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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

High tea at the Swissotel Crossroads Bar, Sydney

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.

Crustless sandwiches

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

Fruit tarts

Chocolate tortes

Coconut tarts

Carrot cake

Apple strudel

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!

Tropical cheescake

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.

View Larger Map

High tea at the Crossroads Bar
Swissotel Sydney
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
15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/07/2009 11:22:00 pm


  • At 1/07/2009 11:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ooh high tea how I miss thee and great work on decorating and the gingerbread men! They look so tasty yumm

  • At 1/08/2009 1:09 am, Blogger maomau said…

    wow, nice place for high tea. you did a great job w/ the man cookie. tasty. hehehe.

  • At 1/08/2009 2:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh my that bowl of cream is so very pretty indeed... lol were there chocolate splash marks on the wall when you left?

  • At 1/08/2009 9:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yum, so many treats! The chocolate fountain looks like fun.

  • At 1/08/2009 10:06 am, Blogger Annie said…

    Last time they went were the desserts made on site? Because those desserts have been ordered in, as I have seen the exact same ones in places I have worked before... a common practice but a little disappointing at a high tea.

  • At 1/08/2009 11:03 am, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    Hens day! Love the devilish headpiece! Sad to hear quality is declining over time, but I agree, much better for large groups, save the fancier occasions for more intimate groups.

  • At 1/08/2009 4:44 pm, Blogger andrea said…

    whoa! you really arrived there early; the bowl of cream is still perfect!

  • At 1/08/2009 9:13 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi FFichiban - Yeah it's always great to have an excuse to enjoy a high tea. The gingerbread men were fun to do. I still need to work on my icing skills though!

    Hi Maomau - Thank you. Initially I wanted a winking gingerbread man but all he got was a crazy big eye!

    Hi Chocolatesuze - lol. I wonder what they'd do if you took the whole bowl of cream to your table! :) And no, surprisingly there weren't any chocolate marks on the wall. There was lots of strawberry spillage though. Err... guilty, Your Honor.

    Hi Arwen - The chocolate fountain is fun. It sure does a good job of turning healthy fruit into something a little more calorific!

    Hi Annie - I expect that most hostels order all their desserts in? But yes, this latest supply did strike me as being rather ordinary and commonplace, not the wow, ooh la la treats I'd coo over at a decadent high tea.

    Hi Miss Honey - I still have a small weak spot for buffets :) but yes, the older I get the more I find myself preferring smaller portions with better quality ingredients. The variety does give flexibility for a range of tastebuds too.

    Hi Andrea - I arrived before they'd even started setting up the food! It was good though - gave me a good opportunity to take photos, even if the waitstaff were a little bemused!

  • At 1/09/2009 10:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd like to see Miss Chief at the chocolate fountain. If I took Bhudda I can just imagine how many leftovers I'd be eating.

    The gingerbread men and feathers were a nice touch - cute but not tacky.

  • At 1/09/2009 3:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are such a good friend. Nice little touches. I'm sure everyone had a good time.

    Another place that is on my list to visit. I hope someone there reads your post and pulls up their socks.

    Is this the place that uses Lindt choco for their fountain?

  • At 1/10/2009 12:45 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Divemummy - lol. I just imagine those two at the buffet table. Free-for-all with extra glee!

    The gingerbread men were quite a hit. Who said there isn't a little kid inside all of us still :)

    Hi Veruca Salt - I remember hearing it used Lindt but I've never actually heard it from the mouths of Swissotel.

    We will have to get you to the buffet soon - always happy to be of assistance!

    And it takes one to know one :) Thank you and thank you.

  • At 2/05/2009 2:00 pm, Blogger Epicfailblog said…

    oo i am going there in two weeks im planning to spoil myself ahha from my diet ..and my sister wanted to come with me is it possibe to pay $30 for me and we can both share or not?

    i was also wondering if you had to make reservations? Does it get busy?
    So far i think itll be a small group of mo more than four.

  • At 2/05/2009 8:33 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Mizz_Amal - The high tea at the Swissotel is a buffet, so the price is per person. If you wanted to eat less, I'd suggest you go to a tiered high tea venue, such as The Observatory Hotel or The Victoria Room.

    I always making bookings if I'm planning something. Unless you are prepared to miss out because they are full, then always make a booking, and let them know if you're running late or intend to cancel.

  • At 11/25/2009 2:09 am, Anonymous aL said…

    buffet's now $39.00 per person
    $49.50 per person with a glass of NV Brut Chandon sparkling wine

  • At 11/26/2009 9:14 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi aL - Thanks for the update. Have amended the details with the new pricing.


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