc | meringue, dark chocolate, chestnut, vanilla, blackberry, feuilletine

| mont blanc |
meringue, dark chocolate, chestnut, vanilla, blackberry, feuilletine

Pretty as a picture covered in chestnut. The main component was a chestnut ice cream nestled in feuilletine – a crispy, wafer-type component, with chestnut puree piped over it. It was placed over a blackberry smear, and dotted with meringues. The blackberry added a welcome tartness to the richness of the chestnut.

| tarte tatin | granny smith apple, 3 spice, chantilly, vanilla,  lemongrass and ginger

| tarte tatin |
granny smith apple, 3 spice, chantilly, vanilla, lemongrass and ginger

This was a luxury tarte tatin. I’m personally quite a fan of the regular caramelised apple and puff pastry version.The preparation that went into this must have been amazing – based on the amount of apple layers involved. One complaint is that it was actually quite difficult to eat, which was a shame given the careful plating. The ginger base was extremely difficult to cut into, and the apple layers didn’t cut nicely, but instead slid off each other. There were dots of ginger and apple puree, and a vanilla ice cream created a nice balance.

| mango alfonso | choux pastry, shiso, coconut, kalamansi, lemongrass, ginger and caramelised white chocolate

| mango alfonso |
choux pastry, shiso, coconut, kalamansi, lemongrass, ginger and caramelised white chocolate

This was really refreshing and tropical – coconut and lemongrass foam on the side, and a kalamansi sorbet inside the choux pastry. The white chocolate added another layer of sweetness along with the fruit.

| raspberry field| raspberry, lychee, meringue, rosewater

| raspberry field |
raspberry, lychee, meringue, rosewater

Perhaps the most traditional flavour combination on offer, and the most unique presentation-wise in my opinion. The stem of the mushroom was a toasted meringue (rather unremarkable, but creates an impressive visual). The top of the mushroom was a lychee and raspberry sorbet, a feat of balance, and at the base were lychee and rosewater spheres, and raspberry and rosewater pannacotta. If I had to describe it, I would say “girly”.

| basil garden | dark chocolate, vanilla, olive oil, basil, lime, white chocolate and meringue

| basil garden |
dark chocolate, vanilla, olive oil, basil, lime, white chocolate and meringue

Definitely saving the prettiest for last. At the base was a chocolate soil, then a vanilla and honey ice cream incased in a chocolate shell. On top were basil and white chocolate cremeaux spheres, which also had a hint of lime. I don’t know about the olive oil though, I probably wasn’t paying enough attention to notice it. All topped with edible (?) flowers.

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The desserts come out really fast – so our small table was quite crowded. Ordinarily, fast service is welcomed, but it also becomes a problem when gelato melts faster than you can eat it.

In essence, an entirely amazing and enjoyable night.

Om Nom also has additional desserts that aren’t available as the degustation. They also serve breakfast and high tea on Sundays.

If you have a sweet tooth, or generally love dessert, I highly recommend trying this out. No regrets!

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Om Nom | Adelphi Hotel | Melbourne

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187 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone | 03 8080 8827
Website | http://www.adelphi.com.au/hm_features01.shtml (the menu on the website seems to be outdated)

 

 

 

this is beautiful

Directed and animated by Glen Keane – a former animator at Disney.

I’m in awe of people’s talent and creativity. The fluidity of the animation, the simplistic use of shading and colour – it’s just amazing. The story and music fit so well together – and I like how the score changes around the 2 minute mark.

Wonderful.

cafe segovia, melbourne

After a (typically) delayed flight, we arrived in the Melbourne CBD around 10AM. After dropping our gear at the hotel, we went on the hunt for breakfast/brunch with no particular destination in mind.

Lucky for us, there was an alley filled with cafes only five minutes away. However, the next challenge was deciding which cafe to try. The thought process basically consisted of “how about here?” “hmm..I don’t know” and moving on to the next cafe. There were probably over ten cafes to choose from? First world problems, I know. We finally decided on Cafe Segovia, which was moderately busy, but did not have the hipster clientele that one might use as a measure of how popular a cafe is.

cappuccino - $3.80 | mocha - $5

cappuccino – $3.80 | mocha – $5

Both drinks were incredibly foamy – check out that foam level on the mocha! Pretty decent coffee.

They have a really great range of egg-based breakfast dishes.

eggs fabiano | feta and spinach scrambled eggs, toasted light rye, bacon and hash browns - $18

eggs fabiano | feta and spinach scrambled eggs, toasted light rye, bacon and hash browns – $18

Okay, this looks like a mess, but it was so good. The bacon was crispy, the hash browns were golden, and the eggs were creamy. I liked that the eggs were nicely scrambled, rather than ‘just’ scrambled/soupy. The feta added pockets of flavour, and the spinach mixed in made me feel better about eating those hash browns.

eggs milanese | parmesan and caramelised onion scrambled eggs, toasted ciabatta, bacon and roast tomato - $18.50

eggs milanese | parmesan and caramelised onion scrambled eggs, toasted ciabatta, bacon and roast tomato – $18.50

Very similar to the first dish. The onions added texture and a bit of sweetness to the egg. I did think it could have been caramelised a little bit more. I also don’t remember tasting a great deal of parmesan though.

Overall, a rather pleasant and filling first meal in Melbourne.

 

Cafe Segovia
33 Block Place
Melbourne, 3000

Ph: 03 9650 2373

out and about in melbourne

Here is a little snap shot of the things I took photos of in Melbourne. Mostly some lane ways and food that won’t get a full write up.

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a little bird told me cafe

a little bird told me cafe

This cafe had a lovely decor, with a pop of blue from the tiles and there were cute little terrariums on the tables. Too bad we didn’t try the food…too full from a late breakfast and jam donuts. What a wasted opportunity.

terrariums with dinosaurs

terrariums with dinosaurs

a pop of colour

a pop of colour

dumplings from ShanDong Mama

dumplings from ShanDong Mama

We were told by friends that these were amazing, and that it was like “biting into a cloud”. We were  a tad disappointed.

The must see graffiti lane ways:

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no standing, only dancing

no standing, only dancing

The famous doughnut truck at the Queen Victoria Market – consistent queues.

the famous doughnut truck at the queen victoria markets

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They weren’t pretty, but they were entirely delicious – piping hot and filled with jam.

cacao lab | the best shoes are chocolate

cacao lab | the best shoes are chocolate

Forget skittles, I like my rainbows in macaron form

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strawberry and nutella crepes - because our eyes were bigger than our stomachs

strawberry and nutella crepes – because our eyes were bigger than our stomachs

cafes everywhere

cafes everywhere

manchester press, melbourne

I was fortunate enough to visit Melbourne over the last long weekend (in June) where the whole weekend consisted of eating, walking, and more eating. I’m pretty sure that we were never hungry, and only full/full to bursting.

So anyway, my Melbourne posts are all going to be out of order but don’t worry, they’re all delicious!

On our last day in Melbourne, we visited a cafe that was recommended by 3 different people.

There is already a line formed at 9:30 – and the waitstaff writes your name in chalk on the open brick wall outside. However, it would be a lot more efficient if people could just write their name down themselves. Anyway, we hear that the wait is 15 minutes, so we come back in 10 and lo and behold…our table HAS BEEN GIVEN AWAY! But in another 5 minutes, one frees up. So I suppose it was a 15 minute wait after all, haha.

This cafe has a great selection of regular breakfast items such as muesli and egg variations, but the real star are the bagels.

Service is fast and friendly. Before bagels, we start with drinks! I ordered a chai latte which comes with a side of honey – I like the use of the dipper compared to a spoon. I think it’s a bit weak as it doesn’t have a great spice hit. But that might be because I’m used to the syrup based chai.

calmer sutra chai latte - $4

calmer sutra chai latte – $4

My friend chose a mocha which she said was, and I quote “the best mocha I have ever had”. I tried it, and I concur. It was so smooth and had a subtle coffee hit. It was so good I ordered one to go after we’d finished our brunch.

mocha - $4

mocha – $4

After the drinks was the main event – the bagels. Though, we did have a case of food envy when we spied someone’s bircher muesli.

open bagel | grilled chorizo, tasty cheese, sliced tomate (omitted), roasted capsicum and tomato relish - $14

open bagel | grilled chorizo, tasty cheese, sliced tomate (omitted), roasted capsicum and tomato relish – $14

Golly gosh this was perfect. The chewy bagel, the melty cheese, the spiced chorizo, and the sweetness from the capsicum and relish. It was fantastic. The side salad was probably the first proper vegetable based food item we’d seen all weekend.

closed bagel - sliced hungarian salami, bocconcini, basil pesto & rocket - $11

closed bagel – sliced hungarian salami, bocconcini, basil pesto & rocket – $11

This was also really good – springy bocconcini, a good pesto is always appreciated, and the salami and rocket worked together really well. Entirely satisfying. I love bagels.

And that was our last brunch in Melbourne! I’m so glad that we visited Manchester Press. It was amazing.

It has a great interior too – giant wall hangings and an almost ‘industrial’ feel

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Manchester Press
8 Rankins Lane
Melbourne 3000

Opening hours:
Mon – Fri | 7AM – 5PM
Sat – Sun | 9AM – 5PM

Ph – 03 9600 4054
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/manchesterpress