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Monday, November 23, 2009

Adriano Zumbo, Manu Feildel and Somage Fine Foods afternoon tea at L'etoile

"I didn't realise there would be so many women."

I feel a little sorry for the lone male at our table during a tea-gustation at L'etoile. As women in floaty summer dresses and strappy heels stream into the outdoor tiered deck area of L'etoile, the hapless husband maintains he thought he'd be enjoying a champagne tasting.

Whilst there is a glass of champagne Loire sparkling at the start, today's event is all about tea, a tea-gustation of Chammelia Reserve single estate organic teas matched with canapes and desserts by Manu Feildel and Adriano Zumbo.

Ahhh... now I have your attention.


The mercury hit 41C in Sydney yesterday, and as guests entered the cool confines of the restaurant, there was a moment of despair when we realised we were being shepherded to the deck outdoors, beneath a shadecloth but nevertheless hot and still and shimmering in the high 30s.

Canape #1: Gravalax in cucumber rounds

Rounds of cucumber filled with salmon gravalax offered a cool respite.

Vegetarian canape #1: White asparagus tip with tomato

Canape #2: Scallop boudin in crab bisque with salmon roe

Scallop boudin, one of Manu's signature dishes, was also a highlight, the soft creaminess of scallop amplified by an intense puddle of crab bisque offset by the satisfying pop of plump and glossy salmon roe.

Vegetarian canape #2: Mushroom on toast

Yannick Besnard, co-owner of L'etoile

Yannick Besnard, co-owner of L'etoile, was entrusted with regretfully advising that Manu Feildel was unable to attend, caught up in a My Kitchen Rules filming delay in Perth. The men were non-plussed. The women may have silently wept. I may have been one of them.

Tea leaves for tasting:
1. Kings Lynn green tea ungraded
2. Lumbini Estate FBOP ex sp
3. Greenfields Estate OP1
4. Lumbini Estate Golden Tips

We were soon distracted with the main business at hand, sampling a variety of teas through a process known as "tea cupping".

The special cup for tea cupping

This process involves steeping a reasonably strong cup of tea for a set number of minutes (each table was provided with a kitchen timer) which is drained into a bowl for tasting.

Draining the tea cup sideways into the tasting bowl

A rounded spoon is used to tasting the brewed tea, first coating the tongue with the tea, and then slurping another spoonful loudly, just as in wine-tasting, to aerate and amplify the flavours.

Adriano Zumbo pouring syrup

In the kitchen, Adriano Zumbo and his team were plating up the dessert which would be paired with our tea.

Adriano Zumbo pipes on cream

Tea #1: Kings Lynn green tea ungraded

Paired with:
Scones with jam and cream deconstructed

The Kings Lynn green tea was an ungraded tea used as a neutral starting point. Mild in flavour with light tannins, this was paired with Zumbo's deconstructed scones with jam and cream.

Crunchy biscuit islands surrounded a lighter-than-air mound of cream in a deep-red lake of syrup. The black and tan crumbs were Pop Rocks, explosive crystals of carbonated sugar that popped and sizzled on the tongue.

Adrian Zumbo begins plating dessert #2

Desserts semi-plated

Adriano Zumbo adding the tea ice cream

Dessert #2 goes out

Tea #2: Lumbini Estate FBOP ex sp

Paired with:
Cucumber and mint jelly brioche sandwiches with tea, lemon and honey

Our second tea was the Lumbini Estate FBOP ex sp, a rare tea that apparently retails for $1,000/kg. This tea had a lovely caramel colour with notes of malt and molasses. It was paired with cucumber and mint jelly brioche sandwiches, a playful take on the traditional cucumber crustless sandwiches.

A scoop of tea ice cream rested on a slick of lemon curd alongside a flourish of honey foam. Tiny shortbread squares added crunch.

Afternoon tea revellers include Martin Boetz of Longrain

Tea #3: Greenfields Estate OP1

Paired with lychee rose, raspberry, avocado, celery leaves,
micro coriander and tea granita

Our third tea was the Greenfields Estate OP1 which is expected to retail at about $800/kg. Zumbo's macarons made an appearance at last, and this dessert was probably my favourite of the day.

A macaron half (surely flavoured with coriander?) rested on a mound of avocado cream in a slush of lychee and rose granita. Celery leaves and micro coriander seemed to play off well against the lychee, and I quite enjoyed experimenting with different combination of flavours and textures on the plate.

Adriano Zumbo focussed in the kitchen

Plating up dessert #4

Tea #4: Lumbini Estate Golden Tips

Paired with:
Peaches and tea, caramel popcorn and basil agar

We concluded the afternoon with a brew of Lumbini Estate Golden Tips, a delicate sweet tea with the flavour of currants and muscatels. The final dessert was a trio of flavours: peaches and tea topped with basil agar, a curl of raspberry sorbet dusted with raspberry sherbet and a streak of thick, sticky caramel studded with popcorn.

Nathan Wakeford of Somage Fine Foods thanks Adriano Zumbo

Somage presents Adriano Zumbo and Manu Feildel was held at L'etoile on November 22, 2009. The tea-gustation event cost $95.

Grab Your Fork attended as a guest of Adriano Zumbo Patisserie with thanks to Melissa for the invitation.

View Larger Map

L'etoile Restaurant and Bar
211 Glenmore Road, Paddington, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9332 1557

Opening hours
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12pm-3pm
Dinner: Monday to Sunday 6pm-11pm

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Adrian Zumbo Macaron Day flavour list (Oct09)
Adriano Zumbo Patissier, Balmain ( May09) , (Jan09) and (Nov08)
Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat, Balmain (Nov08)

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18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/23/2009 02:42:00 am


  • At 11/23/2009 10:07 am, Anonymous Belle@OohLook said…

    Wow, what an awesome event! The tea might have been a bit warm in 41 degree heat, but the desserts and cool vibe would have been refreshing!

  • At 11/23/2009 10:32 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Oh oh oh scones with jam and cream deconstructed! I think I just died a little. Everything looks lovely, totally worth braving the crazy heat by the sounds of it!

  • At 11/23/2009 11:06 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    I bet you were gutted with no Manu in sight. Sigh... the sideway pouring tea technique worries me, like a disaster bound to happen...

  • At 11/23/2009 11:13 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Ooohh, a tea-gustation! Sounded like lots of fun, barring the heat. Too bad Manu wasn't there...I'm always happy to admire him from afar =p

  • At 11/23/2009 11:44 am, Anonymous fooderati said…

    Thanks for coming, Helen! I too, was disappointed Manu couldn't make it but we'll be working to produce other events in the new year, so watch this space!

    The heat was massive, but thankfully the food was worth it..!

  • At 11/23/2009 11:51 am, Anonymous Marlo said…

    Great post, Helen.
    I'm still drooling over the deconstructed scones. I think they were my favourite.
    I'm laughing about the reference to my dad (the one who thought it was a champagne tasting!)

  • At 11/23/2009 11:55 am, Anonymous Jacq said…

    I think I may have cried as well upon hearing that Manu couldn't make it! Zumbo's desserts look amazing! I'm dying to try that scones with jam and cream deconstructed dessert... here's hoping he'll put it on his cafe menu :)

  • At 11/23/2009 12:04 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    caramel popcorn! squeee! i wouldve licked the plate!

  • At 11/23/2009 12:10 pm, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Oh what a shame that it wasn't a manu & zumbo birthday sandwich! LOL. Everything looks great though, esp the scones deconstructed!

  • At 11/23/2009 12:34 pm, Anonymous Trisha said…

    Oh I missed out on a tea-gustation feast!!!! I was intending on going but had prior commitments... buggah! Everything looks so good especially the Zumbo creations!

  • At 11/23/2009 2:52 pm, Anonymous Phuoc said…

    OMG I'm so jealous of you as I was considering going as well but couldn't as I had a high tea event on instead.. *cries*

    Everything looks marvelous as expected, what a shame Manu couldn't be there..

  • At 11/23/2009 7:19 pm, Blogger WX said…

    Oh gosh that scones with jam and cream deconstructed is really calling out to me... it looks like it was definitely worth braving the heat.

  • At 11/23/2009 11:52 pm, Anonymous KFC So Good said…

    Come on! Yannick is quite a hottie too. Look at those biceps!

    What a great idea to pair scallop boudin with crab bisque as a canape. is it warm or cool?

    Love the tasting cup and how the spent leave seat on the lid to be visually judged to complete the tea tasting experience.

  • At 11/24/2009 1:36 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Belle - Yes I think iced tea would have perhaps been more appropriate! We were topped up with lots of chilled water and the tea tasting was interesting. I think everyone was relieved there were some sorbets and gelatos incorporated into many of the desserts!

    Hi Stephcookie - lol. The scones with jam and cream was fun, especially the explosive pop rocks! The heat was pretty intense but the staff and patrons alike all coped reasonably well.

    Hi Billy - There was a bit of a knack to tipping the cup sideways (quickly but smoothly) but there were minimal spillages. And alas, no Manu. I was blue :( lol

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - A shame that Manu couldn't make it. Wouldn't you rather admire him up close? lol

    Hi Fooderati - Was a pleasure to attend, and thanks again for the invitation!

    Hi Marlo - Was lovely to meet you yesterday - I think we definitely scored the best table! I hope your dad enjoyed himself in the end too. The deconstructed scones seemed to be a popular favourite on the day.

    Hi Jacq - Would be great to see the desconstructed scones on the cafe menu. Still haven't gotten down there to see his new collection either.

    Hi chocolatesuze - There was a lot of talk about licking plates, but noone actually succumbed. lol. I did do a very good job scraping my plate clean though!

    Hi Betty - lol. Yes, I was looking forward to a Manu Zumbo sandwich all week. lol. Or as FFichiban said, a manwich. lol.

    Hi Trisha - Sorry you had to miss out. The tea-gustation was fun and the desserts were quite a playful take on a traditional afternoon tea.

    Hi Phuoc - A high tea isn't a bad consolation prize, and I'm guessing at least you dined in air-conditioning. lol. All about silver linings? :)

    A pity Manu couldn't be there. I think more than a few women were disappointed. lol.

    Hi WX - It was hot but the eating of desserts seemed to come naturally. The deconstructed scones were much fun.

    Hi KFC So Good - Ha, yes Yannick did spruik himself as a consolation prize. The scallop boudin was room temperature and yes, was interesting to look at the tea leaves. We were also instructed to lift the lid and smell the trapped aromas every now and then before each sip, to amplify the flavours on the palate.

  • At 11/24/2009 1:25 pm, Blogger Forager said…

    Ooh that looks really interesting. I love tea - though admittedly, Chinese tea is more my thing. It's interesting to see that the Western style of tea appreciation is mildly similar to the Chinese style with the lid and draining of tea.

  • At 11/25/2009 1:55 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Forager - I do love my tea - nothing more calming and relaxing than a good cup of tea. I would love to do a Chinese tea tasting one day. Like a lot of things, once you delve into it, you discover so many more things to appreciate!

  • At 12/02/2009 12:01 pm, Anonymous reality raver said…

    You would have had a stroke if manu and Zumbo had both been there.

  • At 12/04/2009 1:25 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Reality Raver - lol. Not at all, although as long as Manu knows first aid... :)


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