Exciting, Exciting, Exciting!

Trench coat. Check.
Fedora hat. Check.
Notepad and pen. Check.
Camera. Check.

Secretly, slyly, she moved towards the side of the building, the cold and clammy bricks rough against her back as she tried to stay inconspicuous from the crowds of people passing by. Look left, look right. She opened the swinging doors. No bell jingled. Stealthily she took a lift to the 8th floor, heart thudding now in anticipation, the pristine marble mocking her every move. Ping! She started from the elevator’s chime. She had arrived. The piano was playing. There was a classy air swirling around her. She saw the tables, sumptuous in their glory. It was time to start her work.

Presenting:

review title

****

Yes, I am here to deliver my first review EVER :D – see why my post is named as it is! I have been planning this for weeks and now, partly because of my partly sugar and partly natural high, I am finally typing it!!! Why am I undercover? Because no one knows I am a blogger! Just a snap happy tourist or crazy food girl (that one is a little true ;))

Lot’s of people ask me ‘Should I choose this restaurant for a birthday?'; ‘What should I have for lunch?'; ‘Is this place fattening? I love answering these questions!!! Reviewing and documenting my many culinary experiences (considering my family adores going out to dinners, breakfasts, brunches but not so much lunches), I think this will be a fabulous new addition to this blog :D

I promise you food photos galore, explanantions which will hopefully make your tongue water, price ranges when I can and my whole experience – awesome for you Aussies and incentive to visit for the internationally scattered :D

****

The Swissotel.
Classy ambience, Elton John music being perfectly played on the piano. An air of sophistication. Plush chairs, beautiful interior. Chandeliers.

A chocolate fountain to complete the look ;)

A chocolate fountain to complete the look ;)

That is how you feel when you walk into the wonderful Crossroads Bar of this hotel for their daily Afternoon High Tea. If you will recall, I mentioned having my own high tea at home but this was the real deal experience.

Promptly, our booking (yes, definitely I recommend booking at least a week and a half before) was ticked and we were seated. My parents were poured a complimentary glass of sparkling wine which I dejectedly rejected, though I may or may not had had a sip from my mum ;) – a perfect start to eat fest. I mean, a high class buffet ;)

Sparkling wine at its finest!

Sparkling wine at its finest!

First stop was savouries, no doubt we were going the usual meal way. What a selection! A range of mini sandwiches including delectable cheese and tomato, ham, egg, chicken pate and I do believe one may have contained spinach. But I bypassed these perfectly cut, crustless multi-types-of-bread beauties for some hot food.

Different breads, fillings, shape cuts and all crusts gone!

Different breads, fillings, shape cuts and all crusts gone!

I was greeted by a wide range of fantastic vegetarian and meat options, all served with 3 delicious condiments. There were traditional Aussie meat pies, veggie and non-veg quiches with perfect flaky crust and a lamb kebab. Being a vegetarian girl, my daddykins reviewed these for me

My Vegie Hot Plate

My Vegie Hot Plate

“The lamb kebab was a little chewy (overdone I would say) so I left that”

Meat Plate One

Meat Plate One

“Delicious meat pie (dripping with good ol’ tomato sauce)

Meat Plate Two

Meat Plate Two

I did however eat the quiche which I could not take so much egg in but for quiche lovers it was heavenly. A slight cheesy aftertaste, perfectly seasoned and smattered with delicate pieces of tomato and herbs.

Perfect! For quiche lovers...

Perfect! For quiche lovers…

My personal weaknesses were the vegetarian springrolls and the mini samosas. Small crisp fried pieces of Asian goodness filled with potatoes and peas, these were addictive served with a drop of sweet chilli sauce.

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

It was unfortunate that after the springrolls had finished (maybe this can be blamed on us ;)), they served a chewy fried pastry containing spinach and cheese filling with a horrible aftertaste!

And it looked so good!

And it looked so good!

Besides the hot savouries and the cold cut sandwiches, they also offered very cute little wraps filled to the brim with cold meat and vegies as well as offered mini sliders, whose bun looked fluffy and ingredients very fresh :)

Cute mini sliders

Cute mini sliders

Delish mini wraps!

Delish mini wraps!

Now let us move on to what you really want to hear about. The dessert table. We had a quick stop at the coffee and tea station for my parents (though apparently the coffee was repulsive) and a juice stop for me, then relaxed at our table, enjoying the backdrop of Swiss mountains and a train ride which is offered through it before hitting the jackpot table.

Orange juice for the kids (and me ;))

Orange juice for the kids (and me ;))

Here are a couple of dessert table shots to get you in mood before we really get reviewing :)

swissotel 97swissotel 11
swissotel 5Chocolate fountain, cakes galore, mini pastries, muffins, custards and more, it was overwhelming but one step at a time was the only way to go.

Let me start with the best of the best and work my way through it all (and yes, I tried them all except I think 3 things – all for you, you know, not me, not at all!)

Firstly, a moist and tender chocolate cake piece topped with a layer of raspberry jelly and topped off with a melt-in-mouth milk chocolate ganache. Soft, crumby and sweet without any artificial raspberry taste which I was afraid would come, this was a perfect beginner (especially since I chose the piece with a wizards-hat shard of dark chocolate on top!)

swissotel 12
Next, a sweet and dense mini muffin with the distinct taste of almond meal which added to its texture. It had the most delicious flavour and with the addition of the occasional berry, bursted in your mouth. The only let down was the whipped cream, which lacked flavour and sweetness (unlike this whipped cream) so therefore I methodically removed it from every dish I tried.

swissotel 17

Looks can be so deceiving...

Looks can be so deceiving…

One of my weaknesses came in the form of a very tropical creation. Thin layer of super soft sponge cake was the base for a creamy passionfruit mousse (sans seeds), a layer of mango jelly, some  more mousse topped off with a passionfruit glaze. It was light but actually perfect in proportion and taste.

swissotel 10
Next we had two different, what I like to call, small-container desserts. A vanilla curd with mixed berries compote on top was addictive but not overwhelming while the traditional fruit and custard dessert had me begging for seconds. They both were rich, creamy and perfect with their respective fruits (the custard also came with shavings of white chocolate – how classy!)

Yummy!

Yummy!

Enticing...

Enticing…

There was also the white chocolate rocky road which I shared with my dad (though mind you, I have a bottomless pit!) and it was like biting into a chocolatey version of a white christmas slice! Chewy marshmallow and delicious pistachios and glace cherries melding into one!
swissotel 13
I also had a lime jelly dessert to top everything off. After removing the cream and popping the blueberry into my mouth, it was very airy and refreshing with the decadent gelantinous taste we all love so much :)

A favourite!

A favourite!

The chocolate fountain while perfect for me, was a major let down for my poor parents. I recognised the taste immediately as approximately 70% dark chocolate (probably Lindt Excellence due to the familiar taste) and they both detest dark chocolate. I think, milk chocolate would have been more appropriate to entice a greater audience but I wasn’t complaining. Dipping in the fruits, enjoying the swirling and twirling, it was a definite highlight for me!

The dippees

The dippees

The dipping

The dipping

Some other desserts which I did not try or had a bite of were

  • This chocolate layer cake which had mousse at the bottom and top with a hard pastry layer inbetween which I could not even cut through – looked pretty though :P
    swissotel 82
  • Mini lemon meringue tartlettes which I forgot to take but looked exquisite (I heard a lady nearby exclaim at the awesomeness of the taste!)
    swissotel 39
  • Adorable mini scones which were soft and fluffy, perfect with fresh strawberry jam (but tasteless whipped cream)
    swissotel 16
  • Mini berry flan whose short crust pastry was the perfect buttery crumbliness and sweetened with a delicious vanilla custard and glazed fruit
    swissotel 64
  • Mini eclairs – possibly the cutest dessert their with a delectable pastry cream inside but the choux pastry itself was tough unfortunately!

swissotel 15Now if I have forgotten something, I am going to beat myself ;)

Let’s wrap this undercover review now shall we?

The goods:

  • Quick plate take-away
  • Fresh food all round
  • Perfect serving sizes so everyone could try a little of everything without feeling like a house (which I have never felt ;))

The bads:

  • Extremely slow refillment – I had to ask for marshmallows since they were all out for the chocolate fountain. Not cool. And some people did not even get to try the cakes because they assumed no one was refilling them!
  • Notice I did not name anything and had to go purely on taste to describe everything? There were no tags which showed the name or main ingredient, making it quite difficult even for me at times to see what had meat and what didn’t and the components of the unusual desserts

Overall Rating: 8/10 – I would love to go again with friends and enjoy losing myself in all the food and ambience!

Other Reads & Reviews:

General Information: Swissotel Sydney
8/68 Market St
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

swissotel 01(02) 9238 8888

Price: $55 + 1 glass wine complimentary per person (charges apply for additional glasses)

Crossroads Bar, Swissôtel on Urbanspoon
*****************************************************************************

Well, now, I hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know if anyone goes and indulges a little ;)

To finish off this undercover post, I havea fabulous savoury recipe for you courtsey of my mummy and one which will be going in my when-I-move-out-family-cookbook ;). I thought a little bit of a change would be good considering this was a twist in a post itself. Expect to see a lot more from me my friends, I am about to paint Sydney red :D

chowmein 1This chowmein is loaded with flavour, vegetables and with a touch of chilli, transports you all the way to China, or at least your favourite Chinese takeaway – I have never tasted better than this I assure you. And this doesn’t even use all that much oil! :)

Perfect Vegetable Chowmein

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients

  • 150g packet of Hakka (Chowmein/Asian noodles) noodles
    chowmein a
  • 1 medium red capsicum, finely sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 cups worth of shredded cabbage

    Karate Chop! :D

    Karate Chop! :D

  • 1 red/Spanish onion, finely sliced
  • 2 bulbs spring onion, sliced (leave a few for garnishing)
    chowmein d
  • 4-5 tbs canola oil (depending on richness)
  • 3/4 tsp garlic paste (optional)
  • 3 1/2 tbs soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs white vinegar
  • White pepper and salt to taste

Method

  1. Make noodles according to instructions on packet. Set aside
    chowmein c
  2. Gather vegetables together, placing carrot, cabbage and capsicum in one bowl and both onions in another
    chowmein f
    *Note: To cut them so finely, I used an electronic salad cutter which saves so much time!
    chowmein 2
  3. Put a large frying pan on high heat and pour in oil. Let heat up until oil is spitting
  4. Put in both onions and stir fry in oil until lightly browned
    chowmein e
  5. Add in remaining vegetables and garlic paste if using and stir fry together for 3-4 minutes. Set aside and turn off heat.
    chowmein h
  6. In a large dish, place noodles, vegetables, vinegar, soya sauce, white pepper and salt (we put approximately 1/2 tsp of both)
    chowmein k
  7. Use your hands and gently caress the ingredients together until mixed through
  8. Garnish with extra spring onion and serve with chili paste and chopsticks :D

chowmein i

Check out some other dishes we served our dinner with… maybe I will share all my family secret recipes with you one day ;)

Perfect Fried Rice and Chilli Paneer :D

Perfect Fried Rice and Chilli Paneer :D

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P.S Thank you to everyone who has so kindly awarded me – I will be posting about it next time :) – You are all too kind!

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135 Comments

  1. Kimby says:

    Your opening paragraphs were so descriptive and amusing, you seriously need to write a mystery novel — very entertaining! Glad to hear you’ve added ‘restaurant reviewer’ to your slate — I trust your opinions! Last, but definitely not least, I DO recall your high tea… perfect scones & clotted cream are hard to forget! :)

  2. Carolyn Chan says:

    Your review of all that good food has made me hungry! I love any buffet that has the chocolate fountain. You can never get through the rest of the food fast enough ! Great review !

  3. Oh how I wish I could sit and have breakfast with you. We could eat those delectable pancakes, drink coffee and discuss self-hosting. What fun! I have no opinion on the whole blog thing. I have been trying to decide on self-hosting too and haven’t come to a conclusion yet.

  4. Pingback: Technical Jargon « Go Bake Yourself

  5. Lilly Sue says:

    WOW! Congrats! This IS exciting! Beautiful pictures of very mouth watering food!! That chocolate waterfall looks absolutely beautiful amongst all the yummy desserts!!

  6. Hotly Spiced says:

    You are so funny Uru. I love how you are an under-cover blog reviewer. Who could refuse a green jelly cup! I’m so surprised there were no labels to tell you what you were eating. Very strange particularly as these days there are so many people with allergies and intolerances. xx

  7. Brilliant sleuthing detective CCU ;) Love the way you wrote your post and review…very captivating and informative. Adding the pros and cons is also a plus. If every I make my way to Australia, I’ll be checking your restaurant reviews over again. Thank you for your sweet note on my anniversary post :) You’re such a sweetheart!

  8. Eva Taylor says:

    Nice review. That sure is a lot of food, but at that price, I would expect it. The desserts look wonderful, I would assume you had one of everything? Swiss Hotel is a very good chain and their restaurants are generally quite good too.

  9. Heather says:

    I love the foodie review – nicely done! I agree, they should have absolutely labeled everything on offered – I cannot believe how many desserts they offered, I thought for sure we would find a photo of you drenched in chocolate from the fountain :)

    And your Mums lo mein looks SO GOOD!

  10. Emma says:

    Brilliant & detailed review! That chocolate fountain looks amazing! I too get really annoyed when there’s no tags to show what’s in things. The chow mien looks lovely as well =]

  11. Sissi says:

    Excellent review! I wouldn’t however venture myself there: I would get out as you say “feeling like a house” ;-) Too many gorgeous looking desserts…
    The chowmein looks fantastic. Thank you for sharing your mum’s recipe!

  12. OMG.. this is seriously making my mouth water.. the spread of all the sweet treats..this would be my cup of tea. Loving the Mango Mousse cake with Passionfruit Glaze.. How I wish I could sample all of that? Gotta stop reading your ever so inviting recipes on choco too :P.. I simply couldn’t resist.. Have a good week ahead!! Cheers,

  13. What a fabulous review! Well done! But you know…I’ll take your mom’s chow mein over that restaurant buffet anytime! (And that includes the chocolate fountain…..but only because it was dark chocolate and not milk chocolate!) : )

  14. The Mom Chef says:

    Wow, what an amazing place and what a fantastic review of it and the food. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a restaurant like that with all those offerings. I’m jealous.

  15. kitchenriffs says:

    Fun post – I enjoyed the review. Sounds like you had a terrific time, although it’s not cool not having signs identifying what’s in the various dishes. And a savory recipe from you? Are you feeling quite well? ;-) But it’s a nice recipe, and a nice change of past. Good writing, good post – as usual! Thanks.

  16. Wow! There is too much deliciousness on this post. I’m always meaning to go for high tea. But wow, this looks just too good. I was excited for you the whole way through this post.
    The chow mein looks delicious too ;) I don’t know the last time I’ve had chow mein, and I have also never made it at home! My to-do list! It’s too long, I can’t find the end of it!!

  17. Courtney says:

    Love, love, your undercover work! I wonder what they were thinking as you snapped all those pictures? :) Great review – that dessert area and fountain would definitely be my favorite place!

  18. Hmm, with this new series, I will have to start a little folder of “places to eat in Australia”….(of course, I will have to find my way there first :P) Lovely post and well written up too….much enjoyed!

  19. I know the Swisshotel and their High Tea! Loved the look of the Lime jelly & cream (a guilty pleasure of mine!) and give me a petit sandwich of anything and I’m happy! Sorry to hear they were so stingy on the marshmallows though, but hopefully they made up for it elsewhere :)

    Have you ever checked out the Adriano Zumbo dessert Sushi Train at The Star? Lots of fun!!!

  20. cookingactress says:

    Hahahahaaaaa I love that you went “undercover”! It was a great review-I wish I could visit it myself ;)

  21. That sounds like a fantastic review. Your veggie plate has some awesome picks but i would love to try a bite from every dish.
    By the way how did you know the lamb kebob was chewy. Aren’t you vegetarian?

    Your savoury dish is tempting me to make this tonight. It was nice to see another savory dish on your blog. Change is always good , I ‘ll be looking forward for some more like these.

    • I am veggie but that was my dad’s review of it , word for word (thus the italics) ;)
      I am guessing from other blog readings it was because they were overdone :D

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  22. Starr says:

    Great job on your review! Love all the pictures (the people at the restaurant must have thought your were some kind of nut). I’d love to take more pictures of my restaurant meals, but am too shy :-)

  23. Soni says:

    Way to go.So now you’re doing reviews and that too quite delicious ones :)
    I love the chowmein recipe!Looks so so good and that chilli paneer looks mouthwatering too :)Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  24. Bravo, I am glad you got out and did a review and what a delicious one it was. Sadly, the hubs has banned my camera attendance in restaurants.! I enjoyed this one, so I encourage you to keep up with the reviews.
    Also, nice to always be able to come home and create something tasty as well. The chow mein looks yummy!

  25. Lisa at fLVE says:

    Excellent review Choc Chip Uru. :) And great pictures and storytelling too. Those desserts look fantastic. Too bad they didn’t bother to label things. I also prefer to know what I am eating.

  26. The review was lovely and detailed while the recipe was great, as always. Now, if you could just photograph a recipe for that wonderful red dipping sauce that was on the plate with the spring roll, I would be in heaven! I love that stuff and given my limited abilites, cannot figure out what’s in it or how to make it!

  27. A_Boleyn says:

    An amazing post with so many lovely dishes reviewed. And, of course, your own noodle dish. Unfortunately, the background you use makes reading a definite strain on the eyes especially trying to read the white on white text, so after a while, I have to stop. :( Great pictures though.

  28. Grace says:

    YUM! Those desserts look delicious! My family just got a fondue fountain. We gave it to my Mom for Mother’s Day/her birthday. It is awesome and the chocolate tastes WONDERFUL! :D:D:D

  29. Food Stories says:

    I love the new CCU undercover … Great Idea and great pictures … almost felt like I was right there with you :-)

  30. Undercover CCU was fun! Between the photos, descriptions and linked reviews I got a sense of the range of the high tea. Was the problem with the cream that it was unsweetened? I imagine that was to provide a contrast to all of the sweets.

  31. Kristina says:

    hahah I love your ‘under cover’ investigation! That dessert buffet looks amazingggg! I would probably just skip the main course :) I’m surprised they don’t label the food??

  32. Whoa! So much going on here, my dear!! Well – I must say: it was a dirty job, but someone had to get in there and sample EVERYthing and report back! Lucky for us you made it out alive to share what you experienced. What fun!! Here’s to many more reviews to come.

  33. ceciliag says:

    Oh how did you eat all that, and those darling little pies, and that cheesecake.. good photographs, lovely food and I am sure you had great company too.. what a tremendous undercover outing, now what did they say when they saw your trenchcoat and trilby pulled down low!! How did you hide you camera snapping? Hmm.. excellent.. celi

  34. CCU, although your blog is perfect as it is, I’m loving that you’ve decided to branch out and try other scenarios. Thanks for giving the minuses along with the plusses of your high tea. So many excellent photos. Love your savory, tasty recipe at the end. Another great offering for us, your devoted readers.

  35. Covert! :) Also, a great review – and I agree, a pet peeve of mine is when there are no names and signs to tell you what you are eating in a buffet or similar layout. That said, that looks like an amazing selection (in particular, the desserts – swoon!).

  36. Ramona says:

    Okay… where is this place located… Heaven? I love that they have a chocolate fountain… slurrrrp! I would definitely go into sensory overload with all the little selections they have…. I would have to try everything. Sorry the service was a bit slow… that always makes thing a little annoying. But all in all it looks Fabulous! I totally agree with your rating. Now onto the chow mein! Fantastic recipe by your mother. :) I love the carrot gadget… very cool. I’m a total kitchen gadget girl… to my husbands dismay. :) Great review …. you’re born to do this my friend!! Well done!!

  37. navane64 says:

    I am going to close my eyes to the desserts and its all the savoury food I am drooling over. Of course that includes the veg chow mein. As you know, I am not a dessert person so this is a post I am all excited——– the savoury food all the way.

  38. Fantastic review and recipe! You really took one for the team trying all those desserts ;)

    I’m with you on the labels things- when a self-serve buffet type thing doesn’t label things I’m so lost! It really makes things difficult for people with allergens to begin with, and I also like knowing what I’m eating!

    Awesome looking Chowmein. I love recreating takeout at home :)

  39. viveka says:

    Stunning photos – and loads of calories again – love you !!!!! The chocolate fountain I wouldn’t go close …. loads of bacterial – mini wraps my thing. I will go for your noodles and the champagne, thanks – very good post !!!!!

  40. What a fabulous spread but disappointing that nothing was labelled, as it’s ever more important for people to know what they are eating. I like a straightforward review that tells it as it is – not that I’ll ever be able to act on your reviews being on the other side of the world! An interesting new direction for you.

    Love the Chow Mein too :)

    All the best from Cornwall :)

  41. Gorgeous chow mein – on my meatless whatever day this week!

    Afternoon Tea is such a great concept – it’s for people like me who are too lazy to get up for Sunday Brunch :) There seems to be lots of variety at the restaurant and I’d be very happy with a 70% cocoa solids chocolate fountain but probably not kid (or in your case, parent) friendly.

  42. I love a good afternoon tea, but this is just too much! I’d have died from over eating if I was there..:P I have a bad tendency to get too much food and then try to stuff my face with it all…
    You did a good job for a first review! Very comprehensive. :)

  43. Ames says:

    Sounds like a very comprehensive review :). I also get a tad annoyed when there are no signs or tags to tell you what you are eating! That vegie Chowmein looks pretty good too! Looking forward to more of your undercover stories :).

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