I have fond memories of the Inter Continental Hotel. However they're now fuzzy and blurred given that they were so may years ago. During High School my friends and I hung out at the Inter Continental's Top Floor bar where we would gather on Saturday nights, order mocktails and take advantage of the spectacular view of the Opera House. What was always important was that the nibbly bowl, filled with Japanese rice crackers or nuts would be replenished regularly, without us asking. Once it was a bowl of mixed nuts and after we picked out all the good ones and left the peanuts behind, they'd refill it again. That was great service to us High School kids.
It's been a while since I've been to the hotel, certainly I've been since High School but tonight, we're partaking of their Sugar Hit, part of the SMH's Good Food Month. We always prefer the platters as that allows for maximum tasting pleasure so the Inter Continental's was a no brainer. It is a tasting platter of Grand Marnier-Strawberry Infused Panna Cotta; Chestnut Timbale, V.S.O.P cognac cream & White Chocolate-Raspberry Torte with a glass of Brown Brothers Dessert Wine.
We're seated at the Lobby's Cortile Bar, a winding-round multi two leveled space. It's early in the night for Teena, Gina and I at 8pm as we'd had an early dinner at Bodega. Still, the Cortile Bar is quite full. We place our orders and we are given a choice of either Cognac or Brown Brothers Dessert Wine. I adore the BB dessert wine so I order this. Our plates and glasses come out shortly.
Tasting platter of (left to right) V.S.O.P cognac cream & White Chocolate-Raspberry Torte; Grand Marnier-Strawberry Infused Panna Cotta; Chestnut Timbale, $20
V.S.O.P cognac cream & White Chocolate-Raspberry Torte
I tackle the one that appeals to me most visually, the V.S.O.P cognac cream & White Chocolate-Raspberry Torte. Whilst it looks great it tastes unexciting and I can't help but feel that it might be one of those cakes that is served at a buffet in the same size. It's multi layered sponge soaked in cognac with some white chocolate shards and a tiny bit of raspberry. The bottom layer of sponge is messy and made up of small pieces of sponge arranged together, perhaps it's an end piece.
Grand Marnier-Strawberry Infused Panna Cotta
I next try the one that Gina finds too strongly alcoholic, the Grand Marnier-Strawberry Infused Panna Cotta. The top is a strawberry coulis which is delicious and the Panna Cotta is creamy and good although I don't find the Grand Marnier too strong, just quite nicely done although the square frosted receptacle is too small for the spoon and a bit of fork action is needed (although the fork against frosted glass is like nails on a chalkboard to me, it's a small point I admit but I'm just saying...).
The Chestnut Timbale is the one I saved for last as I love chestnut and this delicate mousse is certainly delicately flavoured with chestnut. The thick chocolate sauce accompanying it is a little grainy, perhaps flavoured with chestnut puree.
And of course the Brown Brothers Dessert wine, the one that I often bring as a hostess gift, is gorgeous sweet and delicate.
With nothing else to do but girl gossip, we order coffees and hot chocolates and while the evening away with the upstairs Wedding's mix of music occasionally heard in the background (Gina is not impressed, Teena and I reminisce). And before we know it, the clock is striking midnight!
The Sugar Hit is served at The InterContinental Cortile Lounge; Cafe Opera and Club Bar
Corner Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9240 1396
Available every evening during the month of October