Recently, I was entrusted with organising a Hens Day for a high school friend. With a range of girlfriends, sisters, and sisters-in-law attending, it was a case of juggling social calendars and babysitters for all involved. A buffet high tea at the Swissotel Crossroads Bar seemed like the perfect way to accommodate everyone's schedules as well as a delicious way to celebrate the sisterhood in style.
I arrived early and made a few quick decorations to the table to set the mood. A pink fluffy boa and furry devil horns were essential for the bride-to-be.
I also made gingerbread men using my usual recipe that doubled as place-setters and take home gifts for guests. Initially I was looking for hen or chick cookie cutters but these were impossible to find in a large size at short notice. The gingerbread girl in a dress was perfect, but it was only after bringing it home that I discovered it was too wide for my cellophane bags (procured on my last trip to Japan). So gingerbread boys it was, a more appropriate theme anyway in hindsight! A decorative feather added some va-va-voom and a handful of extra feathers were scattered all over the table.
I'm no stranger to the high tea at the Swissotel. Three times I've feasted, including a meet-up with Sydney foodbloggers more than two years ago (my, time flies!).
Swissotel high tea buffet
The high tea set-up is now set-up perpendicular to the bar, the chocolate fountain dangerously close (in my opinion) to the white wall behind.
I were pleased to see a greater and better range of sandwiches this time, a selection that included smoked salmon and cream cheese; diced chicken with mayonnaise; ham and salad; and cheese and tomato.
Mini meat pies
Two warmers also beheld mini meat pies and mini quiches. Whilst these lacked a little in sophistication (reminding me more of a kids party than a high tea), they were at least plentiful. There was no sight of the cheese balls or pastry puffs available on our last visit though.
Mini berry cheesecakes
There was no shortage of desserts though.
Lemon meringue pies
Scones with jam and cream
Chocolate fountain with strawberries, honeydew,
marshmallows and chocolate cake
Note to kitchen: these bowls are not really designed for overflowing fruit and desperate jabs with the supplied skewers - there was so much inevitable spillage taking place it was a strawberry massacre!
Caramel slices and chocolate cake
Plate #1: Sandwiches, pie and quiche
Plate #2: Scones, lemon meringue tart, strudel and sandwich
Final plate: Chocolate-dipped fruit and scones
I enjoyed my scones and the lemon meringue tarts the most. Looking back on the photos, I realise there were no chocolate eclairs available this time, and it might just be me, but I thought there was a slight decline in the quality of desserts available, despite their abundance. I miss the gorgeous pear tart slice and caramel pistachio tart, the exquisite pecan tart and the better-looking and plumper fruit tarts.
It was also disappointing that tea pots are no longer supplied, a help-yourself tea table meaning no complimentary top-ups from floor staff. I didn't really mind getting my own tea, but I had to keep explaining to everyone else that the reason the tea bags were so gigantic was because the tags were designed to be wrapped around a teapot lid.
Otherwise it remains a good destination for groups, with reasonable variety and a help-yourself service that caters for any appetite and flexibility with arrivals.
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High tea at the Crossroads Bar
Level 8, 68 Market Street, Sydney
(above Myer, enter from Market Street opp the State Theatre)
Tel: +61 (02) 9238 7082
High tea buffet available Saturdays and Sundays 2pm-4pm
$39.00 per person [updated Nov09]
$49.50 per person with a glass of NV Brut Chandon sparkling wine
Related GrabYourFork posts:
High tea at the Swissotel Crossroads Bar (Nov06) , (Jun06) and (Oct05)
High tea at the Observatory Hotel, Globe Bar
High tea at the Sofitel Wentworth (Sep08) and (Dec06)
High tea at the Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
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1/07/2009 11:22:00 p.m.