Wednesday, May 15, 2013

High Tea at Radisson Blu Hotel, CBD

Miss Piggy dined as a guest of Radisson Blu Hotel & Bistro Fax.

I'm yet to meet a High Tea I haven't liked so it's with interest, and a keen stomach, that I head on over to Radisson Blu Hotel in Sydney's CDB to try their Gluten Free High Tea. I'm not gluten intolerant myself, but hey! it's high tea so I'm up for it!


With so many people nowadays suffering from Coeliac Disease or having a gluten intolerance it's nice to see restaurants taking these dietary requirements into account.  I'm sure all the gluten intolerant sweet tooths out there are doing a little happy dance knowing they can now enjoy a high tea along with the gluten endowed like myself.


The Radisson Blu dining room (aka "Bistro Fax") is light, bright, and airy with high ceilings and HUGE arched windows.  The sofas are plush and comfy and they perfectly accommodate my ever-expanding food blogger's derri√®re.  This seems like the perfect place to sit and enjoy a traditional British style high tea and while away a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.


Our high tea kicks off with bubbles, as all good high teas should, and our bottle of Marquis de la Tour (from France thank you very much) disappears all too quickly. It's a crisp, clean drop that has a slight fruitiness to it (I hope that sentence makes it sound like I know a little about wine)? 


Is there anything more squeal inducing than the sight of a three teird high tea stand? I think not! It's definitely a pretty sight - all the little sandwiches + cakes lined up just waiting to be elegantly devoured.


Personally, I like to start my high tea experience at the bottom tier - with the sandwiches. I then work my way upwards through the various sweet layers and finally end the day in a mild sugar coma.  Half way through afternoon tea I glance over and spy a couple who have turned my high tea world upside by starting at the top and finishing with the sandwiches at the end!!!  It's a radical move that I've never contemplated myself -- but I think it's something to bear in mind for the future.


I adored the chicken wrap on the sandwich tier - the chicken was moist, tender and well flavoured.  The gluten free wrap was really similar to a thin, spongy crepe in texture.  I would happily eat quite a few of these.
 
Now, I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty sure we all know that gluten free bread is...not like "real" bread. It's never going to be as soft, fluffy or pillowy as it's gluten laden cousin.  The trick seems to be in the fillings -- a moist, flavoursome filling like this beef with caramelized onion and horseradish goes along way in making the bread more moist and less dense in texture.  I'm pleased to see high tea staples like smoked salmon with cream cheese, dill and + capers and cucumber with cream cheese making an appearance - it wouldn't be a high tea without them there. 


Most high tea's have scones lurking about on their second tier...but the things with scones is that they are big fat bundles of gluten...so out they go. I'm actually really happy about that as I LOVED the sweet, crumbly shortbread biscuit (made with a mix of rice and potato flour) that had a perfect divot on top to hold a good dollop of luscious cream and jam.  This was probably my most favourite morsel from the high tea (along with the chicken wrap). It was sweet -- but not overly so, and crumbly like all good shortbread should be, but not too crumbly. It was...perfect. I'm wondering if I can go back for a few more of these...


The top tier of the high tea is actually the same as the regular high tea...it's a total gluten-free zone and as pretty as a picture. The mini chocolate + lemon curd cups were delightfully petite - a perfect mouthful of zingy lemon curd cupped by a thin, sweet shell of chocolate that shattered as I bit into it. Passionfruit is one of my favourite things so I really enjoyed the little glass of tart passionfruit jelly and the airy mini pavlova was over all too soon. The coconut macaroon has been reshaped into a little slice of crumbly heaven and is a tad more dense and substantial than its traditional namesake. We finish the afternoon with a little walnut slice and head back out into the real world...sadly.


High Tea is available each day from 10am - 6pm.  The gluten free high tea is $50pp (regular high tea is $40pp). Our bottle of bubbles would set you back $90.

Bistro Fax at Radisson Blu can be found at the "corner" of Pitt, Hunter + O'Connell Streets.

Bistro Fax on Urbanspoon

17 comments:

  1. seriously, who doesnt love high tea! id go every day instead of lunch if i had the time, money and waistline quota for it! and agree with cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches! they are a must! love the 3 tier stand tho, its modern and simple!

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    1. I love High Tea so much it's what we had for our wedding!

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  2. I interviewed Kevin Rudd in the lobby of this hotel when he was just the once (and future) humble Member for Griffith...true story.

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    1. I'm sure the day would've been even better if you'd gotten to eat the shortbread scones! Truth.

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    2. Infinitely better. I should have saved the audio of that exchange; transcribing it was better for the insomnia than a truckload of stilnox!

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  3. I think gluten-free is always a tough one to work with when it comes to desserts and pastries so it's probably a good call to replace scones with shortbread!

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    1. Totally agree! I actually prefer these little babies to scones anyway...

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  4. Looks good...especially those little lemon curd cups! I would always start with sandwiches too :)

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  5. Haha whatever happened to being adventurous and starting with a different tier? :P yay for a crumbly shortbread! I love both scones and shortbread so it'd be tough competition between the two... The black tier makes everything look so elegant and contemporary!

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  6. I work my way from the savoury to the sweet too...couldn't imagine doing it the other way around!

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  7. I'm with you - start at the bottom and work your way to the sweet stuff..... The shortbread must have been good, as I personally think a high tea isn't a high teas without scones but I am lucky to be gluten very tolerant....

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  8. I think it's great that as someone 'gluten endowed' you can give feedback on a gluten-free high tea to really see if it's up to snuff or not! While I have certainly been tucking into my gluten happy high teas, I would love a gluten free one to just go nuts on and the offerings here look great! Maybe next time I happen to be up that way...!

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  9. Oooh, that is rather a big move isn't it....sangas last!
    I thought the high tea was ok, but nothing crazy.

    Now I can't vouch for it recently, but one of the best high teas I've had (if you want another country drive on the weekend) is the White Horse Inn in Berrima. Grab a handful of friends and hire a private dining room for high tea, you should have your own fire and it really is LOVELY. (Well it was last time I went anyway.)

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  10. I love high tea but always leave filling like a humpty dumpty! But I like the sounds of this high tea with bubbles.

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  11. The shortbread scones are deliciously buttery but a tad too crumbly for my liking. Shame the GF version is more expensive - maybe that will change if it becomes a popular dining option.

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  12. The gluten free high tea at the Radisson Blu is not suitable for coeliacs. They have a poor understanding of cross contamination issues and serve GF and non-GF mixed together on the same plates! If you are on a strict GF diet - avoid it like the plague!

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  13. I should agree wit LisaNIki but don't worry, your presentations are really perfect. I can see that they look really delicious and I want to try! More power to you.

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