Bliss! I have just walked in from a hot Sydney afternoon into the perfect setting for relaxing and cooling off. There is a sort of conservatory feel about Abode Bistro décor with white plantation shutters filtering the afternoon sunlight and all white trellises, tables and chairs. The crystal sparkles, the champagne flows and the expectation palpably rises in the room as Peter Kuruvita walks in to tell us about our High Tea.
High Tea Sydney at Abode Bistro
Abode Bistro’s launch of their High Tea has been a well awaited affair for this gathering of tea-experts, food writers and respected food bloggers.
The hype reflects the fact that two cuisine luminaries have teamed up to design a High Tea menu like no other.
Peter Kuruvita, the well-loved Chef, restaurateur, media personality and Dilmah Tea Ambassador has paired up with Chef Ryan Hong who brings with him over 10 years’ experience as a chef.
When the tiered offerings arrive -each little morsel matched to a particular Dilmah tea on the menu- there is a collective holding of breath and an immediate merry mood sets in as we all scrutinise the tiny works of art waiting patiently for the unavoidable picture snapping session that ensues.
And guess what? Not-a-scone-in-sight! And the sandwiches are kept to a token minimum, which is a welcome change.
Instead, there are pots of duck rillettes infused with lime and orange tea teamed with crisp parmesan crostini; Ceylon dusted crab and avocado salad in lettuce cups and slow braised tiny lamb pies infused with rosemary and peppermint teas.
Going up the tiers towards heaven there are petite apple mille feuilles with Chantilly cream; Abode’s Opera slice; cubes of white chocolate and spiced chai fudge; bitter chocolate mousse pots with hazelnut crumbs and just when you thought you reached nirvana a row of inviting lemon, pistachio and almond macaroons demand your attention.
Just I case you hadn’t had enough, glasses of Eton Mess are brought to the tables sprinkled with blueberry and pomegranate jelly.
Chef Ryan Hong
The menu reflects the chefs’ personality to a tee. In his home country of Korea, Chef Ryan Hong mastered the skills of Japanese-style food preparation.
In Australia, he refined his skills in modern cuisine and fine dining by working at Rockpool Bar & Grill -where he was trained as the kitchen’s fishmonger- and later at Black by Ezard, where food is as interesting and inspiring as is the presentation of the dishes themselves.
As a Dilmah Tea Ambassador, Peter Kuruvita has worked for many years with Dilmah developing the concept of tea gastronomy and recipes such as those on the ABODE High Tea menu.
He worked closely with Ryan Hong to craft an exclusive and unique tea-infused menu, with matching teas to accompany each item.
Peter Kuruvita talks to the audience passionately about the charity works linked to Dilmah Teas in their country of origin, Sri Lanka.
Merrill Fernando, founder of Dilmah Teas dedicated his life to tea and a tea that is Single Origin Tea. He stresses that this is a most important factor because traditional tea, made in the ‘orthodox’ style – a production process that starts with handpicking the leaves and continues through withering, rolling, oxidation and firing – follows a technique perfected over centuries.
The alternative is blended teas -a relatively recent method of production that sacrifices all that is special in tea and is what Merrill Fernando describes as a ‘tea without a soul’, the product of a lower cost option of buying tea from wherever is cheap and blending it all together to produce a ‘multi-origin blend’.
Single origin tea is important because one of the most desirable features in tea is the terroir – the terrain in which it is grown and the factor determining the unique, signature taste of the product.
It gives each valley, each region and each country its unique identity in tea.
The teas accompanying each tier of sweet and savoury miniatures at Abode are very attractive and satisfying and they taste even better when you hear Dilmah Teas have a huge charity program helping not only the tea plantation workers but many others as well.
High Tea at Abode Bistro (Park Royal, Darling Harbour, 150 Day St, Darling Harbour NSW, +612 9260 2945) is served Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Cost: $45 per person; $50 with a glass of champagne.
Maria Visconti was a guest of Abode Bistro