The Observatory Hotel, the Rocks

High tea at the Observatory Hotel! Hosted by my friend, the Vintage Queen, it was delightful fun.

Alas, I forgot to take photos of the interior design and lighting! Oops. Usually one of my favourite parts of food blogging.

High tea takes place in the Globe Bar and it is quite a large space, with a combination of round and long tables. The decor is old fashioned, with plush seating and mahogany accents all around the room.

We were a party of seven so were seated at a long table. From the selection of teas, we were allowed to choose four blends.

Glass of champagne and some water


For our teas, we chose Warm Spice, Dragon Eyes (Jasmine), White Peony and...I think the last one was Earl Grey?


They each came out in a different style of teapot.

Two of the teapots



And of course, there was sugar and milk on the table. I love sugar cubes! I would like to use sugar cubes at home.

Sugar for the tea


The tea themselves were a bit ordinary.

Jasmine tea - tasted like my favourite blend of Lipton's Jasmine Green Tea


White Peony - tasted like one of the types of tea that you can order at yumcha



Warm Spice - this was nice, like a very smooth chai



Having seen lots of tiers being carried out to other tables, I was looking forward to trying the pastries and sandwiches.



On the top tier, there were mini scones.


Jam and cream for the scones


The scones were very cute in their mini size but the inside was a bit crusty. I prefer my scones to be light and fluffy (and warm if I'm very lucky!) but I still enjoyed eating these ones. Scones with cream and jam is just plain yummy!

On the second tier, there were various sweet treats.

Second tier


Close up of the second tier


The tall glasses in the background are pannacottas which had a strong cherry flavour.

Here are some closeups of the sweet treats:

Mini cupcake - cute but not super flavoursome


Mini fruit tart - standard




Mini crème brûlée - surprisingly very good!


Finally, on the last tier, there were sandwiches and mini quiche lorraines.

Bottom tier


The sandwich varieties were cucumber, egg, ham & cheese and smoked salmon with mustard.

It was the Vintage Queen's birthday and during the middle of the afternoon tea, they presented her with a lovely tray of birthday treats.


Close-up of the tray


The Vintage Queen was nice enough to share her tray around and I carefully selected a macaron to try.


And it was really good!!!! The exterior crumpled softly when I bit into it and the filling was a light mandarin jelly jam. Much better than the ones I tried at Adriano Zumbo...

I think I would like to try more High Teas. So far I have only been to this one, the Swissotel and the Shangri-La. It is in the interests of food blogging that I should try some more...

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The Falconer, Darlinghurst

After Phamish, the Chief and I ventured on a search for some good dessert. We took a short walk up to Oxford St and the Chief recommended the Falconer.

It was warm and cosy inside, a very welcome shelter from the rain beating down outside. As soon as we walked in, I knew that I would like this place. It has an old-world charm that made me feel as though we had stepped back fifty years in time. With the dim lighting and old records, I felt like pretending that we were two detectives hunting down the Maltese Falcon who had slipped into a dark, hidden coffee store to discuss our progress.

But of course, we were just there for dessert.

A very blurry Falconer menu - why do I bother?



Romantic candlelight




The decor is wonderfully charming. Round booth seats, low hanging lights and retro posters on the wall.

Booth seating


The counter at the front of the store


I had a craving for a thickshake, which wasn't on the menu but the friendly waitress assured me that she could make me one. I requested vanilla flavour - extra thick.

The vanilla thickshake



It was exactly what I was craving for and I managed to drink at least two thirds of the tall glass.

The Chief and I decided to share a banoffee tart that we had spied in the window as we walked in.

The banoffee tart


This was surprisingly good. The cream was very thick with a strong caramel flavour and there were pieces of banana hidden in the tart.

I think I definitely want to revisit the Falconer again - I love odd cosy places!
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Phamish, Darlinghurst

Those of you with eagle eyes will have noticed that Phamish has been sitting at the top of my 'to-eat' list for a while (though to be honest, that list isn't in any particular order).

Luckily for me, the Chief was just as eager to try Phamish as I was, so we made a date to check out this notorious Vietnamese place.

I was really confused about the location - when I googled it, some sites said it was located on Burton St, some said Liverpool St. I called them in the afternoon and they said they were located on Palmer St. Okay.....

Anyway, google maps showed me that all three of the locations seemed to be quite close to each other so I figured that I couldn't really get lost.

And I didn't. Not really. I only asked for directions at a convenience store once. Which I think is pretty good! My tip, if you want to try this place yourself, is to just walk down Oxford St and turn onto Palmer Street from there, keep heading down and it will be on your right.

It's also a bit tucked away. The storefront is at the end of a small square, with another two restaurants.

At Phamish




Half of the seating is inside, and half is outside. We arrived at 6.30pm because we heard that the wait can be long if you don't get there early. This proved to be true as the place quickly filled up and people began to wait for seating.



The menu is written inside above the counter, and you order and pay at the counter (no menu is given to you). So after squinting at the menu for five minutes, the Chief and I decided to share some dishes.

Water glasses


Although they immediatley serve you with some table water when you arrive, I wish they were more diligent in refilling throughout your meal, or at the least, could leave a bottle on the table.

The food arrived rapidly and we dug in.

Blue swimmer crab dumplings ($12 for four)


They came with a light, tangy dipping sauce (see the bowl in the background?)


The dumplings were very hot, indicating that they had been freshly deep fried. There were some nice chunks of crab inside the dumplings but I felt as though the crab flavour was overwhelmed by the other flavours inside the filling.

Duck and prawn pancakes ($14 for two)


Accompanying dipping sauce


The Chief and I ordered two of these each and she absolutely loved them. I was a bit more underwhelmed. I think because I had seen a lot of photos of these on other food blogs and they looked so amazing that I expecting something completely droolworthy. But the taste was quite ordinary. There were pieces of roasted duck, pieces of prawn, an egg omelette, and then other veggies that you normally get in a Vietnamese rice paper roll.

Inside the roll - the yellow egg curved around the outside and a piece of prawn


Since the day had been very humid, the Chief and I had also ordered a salad to go with our meal.

Green papaya and beef salad ($16.50)


It was light and fresh. Pretty much the same as any other beef salad that you can get elsewhere.

So the food wasn't amazing enough to convince me that Phamish was worth a return trip. We also felt slightly pressured to leave at the end of our meal due to the huddles of people waiting for a table.

Phamish on Urbanspoon
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Portuguese Tarts

I just wanted to share another recent afternoon tea treat that I had, courtesy of the Pastry Chef.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Portuguese Tarts. They have enough similarity to a custard tart that I can't help but compare the two. And I prefer the custard tart.




What do you guys think? Which tart do you prefer? I am visiting Macau later this year so will get a chance to try a 'local' Portuguese tart so to speak, and maybe my opinion will change then.

6

The Beauchamp Hotel, Darlinghurst

After seeing a movie at the nearby Palace cinemas on Oxford Street, my friend suggested that we visit the Beauchamp for a bite to eat.

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and the place was quite empty but not in a bad way. The Beauchamp had a feeling of warmth and I like wide open spaces anyway...

Chalkboard menu outside


The prices were very reasonable, but this post is a little late so my price labels might be off by +/- one dollar.

Ground level


You place your order at the bar and take a number. Then you can choose to sit on the ground level, or go up another level. They have a standard menu, and there were also some specials written on a chalkboard behind the bar.



Seating on the ground level


We decided to go upstairs where there was another bar, and also a small courtyard.

Seating on the upper level with the door leading into the courtyard



More inside seating


Apologies about the intense light coming through! What can I say, it was a very sunny afternoon...

The food arrived quickly and we dug in because we were quite hungry.

100% beef burger with fries and ketchup ($10.50)


This was really yum. The beef had a nice charred flavour that I like - it actually reminded me of the beef in a McDonalds or a Hungry Jack burger - which is good, because I like their beef patties!

Melted cheese inside the burger...yum



My friend had ordered the fish and chips.

Fish and chips ($16.50)


They said it was nice, but the fish had an unusual crunchy batter.

It was my first time at the Beauchamp and I would definitely return.




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By the way, I apologise to my loyal readers for not posting in a while - it is because I'm swamped with uni work and I'm spending a lot of time at home writing my thesis, so don't have much free time to go out and eat!

Beauchamp Hotel on Urbanspoon
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Kasumi, Haymarket

One of my readers has been kind enough to share their own food photos from a recent dining experience.

I wasn't there and they can't remember names or prices of dishes but I have labelled them as I see fit.



Chinatown laneway where the restaurant is located




Mug of beer with some fried items


Fresh salmon sashimi and salmon roe


Beef tataki




If you have any photos of your own to share, please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

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