Where to eat in Sydney

September 18, 2013

Sponsored post: A flavour-packed afternoon tea

Lipton Tea Masterchef

I was recently invited to the pop-up Masterchef Dining and Bar in Sydney to experience ‘High Tea Brewed by Lipton’ with master tea blender, Kurush Bharucha. As a self-appointed aficionado of tea and cake, I was excited to check out the new pop-up and explore the new range of Lipton‘s Pyramid teas. And I was also eager to sample some of the sweet treats that have featured in Australian Masterchef over the past few years. My date for the afternoon was my mum, the original aficionado of all things tea and cake.

Lipton Tea Tasting via WeeBirdy.com

First surprise? The magnificent set-up of the Masterchef Dining and Bar, which was a much grander verision of your usual wooden-crates-and-make-do nature of a pop-up. This was pop-up deluxe, with marble benchtops, magnificent lighting installations and Masterchef’s signature mezzanine, where our afternoon tea was taking place.

Lipton Afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

Lipton Tea Tasting via WeeBirdy.com

Our table was set with an intriguing line-up of bell jars housing samples of tea leaves, with another row of glass tea cups and a third row of Lipton Pyramid tea bags. After our glasses were filled with hot water, we were introduced to Lipton master tea blender, Kurush Bharucha, who is a man who knows a wee bit about tea. So much, in fact, at one point in his career he was tasting 1,000 cups of tea a day. Blimey!

Kurush guided us through each tea, explaining the finer points of each blend as we infused our hot water with the new pyramid tea bags. It was an experience for all the senses, and represented a departure from your usual automatic-robot-tea-bag dunking, as we could observe the tiny leaves, flowers and pieces of fruit within each pyramid swirl and burst into colour and fragrance.

Second surprise? The Russian Earl Grey tea pyramid came to life in the hot water. The pretty sky blue cornflower petals swirled amongst pieces of orange and lemon peel and the gentle aroma of bergamot and citrus wafted up from the cup. I’m not generally a fan of Earl Grey but this one had a subtle flavour that was gently warming.

So what’s the big deal about the pyramid shape? Kurush explained that it allows them to use longer tea leaves and bigger pieces of ingredients such as lemon peel, cinnamon bark and jasmine petals – which is responsible for the swirling visual treat in my cup! Also, the roomier teabag means that all the goodness in the tea bag can dance about and release more flavour. It’s a bit like having a mini teapot with loose leaf tea in your tea bag. Nice!

Lipton High Tea via WeeBirdy.com

Third surprise? We were also introduced to the new range of the delightful Lipton tisanes, with blends including Forest Fruits, Raspberry Passion and Peach Mango. Most of you will know that I generally like a good old cup of builder’s tea – English Breakfast is my blend of choice, but I really loved exploring the new fruit tisanes. Anything with a flavour punch of passionfruit gets a big tick from me. I usually fill my tea with milk and sugar, but there was no need for anything else with these cupfuls of rich flavour.

Lipton High Tea via WeeBirdy.com

We were also introduced to last year’s Masterchef runner-up, the lovely Julia Taylor, who took us through the tasty afternoon tea menu featuring Waldorf finger sandwiches, friands with tea-infused raisons, Zumbarons, Adriano Zumbo passionfruit tart and her signature Vegemite caramel chocolate cups.

Lipton’s Forest Fruits tea went down a treat with the zumbarons! The stand-out sweet morsels of the afternoon were the incredible friands, the flavour-packed passionfruit tart and the Vegemite caramel chocolate cups, which were the absolute highlight. Sweet and salty and incredibly moreish, we sat in reverent silence as we consumed the heavenly mouthful of the most surprising ganash.

Lipton High Tea via WeeBirdy.com

The best surprise of the afternoon? Discovering that Lipton’s pyramid tea is indeed a clever and innovative way to enjoy your favourite brew, and the 16 new flavours provide a real treat for your senses.

Who knew a tea bag could provide so much entertainment?

WIN! Lipton Pyramid Tea

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me in 25 words or less which Lipton Pyramid tea flavour would you pair with your favourite sweet treat? The giveaway is open to all Australian residents 14 years and older, and ends at 5pm Friday, 27 September 2013.

The five most creative responses will win a sample pack containing eight different flavours from the Lipton Pyramid range. Click here for the full competition terms and conditions. Please don’t forget to leave your email address in the space provided in the comments section – it will only be visible to me.

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

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July 8, 2013

Sydney for kids: Peter Pan morning tea at The Langham

Morning Tea at the Langham Sydney

Regular readers will know that it doesn’t take much to entice me to a traditional tea at a hotel, so I was delighted to attend The Langham Sydney’s Peter Pan tea on the weekend – with grandma and my two-year-old in tow.

Peter Pan Morning Tea at The Langham Sydney

Peter Pan Morning Tea

This beautifully themed tea is a special school holiday promotion to entice the youngest fans of the boy who refused to grow up with the promise of Tinkerbell cupcakes with Pixie dust, pirate cookies, fairy bread finger sandwiches and scones studded with Smarties. Add to that a wee jar of gold coins and a green napkin fashioned into a Peter Pan cap and you have a fairytale tea worthy of the best Never Land dreams. My wee one was tired and wasn’t feeling very well at all, but one glimpse of the jar of gold coins and he literally rose from the stroller for a better look (and a nibble).

Peter Pan Morning Tea at The Langham

Now it’s not quite your average trip-to-the-museum school holiday activity, but it’s perfect for a very special treat or if you’re celebrating a special occasion. And while little ones nibble on fruit swords and sip on hot chocolate, grown-ups are treated to The Langham’s traditional Tiffin tea, a three-tier tray crammed with dainty finger sandwiches, golden sultana and plain scones, sumptous cakes and petit fours.

Peter Pan Tea at The Langham

The Peter Pan morning tea is $30 per child (who must be accompanied by a full paying adult). The journey to Never Land comes to an end on 14 July 2013, so you’ve got a few days to book your fairytale adventure.

To book, tel 02 8248 5220 or email tlsyd.rsvn@langhamhotels.com

Peter Pan Morning Tea
Langham Hotel Sydney
89-113 Kent Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

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November 12, 2012

A wee birdy week, in pictures

According to Instagram, my week looked like this:

  • I went to the beach – again! That makes it two weekends in a row. Must be a record for me.
  • I attended my first ever Kids Business Bloggers Brunch – and found some quick and easy Christmas crafts from Spotlight. (Quick and easy being key words for me.) I’m on my way to Spotlight this afternoon!
  • I also met the girls from Brown Sugar at the Bloggers Brunch, who gifted me a beautiful coral striped scarf, which went fabulously with my coral Dinosaur Designs bangle and Tom Ford lipstick in Wild Ginger.
  • I’m still loving Sydney’s magnificent show of jacarandas this year. Front lawns and footpaths everywhere are awash with jacaranda confetti. And the sight of backlit jacarandas in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun is one of my favourite Sydney sights. It means summer is just around the corner.
  • I went to an excellent Blog Photography Workshop to brush up on my DSLR skills. Hosted by the fabulous Little Paper Trees (check out her blog now) and led by lifestyle photographer Emma Scamell, we covered an incredible amount of skills in just one wee day. The workshop was held in the studios of one of my favourite Sydney shops, Little Paper Lane, so it was a day filled with lots of laughs, creativity and neon. It’s a very neon Christmas this year at Little Paper Lane – check out the riot of colour in their window displays!
  • If you’re in Sydney and you need some Christmas present inspiration, make the trip to Little Paper Lane in Mona Vale. Or check out their superb online shop. I dare you to resist pulling out your credit card! I shopped up a storm, and stocked up on Washi tapes, ribbons, an awesome extra-large alphabetical stamp set and neon gift cards. So lovely.

Instagram pics via WeeBirdy.com

  • I also met a very cute duckling (it had just hatched in my friend’s home incubator!)
  • I found the sweetest-smelling baby pineapples from the organic grocer in Avalon.
  • I stopped by The Boatshed in Palm Beach for some ice-cream. They always have the most magnificent displays of fresh fruit and flowers.
  • I took out 10 minutes to watch the Melbourne Cup, and decided to make a last-minute bet. Should have stayed at home.
  • I took delivery of a very sweet box filled with Chupa-Chups, and the latest candy-inspired collection of lip gloss, nail polish and eye-shadows from L’Oreal Paris.
  • I met the guys from Rust-oleum at the Bloggers Brunch and discovered a brand new world of magic paint and spray paints. I’ve got to get a can of their white matte spraypaint which gives your average jam jar a beautiful white ceramic-like finish. Genius.

Phew, what a week. Did I mention that I also launched a brand new craft tutorials website, Crafttuts+? More on that very soon!

Tell me, what did you get up to? You can follow me on Instagram here. I’d love to see your Instagram pics, too!

p.s. I made 2000 ‘likes’ on Facebook! Hooray! Thanks everyone for following me. X

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September 17, 2012

A week in the life of Wee Birdy – in pictures

According to Instagram, this is what the past week in my life looked like.

I went to the annual Dinosaur Designs garage sale in Sydney and snapped up this amazing coral resin bangle. I’ve wanted a wide DD bangle for ages and I love the coral-like texture as well as the amazing colour. It POPS and it looks fab with my ever-growing collection of Breton stripes.

Amanda Talbot mentioned that she’s a Wee Birdy follower on Twitter in Sunday Life magazine, along with some other brilliant bloggers including @Will_UK, @decor8, @citysage and fellow Aussie @interiorsaddict. Check out Amanda’s excellent design and interiors blog, Snoop.

This delicious New Zealand rainbow trout with horseradish cream on toasted rye was just one of the canapes I feasted on at a Tourism New Zealand reception at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal. There was also an incredible performance of the Haka. Afterwards, I watched the sun go down over Sydney harbour and showed off my new Country Road booties.

I also met Swedish glassmaker Göran Wärff at David Jones, where he is currently exhibiting some of his stunning limited edition pieces for Kosta Boda. His use of colour throughout his work is legendary, and these purple and orange vases were two of my favourites.

I was also invited by Nuffnang to secret squirrel launch about a brand-new blogging product. Follow NuffnangX to find out more.

And we had one of those rare evenings out with our 18-month-old toddler who happily accompanied us out to an early dinner in Darlinghurst. We headed to Gelato Messina for dessert, arguably Sydney’s best ice-cream. We shared a tasting plate of ‘Schmeckel’ (peanut butter and white chocolate-coated pretzels); salted caramel and white chocolate; dulce de leche (milk caramel); milk chocolate and peanut butter fudge and chocolate fondant ice-cream. Oh boy.

What have you been up to? Do you love Instagram? I’m addicted – I love scrolling through the lives of Wee Birdy readers around the world. Find me on Instagram – I’m @WeeBirdy.

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September 9, 2012

A wee birdy week – in pictures

According to Instagram, this is what the last week or so in my life looked like. We went back to Cockatoo Island in Sydney today to see the rest of the Biennale of Sydney. It finishes next week so make sure you catch it before it goes. It was a glorious day on Sydney Harbour, and I loved wandering around the old industrial buildings exploring the installations.

I really loved Li Hongbo’s extraordinary Ocean of Flowers; a wondrous landscape of multi-coloured honeycomb paper sculptures that upon closer inspection actually folded down into revolvers, arms and bullets. And Phillip Beesley’s incredible Hylozic Series was well worth the half-hour wait, with a delicate and interactive forest of fibre-optic lights that responded to movement and touch. I hate to say it but it reminded me of the fantastical world of Avatar. But don’t let that put you off: it was truly incredible!

And predictably I rather enjoyed Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s Museum of Copulatory Organs, which is entirely dedicated to the genitalia of insects. And it was FANTASTIC; imagine delicate ceramic and resin sculptures of the most extraordinarily complex penises. Who knew the penis of the bean weevil was the “spikiest in the world”? Apparently, it’s not size that matters. It’s shape.

We also headed back to Quay restaurant for our seven-year anniversary and feasted on Peter Gilmore’s seven-layer chocolate cake and jersey cream with “ethereal sheets”. Amazing.

And if you fancy the awesome vintage Mr Men toddler pants, they’re by My Poppet Shop for My Messy Room.

What have you been up to? And if you’re on Instagram, find me @WeeBirdy. 

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July 13, 2012

Five awesome ways to celebrate Bastille Day in Sydney

It’s Bastille Day tomorrow and Sydney is celebrating, so grab a baguette, beret, and any other French cliche you can muster and get your French on. Breton top optional.

1. Have breakfast at Le Petit Creme in Darlinghurst
Get the day off to a Frenchy start at this bijou Darlinghurst cafe. The legendary Eggs Benedict is rich and creamy and is served on toasted brioche with your choice of ham or salmon. And if you like hot chocolate, I heartily recommend that you request ‘le bol’, which, as you can imagine, arrives in a steaming hot bowl. You may need to loosen the top button on your pants as you waddle off down Darlinghurst Road.
Le Petit Creme
118 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tel. 02 9361 4738

2. Head to North Sydney Markets for their Bastille Day celebrations
The monthly markets will be transformed into a proper marche tomorrow, with live French music, French food and French products in addition to the usual line-up of stalls. The organisers are also on the look-out for the “most fashionably dressed French shopper”.
North Sydney Markets
220 Miller Street
North Sydney
(Plenty of parking in Ridge Street car park)
Tel. 9922 2299

3. Grab a croissant from Saint Germain Patisserie
Arguably Sydney’s best croissants can be found at this wee patch of Paris in Redfern. The rich flaky buttery crescents of pastry are baked daily by French baker Gwenael “Gwen” Lecampion. Or you could always go for a pains au chocolat. Oh god, I really need to stop writing about French pastries right now.
Saint Germain Patisserie
88 Rosehill Street
(corner Gibbons Street)
Redfern NSW 2016
Tel. 02 9319 7161

4. Buy a French charm bracelet
If you’re after the gorgeous French friendship bracelets by La Môme Bijou that I featured on Wee Birdy yesterday, you can find them in Sydney at Mr Rose in Paddington. However, I’ve been informed that there are only two pieces left, so run, don’t walk. Mr Rose also stocks scarves by luxe Parisian label Jean-Jacques Rogers, as well as tights and stockings by Cervin Paris and Polder jewellery. Otherwise, head to Tiny Bird in Avalon for the range of necklaces and bracelets by French label Inspirations by La Girafe. Prices start at AU$39.
Mr Rose
31 Norfolk Street (corner of Gurner Street)
Paddington NSW 2021
T: 02 9368 1423

Tiny Bird
Shop 9, 20 Avalon Parade
Avalon NSW 2107
Tel. 02 9918 0214

5. Head to dinner at Sel et Poivre
Personally, I can’t go past the incredible Creme Brûlée at this old-school French bistro, but by all means, go ahead and have all three courses. There will be live accordion and “bonne humeur” tomorrow to celebrate Bastille Day. Bookings are essential.
Sel et Poivre
263 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tel. 02 9361 6530

Header image of My Darling Clementine ‘Paris’ cards via Home Girl London.
Bastille Day garland Fine Art Photography print by Magalerie’s Etsy shop.

Are you doing anything to celebrate Bastille Day tomorrow?

Click here to read about my favourite shops in Paris.

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