Sugar Hits: Intercontinental and Swissotel

Our little crew of dessert lovers pored over the Sugar Hit listings for Good Food Month. The fruit lovers and the chocolate lovers swooned over various descriptions. We decided we’d have to visit more than one establishment.

We started at the Intercontinental Hotel. We walked through their beautiful foyer upstairs to the Cafe Opera. Trying not to be distracted by the buffet we proceeded to the room where the Sugar Hits were being served.

The difficult decision between dessert wine and muscat had to be made. I settled for a pot of Earl Grey tea. I also explained to the waitress that I needed a gluten free alternative to the Sugar Hit and that I had been told over the phone that this would be possible. Over the next few minutes I was given conflicting advice by different waitstaff which was a little frustrating. Luckily someone behind the scenes had the situation under control and eventually a waiter emerged calling ‘gluten free’ and carrying a creme brulee.

The raspberries and strawberries with the creme brulee provided contrast to its creamy sweetness. It was very nice, and I’m sure I would have appreciated it better if I hadn’t had the creative brulees at Toko only days earlier. The tea was excellent, the fragrance of the bergamot oil wafted over the table. It was a very civilised experience. My description of the Sugar Hits is, of course, second hand. The chocolate lovers enjoyed the chestnut timbale best. The pannacotta must have been good because of the lengths everyone went to to scrape the last skerricks out of their square cups. The layer cake was flavoured with honey, which brought very mixed responses. The compote of berries beside it was well received. Overall the Sugar Hit was reported to feel a little mass produced but was still enjoyable.

Our second Sugar Hit was at the Swissotel. The venue was very trendy. Where the Intercontinental felt like a classic civilised dining room the Swissotel felt like a modern bar. The decision between dessert wine and a strawberry mint cognac cocktail was easily made. The cocktail was very pleasant, not too sweet, with the mint to temper the strawberry.

Two waitresses thought creatively about how to make a gluten free Sugar Hit, offering me either something from the menu or a mix gluten free parts of the Sugar Hit with other things. Leaving it to them I was happy to receive Sugar Hit coconut sorbet in a white chocolate cup with fruit salad. It was good to be tasting the same thing as everyone else. The sorbet had a great coconut flavour. The fruit salad was mixed, the more seasonal strawberries and kiwifruit were more flavoursome than the melons which aren’t very sweet at this time of year.

The Sugar Hit itself was beautifully presented with patterns of chocolate and mandarin sauce on the plate. The three treats were chocolate cheesecake, chocolate caramel and pear tart, and coconut sorbet in a white chocolate cup. The favourites were divided between the sorbet and the cheesecake. The pear tart was less popular, with the tastes of alcohol and caramel not melding successfully for most. I had a little taste of the top of the chocolate cheesecake, avoiding the base. It was very rich with a real cream cheese flavour. Everyone was very full after this selection and thought it felt like more of a treat than the selection at Intercontinental.

We were amazed to see a tall trolley with many layers of Sugar Hits ready to go for the night. Our poor waitress had prepared 150 during the day! I hope our enjoyment makes up for her hard work.

These desserts are part of the Good Food Month event Sugar Hit.

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