Dessert, English, Sydney, CBD
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High Tea at Crossroads Bar, Swissotel, Sydney

Have I told you how much I adore high tea? My friends and I haven’t been going as often as we would like (don’t you just hate how hard it is to find a day where everyone’s free?!). Thankfully (or maybe quite strangely), F adores high tea just as much as me.

He received a coupon deal where at the Swissotel’s Crossroads Bar you can have high tea for two with a glass of champagne for $40. Yes… $40 for two, where normally it would have been $49 per person. I’m not sure why he passed around to his (male) friends – predictably they teased F a little and remarked that only girls love this sort of thing. Poor F… it ended up just us two going, but he was excited nonetheless.

The high tea at Crossroads is a bit different to your usual high tea…

High Tea Buffet

High Tea Buffet

Instead of the wait staff bringing pots of ordered tea to the table, followed by a 3-tiered cake stand filled with delicious goodies, high tea at the Crossroads bar consists of making your own tea (choices are as varied, but of the usual fare) or coffee and taking your fill at what I’d like to think as something akin to the Mad Hatter’s table.

Chocolate Brownies and Orange Scones

Chocolate Brownies and Orange Scones

It is a glorious spread of delicious-looking sweets, pastries and of course a bowlful of scones between giant bowls of cream and strawberry conserve.

As much as I wanted to dig into the scrumptious morsels laid out on the long table, I couldn’t go past convention to have something savoury first.

Sandwich Platter

Sandwich Platter

Mindful of all the delectable desserts I must sample later on, I ate as many different sandwich pieces as I dared.

I thought it was kind of funny when we approached the platter, F gasped, “They even cut the crusts off!” I love eating bread crusts, but there are times where crustless sandwiches are just better.

The sandwiches were well-made and put together; the more people arrived, the more decimated the platter got. However, the staff efficiently and quickly brought out fresh platters, which was a good thing, as F kept going back for the curried devil egg sandwiches.

I remember last time I was here, they had mini quiches and was surprised to find that they weren’t there any more. F discovered that the hot quiches were tucked away in a corner and they were massive this time. Sometimes bigger is better – these were so fluffy and more flavoursome than the ones they use to have.

Fruit Meringue and Profiteroles

Fruit Meringue and Profiteroles

Finally we got down to the business of smashing sampling the desserts.

The fruit meringue had a dollop of whipped cream under the fruit, adding a creaminess to a sweet bite. Profiteroles are one of F’s weaknesses and so I took it on good authority when he said they were quite delicious – the pastry didn’t seem stale and the custard was fresh.

Fruit Tart

Fruit Tart

I love fruit tarts, though sometimes find that some bakeries over do the glazing to keep the fruit together and on top, leaving a thick jelly coating. The fruit tarts here are delicately glazed; I took one bite and quite a bit of the custard and fruit relocated to the other side of the tart. F teased me to take it easy, but when he took a bite, it also relocated quite suddenly. So while the fruit tart is delicate and elegant to look at, it’s actually quite inelegant to eat! It didn’t stop it being scrumptious with its buttery and crumbly shortbread base, fresh custard filling and fresh fruit topping.

Rocky Road, Passionfruit Something and More Cakes

Rocky Road, Passionfruit Something and More Cakes

I know some of my friends don’t like rocky roads because they are quintessentially super sweet – I love it for this exact reason. Also because of the squishy softness of the marshmallow bits. I love how pistachios were added to the rocky road; they really gave the delicious bit-sized pieces an extra oomph.

We weren’t too sure what was in the cup, but it seemed like it was a passionfruit-laced French cream and my goodness was it divine! The cream was so smooth and fluffy and the white chocolate enhanced the natural sweetness of the fruit.

The passionfruit slice wasn’t too bad – being creamy and tart, but the chocolate fudge mousse, as gloriously dark chocolate-y as it was, was the dessert that did me in. It was fluffy with a thin spongy base, but my goodness was incredibly rich.

Cake and Creme Caramel

Cake and Creme Caramel

As you can expect by this stage, I was brimming full of tea and an immense amount of desserts… and I still haven’t tried everything yet; this is despite F and I sharing most of the desserts.

So we didn’t end up trying the cake on the left, and we shared the creme caramel (which was okay – I think it needed more caramel sauce).

Chocolate Fountain, Macarons and Jelly Cups

Chocolate Fountain, Macarons and Jelly Cups

There were two types of macarons: dark chocolate ganache and pistachios-dark chocolate; both were quite good, if a little inconsistent in shape.

I really wanted to eat chocolate-dipped fruit and sweets, kind of like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the thought of eating more sweet things make me blanch. Determined not to miss out on any more desserts, I took one of the jelly cups home (much to F’s embarrassment and dismay). Not that he didn’t gain from it – he “accidentally” ate it when I forgot it at his place… so sneaky!

Stuart the Pianist

Stuart the Pianist

While we scoffed daintily nibbled at our sandwiches and bite-sized desserts and sipped our tea, tinkling strains of soothing piano music weaved a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere. Stuart, the pianist responsible for our repose state of mind, plays beautifully and would take on requests if he knows the pieces. I don’t remember having a pianist lull us last time I was here, so I thought it was a really great addition to a high tea session.

High tea at the Crossroads Bar in the Swissotel is on Level 8 between the hours of 2pm and 4pm. Last time I was here, it felt like it was more about the quantity than quality, but this time I was very pleasantly surprised at how delicious most things were (definitely more hits than misses).

It is not like your traditional high tea experience, but if you’re up for a buffet of the usual components of high tea, then you’re in for a treat.

Crossroads Bar, Swissotel
Level 8, 68 Market Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9238 8888
Web: http://www.swissotel.com/EN/Destinations/Australia/Swissotel+Sydney/HOTEL+HOME/Gallery/Dining/Crossroads+Bar.htm

25 Comments

  1. this looks so good, i love the sound of orange scones. i have never been to high tea but i am actually going in July to QVB, is it good?

    • I personally really enjoy the Tea Room @ QVB; I love the old-school Victorian look with its super high ceiling and gorgeous tea cups. Out of all of the high tea places I’ve been to, I think it’s the most “traditional” in terms of surroundings and food (which has always been top-notch whenever I went). Be sure to go with an even-numbered party, as the tiers have a fixed number of sandwiches, scones, etc.

      Some people find it a bit “stuck up” or “stuffy” and prefer The Victoria Room, which has a more laid-back atmosphere and the food comes out according to how many people are at the table.

      Hope you enjoy your first high tea experience! :)

  2. Mmmm your pictures have me in the mood for a high tea – and buffet definitely sounds like the way to go! The brownies look perfect (moist and with icing on the top). Maybe next time you’ll have to hit the chocolate fountain first so you don’t miss out!

  3. Bubbles says

    I am literally drooling while reading this post. Unfortunately i have gestational diabetes at the moment so probably cannot go…later perhaps!

    • Wow… I didn’t realise there was such a thing as gestational diabetes; you learn something every day!

      Congrats on the little one… Hopefully you’ll be able to sneak some High Tea time in soon :)

  4. piggiepoo says

    Loved how you manage to put in ur “name” into the blog – “squishy softness of the marshmallow bits.” Hahahahah

    Call me next time! I <3 high tea!

  5. gobsmack'd says

    I don’t know why I let it get to me each time; but I get so frustrated at how afternoon tea is marketed towards female clientele and not realize its a victim of its own ridiculousness. I mean, why stigmatize 50% of your possible clients, ie the male population? That is shooting oneself in the foot, to state the obvious. Anyway, fortunately for me I don’t get myself saddled with this type of self-defeating rubbish and just go and have myself a wonderful time.

    • I think the “for girls only” image is self-perpetuating, sadly enough. Personally, I don’t think it’s “unmanly” for a guy to go to high tea, but so many guys scoff at it not realising just how awesome it is. Ah well, I guess more for us then hey? 😉 Hehe

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  9. Debs says

    oh I so wish I could just pop over from the UK, it looks deliciously bad!!

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