La Renaissance

It was raining cats and dogs, so after having a quick lunch at Ryo’s Noodles we were tempted just to go home but my Mumsy told me that there were delicious cakes at La Renaissance in Waterloo and I just couldn’t resist. The convenient under ground parking with an internal door into the building meant we wouldn’t even get wet, so of course we headed straight there. They had a nice spacious setting and a beautiful cake cabinet, which caught out eye immediately. I was a little sceptical about the cakes being over priced, because almost $10 for a small cakes sounds a  little ludicrous but my oh my, they are worth every cent. My favourite was the Monet because I really enjoy the white chocolate, raspberry and lychee combo; I found the flavours not to be overly sweet but refreshing with the fruit component. I can see how chocolate lovers would love zulu, if you’re in the area you have to drop by!

So many choices… What to choose?Monet white chocolate bavaroise, raspberry, lychee jelly ($9.50 dine in).So many different textures, flavours and layers of deliciousness.Goya raspberry mousseline, passionfruit, almond nougatine ($9.50 dine in).Zulu chocolate mousse, salted caramel and Valrhona Guanaja chocolate ganache, crispy pearls ($9.00 take away).Venue: La Renaissance

Address: PYD Building, Shop 1, 197 Young Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Phone: (02), 9241 4878
La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Wedgwood Tea Room

After having our lovely wedding reception in the beautiful Gandel Hall at the National Gallery of Australia, our event manager Kate, was super nice and invited us back for High Tea in their Wedgwood Tea Room because she knew how much we love our food. We arrived at the gallery and then clearly had no idea where the high tea was held until we asked someone and was directed to the Level 2 Mezzanine, apparently this space has only recently been open to the public. When we arrived we were greeted by a friendly face and seated by the window which looked over the gallery’s sculpture garden.

We dined as guests of the gallery but all day Wedgwood High Tea is $43.00 per person, there are also lunch options: the Farmhouse Board ($25.00 per person) and the Bushman’s Plate ($20.00 per person).

Our tea orders were taken and we were left to admire the view and brush up on our tea etiquette (written in a booklet), not long after our little table with plain white linen was transformed into a high tea feast.Top tier: Dame Nellie Melba’s sublime opera cake; lemon and yoghurt curd tart with toasted meringue; petite peach Melba cake with white peach buttercream; jam drop shortbread tarts with lavender sugar.Bottom tier: soft mini brioche with cured salmon, dill creme and mustard leaves; ribbon sandwiches with citrus poached chicken and herb mayonnaise; ribbon sandwiches with cucumber, lime sour cream and fresh mint; mini asparagus, leek, and melted gruyere tartSeparate plate: freshly baked buttermilk scones with local berry preserve and double creamMy favourite picks were the chicken sandwiches and the opera cake but above all else, I fell in love with the Wedgwood china. For me, a lot of the high tea vibe comes from the atmosphere and the crockery (I’m a massive homewares fan) and I found the Wedgwood pieces were stunning. Each piece caught my eye because I liked the detail in the patterns and also liked how nothing matched. My tea cup pattern was perfectly named the ‘queen of hearts’.

We couldn’t leave without buying gift vouchers for some special people and the vouchers themselves had the beautiful blue flower pattern.

Venue: Wedgwood Tea Room

Address:  Level 2 Mezzanine, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes, Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: If you would like to book for high tea or lunch at the Wedgwood Tea Room without purchasing an exhibition package please call (02) 6240 6711.

Opening hours: (until 28th March 2016)

High tea at the Wedgwood Tea Room
  • High tea is served 10.00am – 4.30pm daily
Lunch at the Wedgwood Tea Room
  • Lunch is served 12noon – 2.00pm daily

Chris’ patisserie and bakehouse

I like a bit of variety in my shopping so when I went to Weston Creek and drove out of the car park, I had a double take on a shop front when I had a glimpse of ‘patisserie’ in the name. I started messaging locals to see if they had been to Chris’s patisserie and bakehouse which had apparently opened three months ago. My friend who was intrigued went there and bought a large tart ($29.00) to take to a dinner party and she said it was really tasty which prompted me to take TimmyC at the first chance we got.It was a busy morning but we were greeted with smiling faces at the counter. When I asked who ‘Chris’ was, a young polite handsome man smiled and put up his hand, it appears to be a family business where they assured me that all the bread, pastries, tarts, cakes etc were all made in-house.

A large selection of cakes, tarts, slices and biscuits to choose from.They also have pastries and muffins.And a selection of quiches and croissants with fillings.I was a bit hazy with the prices, not everything was labelled and I was too busy choosing something to eat but the thick shake, pie, croissant and large coffee came to $17.00.

Vanilla thick shake. I sat there waiting like patient bear as multiple coffees, table water and toasted sandwiches were served to other customers. All our food had been served and half eaten while my thick shake was no where in sight; just as I was about to enquire about my missing beverage it appears and I stir it around with the straw, it didn’t feel very thick. I had a sip and it tasted like a milkshake and nothing more. It was served at the same time as a child’s milkshake, maybe they had gotten the order wrong and I just got what that kid got. When we were served a vanilla creme brulee which we ordered later, we asked if the drink was really a thick shake, when the answer was yes and I said it felt very runny, the owner quickly ran to the kitchen and returned with a replacement thick shake moments later. The second one was much thicker (still not crazy thick) and had a lovely subtle sweet vanilla flavour.Cheese and bacon pie ($5.00). A meaty pie with a little bit more bacon than your average cheese and bacon pie, but nothing particularly exciting.

Croissant. It has a lovely pastry network inside but it wasn’t buttery and flaky. It felt more like a squishy bread roll.

Large flat white. TimmyC said it was mediocre coffee.Vanilla creme brulee ($5.90). I felt that I didn’t try enough of their menu so I told TimmyC to go choose another sweet from the cabinet, he got the creme brulee which I thought was odd to have in a bakery (it is served in a ramekin so I presume you can only have it when dining in?). They pre-prepare the base and store it in the cabinet and sugar is caramelized on top before serving. The toffee ‘hat’ broke beautifully under the knock of my spoon which revealed a velvety smooth custard. I didn’t understand that since there was a toffee layer, how there were still some granules underneath the sugar top that didn’t caramelize, it didn’t do anything to the taste it just took away from the smooth custard texture.I didn’t have an overall amazing bakery/patisserie experience here but I’m not convinced it is a bad bakery, maybe I just didn’t choose their specialty items, which the website suggests is their cakes and bread. I don’t know how much their bread costs but I thought the large tarts and cakes had a hefty price tag (tarts $29.00 cakes $50.00) but I’m determined to try one soon, maybe not this week though.Venue: Chris’s patisserie and bakehouse

Address: Unit 1, 27 Brierly Street, Weston ACT 2611

Phone: (02) 62880587

Websitehttp://www.chrispatisserie.com.au/

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 7:00am | 4:00pm

Saturday – Sunday 8:00 | 3:00pm
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Adore tea re-run

I was shocked to find out that one of my friends who loves tea had never been to Adore tea at Gold Creek Village so we made a date with more friends to go there immediately if not sooner. I booked a table inside because of the cold wet weather forecasted, which allowed us a two hour window for our reservation (I didn’t know there was a time limit, we just saw the next scheduled booking for the table). It is advisable to book ahead especially on the weekends as they are very busy and also have lots of varying high teas and parties (we happened to go on Mad Hatter’s tea party day).

We all chose a different tea which made for a very pretty photo, I went with classic chai blended with milk.I thought the colour of my friend’s berry tea was beautiful. Not a drop was wasted.My usual ‘go to’ food regardless of the time of day are their scones or the poffertjes but friend was telling me how nice the apple pie was. I was torn between choices but as soon as she said that she would go halves between the pie and scones, I was sorted.

Apple pie classic style apple pie served with vanilla ice-cream ($10.50). The pastry was very soft and semi sweet and apple pie obviously pairs perfectly with vanilla ice-cream, I just wish for the price that the pie was a little bigger or more filling. A close up of the apple pie.Scones served with cream and tea infused jams (about $9.50). Tea goes so well with scones so it almost seems like a ‘must’ when you come here. I really also enjoy their house-made jams.Chicken focaccia with gluten free bread (around $15.00). I looked over at my friend’s gluten free plate with envy. I usually am the savoury girl type and her plate looked goooood…I ‘adore’ this place, it’s a lovely venue to catch up over sweets and tea with friends and family. They are often very accommodating and the staff are super friendly and knowledgeable. Check in store or online for their various high tea days and live music sessions.

Venue: Adore tea

Address: Shop 6, Federation Square One, O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls, ACT 2913

Phone: (02) 6230 9962

Website: http://adoretea.com.au/

Opening hoursOpen Everyday: 10:00am to 5:30pm

Fridays: 10am to 7pm

Public Holidays: 10am to 4pm

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Melbourne long weekend – Lux bite re-run

If I was taking my friends around to the best of the best in Melbourne, then of course that would include Lux Bite in South Yarra. They have fabulous unique cakes you couldn’t get anywhere else. 

Meringue Monster ~signature cake~green tea sponge, pistachio, watermelon yoghurt, sour strawberry mousse, meringue ($8.50). Despite being their signature cake, I haven’t tried a Meringue Monster until today. It was so good and I couldn’t imagine coming here without ordering one now.

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Be my Love ~best seller~milk chocolate mousse, raspberry cream, raspberry and hazelnut crunch ($8.50). The richer and sweeter cake of the two and as well as chocolate and raspberry go together, I much preferred the Meringue Monster.

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I travelled back to Canberra cautiously and carefully with two other cakes, the lolly bag was more successful as my Endless Love looked like it was trodded on. image

Lolly bag – When I took a bite, my tongue searched through all the flavours- jaffa; spearmint; musk; redskin and chocolate freckles and while I talked in amazement about all the flavours I was experiencing, all the pop rocks went off in my mouth! It was a Willy Wonka experience with all the textures yet different distinct flavours all topped off with nostalgic flavours from the lollies of my primary school years, too bad that Ovaltines didn’t make the cut.

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Endless love – Just as delicious as I remember it. I’ve had Pierre Herme’s Ispahan many a time and this is the closest thing to it without leaving the country.

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Smiles all round at the Cranky cafe

——-09/06/2012——-

A few years ago I went to the Handmade markets and found some interesting jams and the best lemon curd I’ve eaten by Cranky pants. Since then I’ve been to the Handmade markets in search of Cranky pants only to discover that they don’t go there anymore  and they have now opened a cafe in Merimbula NSW called the Cranky Cafe. When we planned our trip to the South Coast, I made sure I was going to drop by.

From their website:

We make all our own cakes, slices, biscuits and desserts. Nothing is bought in it is all made from scratch on site. Our food style is a mix of old style cafe/bistro with contemporary influence and modern fusion styles.

Our layout is relaxed and informal with plenty of outside seating to take advantage of the wonderful Sapphire Coast weather. We are a dog friendly cafe with drinking water for pooches outside.”  

A lot of tempting cakes but I was too full. The key lime pie caught my eye though, I definitely want to come back and try these,.

Jackpot! What I was here for, a variety of delicious jams, sauces and pickles

My favourites include-

Smoky caramelised onions: it is great on pizzas and steaks.

Zingy strawberry jam: seems like a regular jam at first then has a mildly hot gingery aftertaste.

Lemon curd: I’ve directly compared them to other locally made produce and you can taste the difference. Fabulous with fresh warm scones.

A quick in and out visit to stock up on my favourite items but the staff were really friendly and helpful. It isn’t really near anything but a beach but definitely worth a visit.

Venue: Cranky cafe

Address: corner of Ocean Drive and Marine Parade in the Merimbula precinct called Fish Pen

Phone: (02) 64952736

Websitehttp://store.crankypants.biz/

Cranky Cafe on Urbanspoon

High tea @ the Hyatt

——02/06/2012——-

We were celebrating several occasions- birthdays and finishing courses but who doesn’t love catching up with wonderful friends in cute dresses while eating cake all afternoon? My friend booked well in advance to ensure we got a table for High tea at the Hyatt.

The table is set, let’s eat!

A big table of an ‘all of you can’ buffet with both sweets and savouries.

Each tea/coffee cup had a cute peppermint macaron for an ‘after dinner mint’. It was a very strong flavour and I didn’t think the shell was the best consistency.

Complimentary champagne or juice on arrival.

A close up for several plates- strawberry tart, jelly, tarts, cheesecakes, bread and butter puddings, pavlova and trifle.

Mmmm savouries!

My vegan friend was given a savoury platter with char-grilled vegetables and anti-pasto elements.

Even though we had specifically mentioned that there was a vegan while booking, we weren’t sure how they were going to cater for her. We were all amazed that there was a sweet vegan platter to follow. I asked to see the chef to explain the plate (and to double check that it was vegan). There were a lot of delicious elements but it got a wee bit sweet towards the end and unlike me, my friend couldn’t swap back to savoury afterwards.

Vegan option: Chocolate panna cotta, hazelnut crumble, orange polenta cake, biscuits, fruit loaf and sweet jellies. My friend’s favourites included the crumble and orange cake but found the jellies a bit too much.

A close of up the cold hazelnut crumble with apples.

I have eaten at a lot of local venues who have high tea and I think this is definitely one of the better ones. Something things were too sweet for me but that didn’t matter because they were constantly re-filling the hot savouries (as well as everything else). My favourites of the afternoon- spinach and cheese pastries, bread and butter pudding with berries and the trifle.

We have been to several high teas where my vegan has had to pay full price and was basically given vegetables sticks in 3 ways, so to see such a wonderful variety was a double plus! The icing on the (vegan) cupcake was that the price was only $28.00 in comparison to the full price $47.00.

Venue: The Tea Lounge @ the Hyatt

Address: 120 Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra

High Tea: From 2:30pm- 5pm daily (Yes we were there for the whole duration and then some) $47.00

Phone: (02) 6269 8815

Vegan friendly

Hyatt Hotel Canberra on Urbanspoon

A sweet treat from a sweet friend

——-22/05/2012——-

This is more a food porn post. A sweet friend invited me over for a morning tea that she was hosting the day of my birthday and she put out an impressive spread with a nice variety of sweet and savoury and most things were homemade- how lovely!

She made awesome dips and she was nice enough to give me some recipes!

Liptauer Dip

Process 60g softened butter and 250g cream cheese with 1 small onion, 3 anchovies, 8 cornichons and paprika, capers and caraway seeds to taste.

Herbed- ricotta spread

Combine 400g ricotta with 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped black olives, chives and fresh thyme

A close up of the impressive serving dish with cheese balls with three coatings.

A delicious moist (Italian?) orange cake– Mmmm I should get the recipe for this. What cute paper!

Thanks for hosting Christine, I had a tasty time.  

3 states in 3 days- Sydney: High tea @ the Swissotel

——-11/03/2012——-

It probably wasn’t the best idea to go to an all your eat High Tea @ the Swissotel before trying on bridesmaid dresses but we had 2 for 1 prepaid vouchers and we’re not all together that often. 

They offer you bubbles after you’re seated. 

Now for the cakes! Everything looked so beautiful and uniform, a lovely spread.

Dark chocolate Lindt fountain.

The scones were really small dense and hard, I didn’t waste my time with them.

A great selection of sandwiches on different breads- white, rolls, wraps and baguettes.

Complete with a wide selection of tea 

and a piano man.

I could show you my countless plates…

but I’ll just show you all the different cakes. 

A great selection cakes and savouries including passion fruit curd tart, dark chocolate tart, fluffy light chocolate mousse, hazelnut cake, jaffa cake, char sui bao, prawn toast, spring rolls, vegetarian and quiche Lorraine.

 

I also stocked up on savouries! Yum yum 

I was unimpressed with their lack of attention to taking away used plates as we had to leave them clumsily stacked to the side and some things weren’t restocked once depleted like spring rolls and prawn toast, so it’s best to get there early and not miss out.

I do like how they change their selection of cakes and savouries because I have been here before. It’s definitely one of the better high teas that I have been to.

Venue: Crossroads Bar, Swissotel Sydney

Address: CBD, 68 Market St Level 8, Sydney, NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9238 7082

High tea: $55pp Monday – Sunday 2:00pm – 4:00pm 

Crossroads Bar, Swissotel Sydney on Urbanspoon

3 states in 3 days- Melbourne: Monarch Cakes

——-08/03/2012——-

With so many choices on Acland street, I had to do my homework first, after all I couldn’t go to every bakery . Monarch cakes has stood the testament of time having been around since 1934 and not only that, they have some pretty interesting cakes that you don’t usually get at your local bakery.

I was excited to try their famous ‘chocolate kooglhoupf’ and the Polish cheesecake. The hard part is that we had only had a limited time in Melbourne so if I wanted to try these baked goods it had to be straight after lunch which isn’t ideal after those burgers.

I love the simple interior with an old school scale and cash register.

I was only going to get the chocolate kooglhoupf and the cheesecake but the French vanilla slice in the window did catch my eye.

French Vanilla slice– light fluffy, thick and subtle vanilla but a very nice texture.

Chocolate kooglhoupf– One of the most delightfully addictive cakes you will ever try. It is made from yeast pastry and has soft melted chocolate swirled through the cake. It looks like a marble cake, but instead of cocoa through the cake, we use real chocolate! It has been featured in numerous articles and programs and is sent to people be mail order all over Australia! For those who are not chocolate lovers, try the poppy seed variety.

This is cake that I can’t pronounce is apparently the reason why everyone comes here. It is marbled with soft molten-y chocolate and is pretty rich.

100 year old Polish baked cheesecake– Our Polish Baked Cheesecake is made to a 100 year old recipe, using the finest and freshest ingredients. It is made with Gippsland cottage cheese which is smooth and creamy. It is fully baked and for many this is a taste of home. Our European clientele believe it is the way cheese cake is supposed to taste!

This was a really good cheesecake which felt ‘light’ (a good thing considering we weren’t that hungry) and had a lemon-y taste.

Venue: Monarch Cakes 

Address: 103 Acland Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182

Phone: (03) 9534 2972

Websitehttp://www.monarchcakes.com.au/

Monarch Cakes on Urbanspoon

Tasuke Tea House

——-18/11/2011——-

My foodie work colleague alerted me to Tasuke Tea House which is the latest addition to the newly renovated Belconnen Westfield mall (just outside of Coles supermarket). It’s a branch off the civic ‘Tasuke’ Japanese restaurant, they have noodles, sushi, squid balls etc but that is not what sets them apart from all the other neighbouring Japanese food stalls.

They have an elaborate rotating sponge making machine which is mesmerizing to watch and brings in crowds of fascinated people to come and stare.

The molds are filled with batter and then both sides are clamped together which is then later flipped as they rotate around the machine.

The end product? Well there are multiple molds but this is the koala shaped light fluffy sponge cake. Ningiyouyaki sponge puffs (1P- $1.00, 4P $3.00, 8P $5.00). The sponge puffs were ok, nothing too special, it is more the novalty of watching them being made.

Soy milk eclair ($2.00) and soy milk cream puff ($1.00) I didn’t get to try everything but this looked really interesting.

Another unique feature of this stall are these ‘Snow Lover‘ Asian sweets. They have a smooth thin gelatinous outer layer with various fillings/flavours in the centre, the flavours vary from day to day.

I couldn’t help but to get all three flavours. Strawberry was ok, it tasted more like strawberry conserve rather than fresh strawberries. Mango was good with a big chunk of fresh mango inside but my favourite by far was the chocolate flavour filled with Belgian chocolate.

Tasuke Tea House on Urbanspoon