My quick trip to Sydney started with an early morning flight after a tea and toast breakfast in the Qantas Club.
Due to weather conditions, the landing was a bit bumpy but we arrived ahead of schedule and as I only had a carry-on bag, I was quickly through the terminal and onto a train into the city.
The airport train cops a lot of flak, mainly in regards to price, and seeing that it is a regular commuter train and if I had been travelling the same distance between any other stations it would be a lot cheaper, I see the issue.
However, for a solo traveller, just over $30 return isn’t that bad, taking into consideration how much the same trip would be in a taxi. And you avoid traffic.
I alighted at Circular Quay and it was a short, but steep walk to my hotel for the night, the Shangri-La (review to follow).
It was too early for check-in but I was able to freshen up and change outfits in the gym locker rooms on the second floor, and leave my bag with the porters for safe keeping.
I hung out in the always busy lobby and people watched and checked emails (free wifi in the lobby and in all rooms – high five to the Shangri-La) until my friend arrived to pick me up.
SuzieQ was my best friend at uni and we hadn’t seen each other for a few years, and this was also the first time I had met her gorgeous daughter A.
Our destination was The Victorian Room in Darlinghurst, where we were booked for high tea.
It was a wet day in Sydney and the waiting patrons were all huddled under the awning to escape the weather. The Victorian Room opens at 12, and you would think they could have let us in the door to wait in the foyer as it got a bit crowded outside.
We were eventually allowed upstairs and led to our table. I LOVED the decor, very British Colonial, but it was very dark, so my photos are sh*t.
Our high tea arrived quickly.
The bottom tier was sandwiches, with the following fillings: chicken and wild herbs; cucumber creme fraiche and dill; smoked salmon with rocket, lemon and capers; and watercress, celery, walnuts and goats cheese. The chicken was the pick for me.
Date and plain scones were served with organic strawberry jame and chantilly cream. Funnily enough, I liked the date ones better, I usually prefer my scones to be plain.
The top level, consisted of a dark chocolate cup with chocolate mousse, cream and fresh raspberries; classic baked lemon cheesecake, a seasonal fruit short crust tartlet, and red velvet cupcake topped with creamed cheese icing.
I had a Turkish Apple infusion as my tea choice and SuzieQ had Earl Grey. Both were served in teapots and were topped up with hot water later in the sitting.
The staff were lovely and happy to provide juice, milk and colouring in paraphernalia for little A.
After high tea and catching up, SuzieQ dropped me back at the Shangri-la, where my room was ready. As much as I loved the room, I didn’t want to spend too much time in it, so after making a booking at the Renee Coppin hair salon for later in the afternoon, I wandered down to the Museum of Contemporary Art on George street.
I had a good wander around the free exhibitions before heading back to the hotel for my pedicure. It was very relaxing having my feet pampered while sipping on a glass of bubbles or two.
It was then time to get ready for dinner at Restaurant Arras (review to follow).
The next moring I was awake way too early, so enjoyed a cup of jasmine tea in bed before hitting the pool for a few laps.
I, like a lot of other bloggers and foodies, have a cookbook addiction, and one of my favourite authors is Bill Granger. I had already been to Bill’s in Woollahra, so thought that this trip I would go to the Surry Hills branch for breakfast. I caught a cab to Crown street and put my name down on the waiting list. The party of three in front of me were told it would be a 15 minute wait. For me, a party of one, it was less than five minutes. I was seated at one of two high tables tucked in to the left of the door, giving a good view of the whole restaurant.
I knew what I wanted, so quickly had an orange juice and my breakfast of scrambled eggs with bacon in front of me.
Unfortunately, it was very disappointing. The eggs had no flavour, and at first I thought the bread wasn’t toasted. It was, but was placed toasted side down, and all the butter had dripped into a puddle on the plate. And the bacon was dripping with fat, it seemed there had been no attempt to drain it. I had so enjoyed my hotcakes at the Woollahra Bill’s, but this was a total let down. It makes me doubt whether I would visit any Bill’s ever again.
Despite the bad food, I thought the staff were doing a great job seeing how busy they were. The hostess was greeting everyone with such genuine warmth and friendliness, and she was happy for people to order take-away coffee to sip on while they waited for a table. And while they were not using the outside tables due to the rain, she told everyone they were more than happy to sit at them to wait.
After breakfast I hopped in another cab and heade dover to The Star (formerly know as Star City). I wasn’t interested in the pokies, I wanted to have a look at all the new food places that have gone into the swanky foodcourt.
While waiting for the Zumbo Patissier to open at 11am, I went for a wander and played with the touch screen menu at Black by Ezard.
And had a sticky beak at their kitchen.
The DinTai Fung Dumpling Bar chefs were already pumping out the dumplings.
See the chairs and tables below? At first I thought they were connected with a restaurant, but no, these are for those patrons who have ordered take-away food and need somewhere to sit and eat.
The next photo isn’t very good, but I had to include it to try and show you how much butter this poor bloke had to chop up, there was slabs of it.
The dessert train is next to the shop, and opens at 12pm on Sundays, so I did not see it in action.
The shop part of Zumbo’s is quite small, and most people line up at the counter to buy packs of macarons, or Zumbarons as they are called. I joined in the fun.
From left to right, the flavours I got were salted popcorn, smartie, choc-mint, lamington, salted caramel and choc-pop. The smartie and choc-pop were my favorites.
And I was walking back to the hotel, I spotted this!
I walked back to the hotel via Darling Harbour.
I collected my bag and headed down to the Circular Quay train station, where I took in one last view of Sydney’s magnificent harbour.
The train ride was easy and I was soon checked-in and seated in the Qantas Club with a glass of bubbles and a sandwich for lunch.