Wednesday, 25 December 2013

High Tea at Azuma - 24 December 2013

Merry Xmas everyone!

Every year, my wife and I kick off the Xmas festivities by going somewhere nice on Xmas Eve. Last year it was Bridge Room, this year we decided to try the high tea offered at Azuma, which is nestled in the food court of Chifley Plaza.

I was keen to try the high tea at Azuma because of all the fantastic cakes that I have eaten at the now defunct, Azuma Patisserie. With the closure of the Patisserie earlier this year, Azuma decided to offer their take on high tea on weekdays (2pm - 5pm). I needed my fix of their signature chiffon cake, which is by far the best I have seen in Sydney. Plus it would be interesting to see the Japanese interpretation of an old English favourite.

Tokyo high tea
There are two options for the high tea: Kyoto or Tokyo. The Kyoto high tea ($25) is served in a bento box with a mix of savoury and sweet options and your choice of coffee or tea. The Tokyo high tea ($32) is served in a stand and contains the items in the Kyoto high tea plus a few other goodies, most notably chiffon cake. Obviously we opted for the more substantial Tokyo offering.   

I opted for the Azuma blend green tea, which was a blend of roasted rice and matcha. I don't know how many times I have had this tea at the old Patisserie (probably triple figures :P). My wife opted for sencha, a more delicately flavoured and grassy brew than the Azuma blend. The green tea cappuccino is also a good choice here.   

Top layer of Tokyo high tea stand (yes, peek-a-boo, I see you!)
For the savoury options,  there are salad rolls and piquant salmon canapes (salad rolls only for my wife being a vegetarian). Both were very good and contained quality ingredients. The salad rolls had avocado, cucumber, asparagus and my favourite, Kewpie mayo! The piquant salmon canapes were sushi rolls of avocado and cucumber and topped with a spicy, creamy salmon and a single edamame bean

The bottom layer of Tokyo high tea stand
On the bottom layer, we have (from left to right), creme brulee, fruit salad with champagne jelly (my wife didn't get the jelly since she is vegetarian), rolled green tea cake, and gateau chocolate.

The creme brulee was probably my favourite out of these 4 items. I loved how the creme was silky smooth and incredibly moreish yet not too rich. The combination of creamy custard, vanilla bean and thin, crispy caramel layer was just divine.

The fruit salad with champagne jelly was also very enjoyable. I liked how the champagne jelly just evaporates in your mouth without the slightest hint of gelatine. And of course fresh fruit and champagne always goes down a treat!

Rolled green tea cake too appeals to my Asian palate: a soft, fluffy sponge cake that's like eating a cloud, together with sweet and slightly bitter green tea equals YUM!

The gateau chocolate was rich and decadent. Compared to the rest of these sweets, this could be considered dense but when you compare this to some of the rich, sickly sweet chocolate brownies out there, you'd think this gateau was light.         

As well as the stand, we were served with this plate of extra goodies that comes with the Tokyo high tea: a slice of chocolate chiffon cake, a homeade scone, chantilly cream and strawberry preserve 

Besides the fact that the scone has toppled over to its side, I adored the golden crust and the soft, crumbly and moist inside of the scone. A perfect treat to be enjoyed with cream and jam on a lazy afternoon! The chantilly cream was whipped so it was much lighter than the usual clotted cream found in English afternoon teas. I did wish there was more cream though because I wanted to have some with the chiffon cake.

The flavour of the chiffon cake was chocolate today, which is not my favourite out of the Azuma selection (I love the Earl Grey or the Green tea flavours) but wonderfully delicious nevertheless. These chiffon cakes are pillows of soft and fluffy goodness. I don't think I could get sick of eating them. I don't know how they get the cakes to be so fluffy. I have baked hundred of chiffon cakes at home and can never get it this good. All I know is that they use imported Japanese flour.           

The dining room at Azuma
I enjoyed everything that I tried at Azuma today. The portion sizes were very manageable as both my wife and I finished comfortably. Sometimes I need to be carted out of high tea places because there is simply too much food or the cakes are just too sweet and rich. I think Azuma is onto a winner with the high tea format as it can be run out of their main restaurant and gives us an alternative to the usual finger sandwiches for afternoon tea.   

Address: Level 1, Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney NSW
Contact no: 02 9222 9960

Azuma on Urbanspoon