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Friday, October 30, 2009

Sugar Hits at The Grace Hotel, Glass and Azuma Kushiyaki



I'm baaaack.

Singapore was an absolute blast - a blast of heat and humidity but much fun nonetheless. Food? Photos? Of course there was plenty of both, but because time is of the essence, I'm uploading a backlog of SIFF posts whilst it's still October.

Remember this? Last year, Billy hosted a sponsored Stickier and Sweeter Sydney Tour - a quest to consume as many Sugar Hits in one night. We managed to visit five Sugar Hits between 9pm and 11.10pm, an operation that involved intense fidgeting as we waited impatiently for our desserts and a few frantic dashes in-between destinations. I can still remember feeling a violent shade of green as I made the bolt (with a belly already full of three desserts) from the Marriott to the Four Seasons so we could make it in time for our designated booking.

Having already attempted the Sugar Sprint, we decided to exercise a little self-control (yes, truly) and along with Suze and the Pom, we meandered our way through three Sugar Hits over the course of the evening. I did say only a "little" self-control...

Sugar Hit #1:
8.00pm - The Grace Hotel



Desserts of the world tasting plate
[From top]: Walnut and fig biscotti; sticky rice with custard;
Turkish delight with fairy floss; vanilla bean brulee tart;
pavlova topped with fresh berries and cream; tiramisu;
and mango sorbet in a brandy snap basket

We started our Sugar Soiree at the Grace Hotel. We were quite excited by reports of the generous dessert plate but ended up feeling a little underwhelmed when it finally arrived at our table. A dusting of cocoa powder looked more like a coughing fit, and the desserts themselves, whilst generous in portion, are somewhat disappointing.



Our vanilla bean brulee tarts are missing the caramelised sugar top, making them more custard and less brulee. I'm also surprised to find a plastic collar still wrapped around my tiramisu - although mine is the only one with this oversight.


Turkish delight with fairy floss and sticky rice with custard

Sticky rice is an unfortunate blob of cold pasty rice. I do enjoy the cubes of Turkish Delight which are quite firm and chewy, like a jube. Fluffy strands of Persian fairy floss in chocolate flavour are always a treat too.


The carnage

Sugar Hit #2:
9.00pm - Glass Brasserie, Hilton Hotel




We arrive at Glass Brasserie to a dining room that is quietly humming. Lofty ceilings, a glassed view into the hotel atrium and an impressive wall of wine bottles all vy for our attention--until dessert arrives, that is.


Chocolate assiette
Chocolate fondant; white chocolate and pandan parfait topped with
Earl Grey tea ice cream rolled in cookies and cream biscuit;
and raspberry marshmallow bitter chocolate fondue

Oh the impressiveness of uncluttered simplicity. We ravage our plates with non-stop photos.


Chocolate fondant; and white chocolate and pandan parfait topped with
Earl Grey tea ice cream rolled in cookies and cream biscuit

Chocolate fondant has been baked to a gooey lava-like perfection. We dig our spoons past the puddle of chocolate sauce, scooping into the soft springy sponge to reveal a molten mass of partially-cooked chocolate batter.

White chocolate and pandan parfait has an interesting flavour, fragrant with pandan and cool on the tongue. I'm not so keen on the Earl Grey tea ice cream which seems a little too sweet and overwhelmed by the cookie crumbs.


Raspberry marshmallow bitter chocolate fondue

It's the elegant presentation of the raspberry marshmallow that wins me over. Who knew that a marshmallow, seared to a speckled blush and slightly oozy, could look so sexy on a Japanese skewer over a shot glass of chocolate fondue? There's a frisson of anticipation between the marshmallow and chocolate, so close and yet so far.

I probably take a little too much delight in bathing the marshmallow in chocolate. It's a pity there's no spoon provided to scoop out the remaining chocolate, but we improvise and up-end the glasses directly into our mouths instead.


View into the open kitchen at Glass Brasserie


The carnage

Sugar Hit #3:
9.45pm - Azuma Kushiyaki




It's the second encounter with the Sugar Hit at Azuma Kushiyaki for Suze and I, but that doesn't stop us clapping our hands with childlike glee once more when it arrives. If only all desserts were spread across two platters and arranged with such harmonious perfection.


East meets West dessert tasting plate

After the thick squat and chunky glasses at the Grace Hotel, I'm especially appreciative of the fine cut Reidel "O" glasses at Azuma. We find a few tweaks in terms of flavouring with the desserts - the green tea roll cake isn't quite as heady with matcha as last time (I am sad, but Suze is glad) but I am pleased to find the nori langue de chat biscuit has a more intense, saltier seaweed flavour.


Vanilla cheesecake

The raspberries on the vanilla cheesecake are quite petite, but given the price of raspberries, strawberries and even grapes at the moment, we're appreciative of these fruity flourishes.


Belgian chocolate mousse


Mochi glutinous rice cake served with kinako
(soy bean powder topping) and
vanilla ice cream

The shot glass with vanilla ice cream is once again the people's choice. It's not just the fun of pouring in your own brown sugar syrup, but the fishing for glutinous rice cakes bobbing in the melted vanilla ice cream. The mochi has a starchy squidginess that is sweetened by the ice cream, the dusting of kinako adding a powdery nuttiness.


Mochi glutinous rice cake served with kinako (soy bean powder topping),
vanilla ice cream and Japanese brown sugar syrup;
green tea rolled cake with chestnuts


The carnage

Thanks again to Billy for the invite and organising the entire evening. Check out Billy's glorious photographic coverage of the evening here.

There are only two nights left to get in your Sugar Hit so hit the phones before it's all over until next year!



And you'll be able to catch me live in the studio on 702AM ABC radio this Sunday during Simon Marnie's Weekend program. Simon will be chatting with 702 SIFF food reporter Demis Lyall-Wilson, Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella, and I, about our favourite events during the month-long Sydney International Food Festival.

Some of you may remember I was on Simon's show earlier this year. I've finally uploaded the audio of the segment if you missed it - you can check it out on the amended post here.

Don't forget to tune into 702AM ABC Radio, this Sunday, 1 November at 11.00am.

And have you entered the GYF comp to win $200 worth of kitchenware? Hurry, entries close 5.30pm AEST 31/10/09 (that's tomorrow!). Enter now.

The Grace Hotel
77 York Street (corner of King St), Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9272 6636

Glass Brasserie

Hilton Hotel, Level 2, 488 George St, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9265 6068

Azuma Kushiyaki
Ground floor, Regent Place
501 George Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9267 7775

Sugar Hits are on offer at selected hotels and restaurants every night in October as part of the Sydney International Food Festival. To avoid disappointment, bookings for all Sugar Hits are strongly recommended.

Check out the full list of available Sugar Hits for 2009 on the SIFF website.


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
SIFF 2009 - Sugar Hit at Azuma Kushiyaki
SIFF 2009 - Luke Nguyen's Cabramatta Food Tour
SIFF 2009 - Nose-to-tail barbecue with Fergus Henderson
SIFF 2009 - World Chef Showcase

Good Food Month 2008 -
Sugar Hit Challenge - FIVE Sugar Hits in one night
Good Food Month 2008 - Sugar Hit at Kings Cross Hotel
Good Food Month 2008 - Night Noodle Markets

7 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/30/2009 12:10:00 am


7 Comments:

  • At 10/30/2009 12:31 am, Blogger Simon Food Favourites said…

    you must have been buzzing like crazy from all the sugar. so which was your absolute favourite this year? :-)

     
  • At 10/30/2009 8:37 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    ohhh my gosh the glass brasserie sugar hit looks AMAZING. I was so upset they were booked out for the rest of the month when we tried to go :(

     
  • At 10/30/2009 10:37 am, Blogger mademoiselle délicieuse said…

    Same, same. To call mid-month and be told Glass is booked out for the rest of the month is heartbreaking!

     
  • At 10/30/2009 11:04 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    Welcome back and What a hoot1 I can relive the dream just by looking at the photos again! :P Ok, maybe skip the Grace next time :P

     
  • At 10/30/2009 5:11 pm, Anonymous Howard said…

    Welcome back :) , the kaya toast was good wasn't it ? I still can't believe you guys do the sugar hit marathon, awesome effort. It's funny how most people skip the Raddison, they dissapoint every year!

     
  • At 10/30/2009 10:13 pm, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    hehhe some times I wish this blog had that like button like Fb.

    Hope all is well :)

     
  • At 10/31/2009 9:48 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - It was a tough call but I think the presentation and design of Azuma's plate was hard to beat. I liked the lightness of the desserts and the variation in textures and flavours which would mean I could quite happily eat this several times without getting sick of it :)

    Hi Stephcookie - It seems that so many SIFF events book out quickly. Hopefully next year we'll all be more organised! Famous last words... lol

    Hi mademoiselle délicieuse - Wow, really? We booked our desserts about mid-month as well. It can be frustrating but sometimes it's worthwhile seeking out the venues off the CBD ant-trail.

    Hi Billy - Yes, reliving food is one of my favourite pasttimes. lol. Grace was disappointing but yes, can't wait until next year for more of that sweet sweet sugar! And thanks, we must catch up soon!

    Hi Howard - lol. Welcome back to you too! I haven't been to the Radisson for a Sugar Hit yet - the EST crew did an amazing effort this year covering so many!

    Hi PiCkLeS - Ha, I've seen a few blogs with a thumbs up button. Maybe I should investigate... lol.

     

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