My parents and I have a beautiful Saturday mid-afternoon ritual, where we'll all make the time to head out to lunch together. On some days during the week, our schedules differ so extensively that sometimes we go a few days without seeing each other, as one is out of the house before the other, and falls asleep before the other arrives home. I do miss my parents excessively, especially after shacking up out of home and family Saturday's are always very much appreciated. I wrinkled my nose a little when Mum insisted on visiting the Sassy Cookie; it definitely seemed like a very "Mum" place!
She introduced me to the concept of High Tea a few years ago when we were holidaying in Hong Kong. Despite how much I liked taking photos of food even then, it did take place during my pre blogging days and our beautiful, unforgettable High Tea experience at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon went by undocumented. Shame - it was so opulent and delicious that it still remains in my thoughts so vividly today.
When it comes to desserts and high tea, my Mum has sky high standards. We often joke amongst the family that even savoury foods are too sweet for Mum, but she does love a good afternoon tea. Having worked within the food industry and travelled extensively around the globe for the last 25+ years, she definitely has had her fair share of world class food; sweets in particular. She likes nothing artificial and a good cup of tea; really not that much to ask for, but yet so many places get it wrong!
I was a little overwhelmed by the beautiful display case...where do we even start?! The cupcakes especially caught my attention with their bold, bright colours and interesting flavour combinations. I already knew that Chocolate and Beetroot was an unexpected but very complimentary flavour combination, but I couldn't help but pine over how much wonderful potential Pear, Hazelnut and Cinnamon could hold.
There was a considerable wait before any of the food got to our table. I now realised how largely popular and crazy busy this little corner cafe was - especially in the afternoon! Mum lamented about how the wait list of the Sassy Cookie's High Tea had extended on to mid November; considering that our first visit was in the middle of September, it definitely is a considerable waiting time!
Dad got himself something savoury, a Salmon Tart with a little side Salad. Interestingly enough, our table was right next to the counter and our eyes were transfixed on how the staff prepared their food. It was a minimal fuss procedure and we were especially impressed with how the salad fell out of it's ramekin mould perfectly onto the plate after one swift tap. It was clever kitchen prep as a majority of the components had been pre prepared (everything except for our coffees) but with the afternoon orders piling up, our order still took a good 15-20 minutes to reach the table. Taste wise, you can't go wrong with a flavourful smoked salmon filling and crisp, buttery, salty pastry.
Each cupcake is topped with a little fondant accent and there's no doubt that they're pretty. The actual cake is moist and the icing is balanced and not overly sweet. However, the ingredients that are used sound so inviting on paper but don't end up delivering a pop in the mouth. I was waiting for the freshness of the pear and a subtle hint of cinnamon to come through, but the flavours were unable to carry this past just being a good cupcake. I felt the same with the Lemon, Ricotta and Raspberry too - I was just waiting for big flavours to punch through, but they never did. However, Mum definitely is a fan; it isn't overbearingly sweet like most cupcakes and she appreciates the subtlety and how pretty they are, especially considering that the texture of the cake itself is great.
The coffee was unfortunately very negligible - I should have followed suit and got a pot of Tea to share with Mum. Dad and I had a little bonding sulk over his large glassed, weak Latte and my poorly executed Long Mac. I gave up after a few sips and Dad decided to add the remainder of my coffee into the remainder of his coffee for a laugh. It ended up balancing out the strength of the latte but I learnt my lesson - I'll definitely be sticking with the tea next time.
What stole the show for me was hands down, the Lemon Curd Tart. The shell had been drizzled with chocolate and filled with zingy lemon curd - the punch that I was searching for in the cupcakes had manifested itself in the tart! I love lemon desserts and this just managed to deliver on all aspects. The pastry was crisp and crumbled at the touch; like the Smoked Salmon tart, it had an enjoyable hint of saltiness that complimented the sour lemon curd filling. This would be pastry that I would come back for! (And no doubt, I did)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUM!
Yes, because it is so rare for my Mum to rave about a dessert place, a week later - I took it upon myself to find her birthday present here. She loves the homely, Old English style decor and how nearly every corner of the cafe features a tea pot/tea cup display. I was dead set on getting her birthday present here and thankfully, after a good 15 minute browse, I found this adorable pink tea mug that was just perfect! I presented it to her topped with a new Peach Passion Cupcake, with every hope that she'd enjoy it as much as her first visit! (I love you Mum, Happy 50th Birthday with many more to come)
More recently, I decided to drop by with the housemates, as well as M, to introduce them to the Lemon Curd Tart. One of our numbers were flying in from Singapore that day and as a chocolate cake fan, we decided to celebrate his return with some takeaway afternoon treats.
The Vanilla Slice was unfortunately a let down; it was a little soggy and heavy, there was also definitely more custard than an actual vanilla taste coming through. The chocolate beetroot cupcake, like the previous cupcakes missed the mark on flavour. The cakes are so beautifully made but it is such a shame that you don't actually taste the complexity of the flavour combinations. Chocolate cake fanatic housemate concurred saying that it looked deceivingly rich, but just didn't taste so. As expected - every scrap and crumb of the Lemon Curd Tart was unapologetically licked off the cutting board...if all else may be inconsistent, let it be so! I'm too chuffed with the Lemon Curd Tart and can envision many more future cheeky takeaways ahead!