Grace Cafe, Sydney – Sugar Hit 2010

I had originally not planned on going to the Grace Cafe for Sugar Hit as I had read reviews on last year’s Sugar Hit. However, my best friend’s new girlfriend wanted to try it out, and how can I say no to dessert?I have driven past the Grace Hotel many times but have never set foot in it. I never even realised there was a restaurant there until the night I went for Sugar Hit.

The main dining area of the cafe is a reasonable size from what I remember to be high ceilings. However, we were whisked away to an upstairs area. This area was more intimate and quite. The group at the bar next to us were quite well behaved, not the usual bunch you see on a Friday night. We were sat at some coffee tables and some lounges, comfortable for relaxing in, not the most comfortable to try and eat dessert in. But that had to do as I was excited to bite into my first Sugar Hit of the year.

The manager came out and was excited to explain to us that we were the first to try out Grace Cafe’s Sugar Hit for 2010, that made me even more excited. I was like a giddy girl in a candy store. I like being the first to try something out, it kind of makes you feel exclusive and special.

When our desserts came out, we were in awe. It was a mountain of deliciousness. Things piled up high seem more appealing than something lay flat on a plate. However, I soon found out the difficulty of eating a dessert piled up so high.

We begin with from top to bottom of the chocolate delight:

  • Chocolate fairy floss. I was transported back to when I was a kid and I would eat fairy floss at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Actually, I still eat fairy floss now when I go to the Easter Show with my cousins 🙂 Back to the dessert.. There was a hint of chocolate in the fairy floss which made it even that more delicious. It creates a novelty for the consumer. Have dessert, have a little fun.
  • Chocolate macaroon. I guess the hype about macaroons is still continuing on. Macaroons are always delicious when made right. And it being chocolate, how can it go wrong?
  • Kahlua ice cream. I’m not a fan of ice cream or dairy. I like eating dairy products but it doesn’t agree with me. I had a couple of spoonfuls, but most of it was left untouched (this created problems for me later). Our scoop of ice cream was quite sizable and as I had left it mostly untouched, it began to melt and become a slight barrier to me reaching the lower levels. There was also nowhere for me to put it as the boyfriend, best friend and his girlfriend were not willing to take my scoop off my hands.
  • Chocolate fondant with self-saucing chocolate centre. A fondant is absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious when made right, and this one was. The chocolate centre was warm and oozing out. It was like a party in my mouth. One of my favourite parts of the dessert. I have never met a person who doesn’t like chocolate fondant. It is just a crowd pleaser. People love watching the chocolate creep out when they break open the fondant. Absolutely delicious!
  • Waffle basket. I’m not a fan of waffles either. I find them quite dry and they stick to my teeth which I hate. I had a little nibble, it was like what you would expect. However, it came into use when I needed to reach my last layer. It helped in enabling me to lift up any leftovers from previous layers to reach the next layer.
  • Strawberries. These were well needed. The tartness and the slight sourness were needed to balance out the sweetness of the rest of the dish. I do wish there were more though and that they were not at the bottom of the glass.
  • The dessert also came with 2 chocolate sticks and a chocolate bow just to add to the whole chocolate experience. The boyfriend offered to finish the chocolate sticks for me which I was happy to give him.

Each dessert came with a glass of Brown Brothers Orange Muscat dessert wine. It went well with the dessert. Usually dessert wines have a concentrated sweetness to it. However, I found this time that the dessert was even more indulgent than the wine and I found myself finishing the wine way before I had even finished the dessert.

My suggestion is to order one between two to share as the whole dessert overall was quite rich and indulgent. You feel like you’ve eaten so much sugar that you won’t be able to sleep that night. It gave us all enough hype and energy to walk all the way to the night markets in Chinatown and then to Central station. Most of this spent skipping and being very happy. So if you love chocolate, this dessert is a must to try.

Happy nom nom nom-ing!

Grace Cafe
Corner of York & King Streets
77 York Street
Sydney NSW 2000
T: (02) 9272 6888

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ichigo Daifuku (イチゴ大福)

Ichigo Daifuku are small round ball of Mochi (glutinous rice), that is wrapped around a filling of Ichigo (strawberry) covered with Anko (smooth red bean paste). It is then rolled in Katakuri starch (potato starch) to keep it from sticking to everything.

They are absolutely delicious. Chewy on the outside and when you bite it, there is the sweetness from the Anko and a burst of juice from the strawberry. Everything balances out and it’s like a party in my mouth. I love anything that is sweet and chewy so I absolutely loved these when I tried them at a recent Chef’s Armoury event. There’s another one happening on 11 September at 1pm if people are interested.

Thanks to Chef’s Armoury, I have a recipe for Ichigo (Strawberry) Daifuku  to share with everyone. Enjoy!

Ichigo (Strawberry) Daifuku

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 5 mins + 5 mins cooling

Cooking time: 15 – 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 strawberries (about 2.5cm round) – de-stemmed, washed and dried
  • 100 grams Shiratamako/Mochiko – Glutinous Rice Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese White Sugar
  • 120 – 140 millilitres water
  • Potato/Katakuri Starch (for dusting)
  • Pre prepared chunky red bean paste

Method:

  1. Wrap a layer of red bean paste around the strawberry to create a ball.
  2. Dust the bottom of a tray with potato starch and set aside.
  3. Combine sugar and shiratamako in a rice cooker.
  4. Slowly add water and mix with a silicon spatula until you have a smooth paste.
  5. Cook in a rice cooker on ‘steam’ mode for about 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Stir with a spatula dipped in water until smooth and turn out onto the tray with potato starch.
  7. Dust your hands and prepared mochi with potato starch.
  8. Let the mochi cool for a couple of minutes until touchable and divide into 6 balls.
  9. Press balls into disks and stretch each one around the strawberry/anko balls.
  10. Twist the bottom to seal in the strawberry and shape the ball.
  11. Enjoy straight away!

A whole plate of Ichigo Daifuku. Yum!

Dorayaki and Ichigo Daifuku

Tip: Do not put them into the refrigerator, otherwise they will go hard and will not be chewy.

Happy nom nom nom-ing!

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe – The Rocks, Sydney

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe

After dinner at Zia Pina last night. The boyfriend, Richard and I headed next door to the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe. The boyfriend and Richard were talking to each other and completely walked past the cafe. I, on the other hand, was more excited and stopped to looked at the menu. We stepped inside and I felt like a little kid in a candy store (or in this case, chocolate store). It was so beautiful. The cafe was brightly lit and I could see rows and rows of cakes and pastries. The manager sat us down quite close to the cake and pastry display. I was so happy.

Variety of pastries and cakes

There’s so much to choose from

Look at the supply of chocolate behind the counter

The manager was quite nice in explaining their specials of the day and giving a description of what it was. It sounded yummy! But I was so happy just to be there that I allowed the boyfriend and Richard to choose something from the menu. They both agreed to order the Ice Cream Taste Pallet and the Chocolate Degustation Plate. First came the dark hot chocolate that came with the degustation plate.

There was a piece of dark chocolate in the cup, but the hot chocolate tasted and smelt like powdered drinking chocolate.

Next came the Ice Cream Taste Pallet. We each had a taste of all the flavours and agreed on which was was our favourite and we stuck to it. I had the chocolate, the boyfriend had the praline and Richard had the white chocolate & raspberry. We shared the espresso one.

Ice Cream Taste Pallet

$14

Top L-R: espresso, praline

Bottom L-R: white chocolate & raspberry, chocolate

Finally what we had all been waiting for arrived. The Chocolate Degustation Plate. It looked so deliciously yummy. So delicious that we didn’t know where to start. We nibbled away at the trio of chocolates first. Then we moved from left to right on the plate.

Chocolate Degustation Plate

$30

Left-Right:

1. Lemon Torte: Lemon cream, lemon gel & ganache, hazelnut roulade layer with genoise sponge

2. Opera my way: Chocolate cream mousse, espresso butter cream, layered with hazelnut dacquoise & chocolate sponge

3. Special of the day: Strawberry yoghurt mousse, coconut, berry gel & chocolate sponge

4. White chocolate & raspberry ice cream

5. Dark chocolate dip & fresh strawberries

They were all so gorgeous. I could see a couple walk by our table and the woman stopped to look at what we were eating. I love it when that happens because I do the exact same thing when something catches my eye. We were so full after eating dessert that we didn’t really mind the walk to the car. Overall I had a great experience at the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe. I will indeed go back for another treat in the future. Although it was a little bit pricey, I thought it was well worth it for the combination of food, service and ambience. It isn’t the most value-for-money meal but I thought it was well worth it. Pop in for a little snack if you have a sweet tooth.

Happy nom nom nom-ing!

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