As a foodie, you can imagine I read a lot of restaurant reviews. Not necessarily with the intention of visiting, but also just to read about the food trends going around, the state of service nowadays, what is hot and what is not. And now and again I’ll pop by a review of a place I’ve previously been to, just to see whether the experience that the other person had was different to mine.
And sometimes I go ‘What?!’
I voiced this this morning when I was reading up on Urbanspoon about Cafe Madeleine in Leura, a place that my friend Blondie visited mid-last week as she’s head over heels for their gluten-free chilli hot chocolate after I referred her there. I was horrified to see all the negative reviews on Eatability and Urbanspoon. While I can’t speak for the normal sandwiches (which most of the reviews seem to be on), they make, without a doubt, the best high tea I’ve ever had in my life.
Digging through my photos, I found the ones of my visit earlier this year in January where I had visited the Blue Mountains with The Sister over a long weekend and we had made our obligatory stop by Cafe Madeleine for high tea. The photos are still as beautiful as ever. A belated B.B (Before Blog) post it is!
Cafe Madeleine was previously known as Cafe Josophan’s, as it was attached to the Josophan’s chocolate shop a few years back along the Leura Mall strip. Since last year, they’ve since separated, with Josophan’s Chocolate shop moving up the road towards Silk‘s but the old establishment expanded and re-named Cafe Madeleine. We went in for lunch, and managed to find a seat without too much trouble at about 1.30pm.
What an appropriate quote for the top of the menu! I couldn’t agree more :D
From memory, the high tea is actually reasonably priced at approximately $50 for the two of us. The wait takes a while for them to prepare the tiers, but we had our tea and coffee orders in the meantime: a lemon myrtle tea for The Sister, and a small mocha for myself (tea and coffee per person is included in the high tea). The coffee part was all right, nothing spectacular, but the molten chocolate in it was oh-em-gee worthy.
And when the high tea stand came out?
Well, as tradition dictates, you always start high tea with the bottom tier. And I must say, I’m most in love with their high tea open sandwiches, as it makes a welcome change from cucumber sandwiches, which you all know I curl my lip up at.
Smoked salmon with capers and gherkins, fresh roma tomato slices seasoned with pepper and served with basil pesto and a soft white cheese, thickly cut leg ham with tomato chutney and swiss cheese, roma tomato with rocket, swiss cheese and a gloriously sticky balsamic reduction, and other combinations that I can’t remember. No two of the sandwiches are the same, so there was a fair bit of negotiating between the two of us! The one criticism that I will make is that it is devilishly difficult to eat these all lady-like with knife and fork. The bread is thick and chewy in the most wonderful way, but very difficult to slice into smaller, bite-size pieces! I do wish I could toss table manners out of the window at times like these.
Time for the second tier!
The scones used to be bigger, but I’m not complaining too much. They’re studded with dark choc chips and dried cranberries, served warm (a little cold by the time we finished our sandwiches) with King Island whipped cream and raspberry jam. Simply glorious. I’ll have to replicate these scones at home one day <3
And last, but not least, the epic finale…DESSERT.
A selection of chocolates from the Josophan’s store, with two chocolate tartlets (one lavender-infused I think, one with pistachio) and a gloriously rich chocolate mousse. I’m glad the mousse was in such a small shot glass as it was almost borderline too-sweet. We had great fun guessing the types of chocolates before biting into them, and then once the plate was finished, mowing up the dark chocolate shavings on the plate as discreetly as we could. What a shame it would have been, otherwise!
Well, that was high tea. We left wonderfully full and went on a long afternoon bushwalk to digest. I should probably mention that the morning before we left the Blue Mountains we also had breakfast here. Breakfast service was a lot quieter, and I ordered my usual hazelnut latte before we began to peruse the menu. About ten minutes later, the waitress came out and very apologetically said that they had run out of hazelnut syrup. A substitute? Caramel syrup, then? I suggested. She agreed and went back in, only to come back out and say they were out of caramel syrup too. On a Sunday morning, really? She offered Irish cream or vanilla instead and I opted for a vanilla latte in the end.
Not the most perfect coffee I’ve ever had (I’m an avid fan of Encasa Deli in the Sydney CBD, always will be), but passable. Sister and I decided to get two open sandwiches and share, the smoked salmon and the Eggs Florentine.
The smoked salmon came out with a wonderfully buttery slice of toast, generous heap of rocket and scatter of capers, the poached egg resting neatly on top of the whole stack.
And what a poached egg! POKE.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! The Eggs Florentine was very nice too, another slice of buttery toast with fresh rocket, perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs, with fragrant (because there’s no other way to describe the unique aroma of Parmesan) Parmesan shavings and the wonderful perfume of white truffle oil.
It was actually after this sandwich that the Sister and I truly fell in love with white truffle oil (not even Charlie & Co’s Truffle & Parmesan chips had had this effect on me), and once we returned to Sydney, we bought a bottle of white truffle oil as soon as we spied it at the local markets.
Well, there you have it, folks! As a loyal customer of Cafe Madeleine every time I drop by the Blue Mountains, I felt obligated to give it a good review to balance out all the negative ones online and to flaunt my delicious photos. And for the record, no, I’m not being paid/persuaded/given a free meal to do this! There are some other wonderful foodie places around the Mountains, that I won’t deny, but give the high tea at this place a go! :)
Oh and before I forget…
You didn’t really think I’d go home empty-handed, did you? ;)
Catch you all later, honeys xx
187a The Mall, Leura NSW 2780
(02) 4784 3833