There's nothing quite like playing tourist in your own city. Sure, I was born and bred in Sydney and love it to bits but there's always something that I discover that makes me find it endlessly fascinating again. Queen Viv, Miss America and my husband and I are walking the short distance from a restaurant to the Shangrila Hotel for a Sugar Hit. Along the way we walk traverse some back streets, not usually somewhere that we'd go but we are feeling perhaps foolishly brave because of our numbers and the consumption of alcohol. I contemplate my weapons should anyone untoward attack us-I have at my disposal...a pair of heels. Hmm they are heels but they're wedges so perhaps not quite the weapon I need. I also have my bag and a camera bag and that looks to be about it. It's too late to turn back anyway and we're reminded of our Jack the Ripper tour in London. Luckily the lane ways are warmly lit and have names such as Long's Lane, a tilted brick lane.
We reach the Shangrila at 10:05pm exactly for our 10pm booking. My phone vibrates in my bag-the waiter is calling me and I tell him that we are in the lobby lounge waiting for someone to show us to a table. He tells us "Oh you didn't know about the 15 minute rule? If no-one turns up then we give the table away". Hmmm fair enough, except we are only 5 minutes late so it seems like an overeager gesture.
Interestingly, our dessert wine is a chilled red wine, not the usual golden sweet nectar we are usually served. It's light and sweet and reminiscent of redcurrants.
We sit down and contemplate the strawberry themed Sugar Hit. One of my readers flapflap had said that it was good for Strawberry lovers and we are indeed that (Queen Viv doesn't like chocolate so we gave the chocolate themed Sugar Hits a wide berth). We also order a Mocktail, a Heavenly Bliss with a fruity and antioxidant packed sounding blend of fruit. It has mango, pineapple, strawberry, cranberry, orange with fresh blueberries. I don't really see the blueberries in this, perhaps there aren't many of those. It is rich, viscous and of course very fruity.
Strawberry and rhubarb mascarpone dacquoise with creme fraiche ice-cream accompanied by licorice infused strawberries complemented with Brown Brothers Cienna Dessert wine $20[
Our Sugar Hits are brought to us shortly afterwards: a combination of strawberry and rhubarb mascarpone dacquoise with creme fraiche ice-cream accompanied by licorice infused strawberries, complemented with Brown Brothers Cienna Dessert wine.
The leaning strawberry and rhubarb mascarpone dacquoise is impressive looking but the dacquoise tastes like a firm whipped cream rather than mascarpone. There is a pastry base rather than the traditional meringue base.
The creme fraiche ice cream is nice and certainly true to flavour, the flame toffee decoration is adorable and ranges in colour from toffee to red.
I am not a huge licorice fan but the licorice infused strawberries are so mildly flavoured that we have trouble discerning any licorice flavour. There is a slight flavour of something but it is so mild we cannot put our finger on it.
There is also a shortbread biscuit on which sits a single licorice infused strawberry. The biscuit needs some vanilla and is fairly average as is the strawberry. It's probably my least favourite part of the plate.
We lie back in the comfortable lounges and Miss America threatens to curl up in one for the night.
I leave you with some pictures of our little laneway walk to the Shangrila.
Looking transported in time, the old fashioned Susannah Place shop and museum looks like there are current inhabitants (from the washing on the line).
We also see some curious footprints on the tunnel wall on Cumberland Street leading towards Observatory Hill.
Long's Lane-rather eerie late at night and just a bit too Jack the Ripper-ish!
176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
Tel: +61 (02) 9250 6123
Sugar Hits are available during the month of October 2008 at the Lobby Lounge from 8pm.