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L’Espresso – Goodwood Park Hotel

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L’Espresso at Goodwood Park Hotel has been touted as the choice destination for English Afternoon Tea. The buffet spread looked pretty decent, a wide range of desserts, finger food, pastries and cakes were offered. In addition, each individual gets a choice of 2 drinks – a wide range of English teas, coffees and iced drinks.

Blueberry, Raisin and Plain Scones served with Butter, Raspberry Jam and Whipped Cream

Blueberry, Raisin and Plain Scones served with Butter, Raspberry Jam and Whipped Cream

Being scone lovers, the scones were the first items we went for. Scones are a must-have for English afternoon tea! There were 3 flavours offered – Blueberry, Raisins and Plain scones. The glazed surface of the scones added a little sweetness to the scone. Texture wise, the scones weren’t very dense; they were more fluffy and resembled that of bread, but with the typical taste of scones. Our favourite scone has got to be the Raisins Scones, however we felt that the chef could have been a little more generous with the amount of raisins and blueberries. The taste of blueberry was very mild as well.

Some of the savoury stuff offered at the buffet included the Potato Croquette, Prawn and Yam Spring Roll, Pork and Beef Meatballs with BBQ Sauce, Crab Mushroom & Bacon Panini and Smoked Mozzarella Tomato & Pesto Panini. There was nothing fantastic about these few items. We mistakenly took the Pork and Beef Meatballs, without realizing that it contained beef. Something to improve on would be to explicitly label the individual dishes to avoid confusion and ensure the diners are able to correctly identify the food items.

Hot Smoked Salmon Croissant; Slow-cooked Chicken with Crepe; Foie Gras Terrine with Cranberry; Edamamme Hummus with Tomato Olive Salsa in Tartlet; Parma Ham with Melon; Butterfly Prawn in Vol-Au-Vent; Smoked Eel with Pickle Cucumber & Caviar; Smoked Chicken with Apple & Apricot in Crispy Shell

Hot Smoked Salmon Croissant; Slow-cooked Chicken with Crepe; Foie Gras Terrine with Cranberry; Edamamme Hummus with Tomato Olive Salsa in Tartlet; Parma Ham with Melon; Butterfly Prawn in Vol-Au-Vent; Smoked Eel with Pickle Cucumber & Caviar; Smoked Chicken with Apple & Apricot in Crispy Shell

The various finger food looked really exquisite and interesting. The croissant was rather tough and cold; it felt like it was left in the open for extended periods of time. The foie gras looked and tasted like luncheon meat or pate. Our favourites included the Butterfly Prawn in Vol-Au-Vent, the Smoked Chicken with Apple & Apricot in Crispy Shell and the Slow-cooked Chicken with Crepe. The buttery crust of the Butterfly Prawn in Vol-Au-Vent was crispy and fragrant – a nice compliment to the savoury prawn. The Smoked Chicken with Apple & Apricot in Crispy Shell was a revamped kueh pie tee, with the fillings replaced with juicy sweet sour apple and apricot. The Slow-cooked Chicken with Crepe tasted very healthy and did not add on to our guilt in indulging in a buffet.  An unique thing about the Edamamme Hummus is that it deviates from the conventional British hummus made typically from chickpea or beetroot; rather, it was a more fusion with Japanese or Asian fare.

Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate; Cheesecake; Apricot Tart

Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate; Cheesecake; Apricot Tart

The cakes offered at L’Espresso were a little disappointing. Cheesecake – no doubt it had a strong cheese flavour, it wasn’t dense and sticky enough. The base was also a disappointing spongy layer which would be better if it was a crunchy digestive-biscuit layer. The Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate had a very rich crunchy ferrero rocher layer and an extremely soft layer of chocolate mousse. It would be better if the mousse was a bit harder and more fudgy. We felt that the cakes were left in the open for too long without any refrigeration and that probably degraded the overall texture, resulting in both cakes being on the soft side. We liked the juicy sweet apricots embedded within the egg tart-like curd of the Apricot Tart.

Chocolate Brownie; Mango Soup with Pomelo; Cassis Slice; Floating Island; Coffee Eclair; Hazelnut Praline; Chocolate & Coffee Mousse in Cup, Assorted Fruit Tartlet

Chocolate Brownie; Mango Soup with Pomelo; Cassis Slice; Floating Island; Coffee Eclair; Hazelnut Praline; Chocolate & Coffee Mousse in Cup, Assorted Fruit Tartlet

Mini Desserts Galore! Perhaps the Mango Soup was left in the open for too long, it was rather warm and did not taste well. The Coffee Eclair was filled with a rather large amount of coffee cream, not as bare as the eclairs we normally have at other buffets. The Chocolate and Coffee Mousse in Cup was pretty novel and unique. However, the strong bitterness from the coffee completely overshadowed the taste of chocolate. The Chocolate Brownie was filled with walnuts and pretty dense on the outside. The Cassis Slice and Hazelnut Praline weren’t exactly mind-blowing. They were just average sponge-mousse layered cakes.

Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce and Raspberry Compote; Vanilla Creme Brulee

Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce and Raspberry Compote; Vanilla Creme Brulee

The Bread and Butter Pudding had a generous serving of raisins! That was the best part of the pudding. Somehow, though it was labelled as “raspberry compote”, we felt that they looked and tasted more like raisins. The Vanilla Creme Brulee was pretty good too. It was served on a rather shallow dish hence the proportion of charred caramel was comparable to the custard itself.

Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream

Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream

There were 2 flavours of ice cream from Häagen-Dazs. One was conventional Chocolate which tasted like Milo; the other was something akin to Raspberry Swirl with chunks of digestive-like biscuits within the ice cream. L’Espresso should probably display their ice cream under proper refrigeration. The ice cream that we took were stored in metal tins and turned out very soft and melted. It was a waste of Häagen-Dazs ice cream!

Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Cucumber; Ham with Sauteed Mushrooms; Ham with Cheddar Cheese

Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Cucumber; Ham with Sauteed Mushrooms; Ham with Cheddar Cheese

We left the sandwiches to nearly the end of the buffet as we didn’t want to fill our tummies up with carbohydrates. There were other sandwiches including Tuna Mayonnaise, Egg & Truffle Cream, Roast Beef with Gherkin, Smoked Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions, Turkey Ham with Dried Pear. Perhaps L’Espresso could consider making smaller slices or even open face sandwiches. The presentation of the sandwiches were pretty mediocre and hence not all that appetizing. Tastewise, it is just as it looked. One should forgo these sandwiches for the other more interesting afternoon tea items.

Cheese Board

Cheese Board

For cheese lovers, there’s also a cheese board with 5 different kinds of cheeses!

Tea and Coffee!

Tea and Coffee!

We tried 2 different teas – Rosehips with Hibiscus Flowers (Fruit Infusion Series) and the Sencha (Green Tea Series). The Rosehips was very rich in flavour. It was on the sour fruity side and was rather refreshing, definitely a drink that simulates your appetite for afternoon tea. The Sencha, on the other hand, was more mild and bland. In fact, it tasted like any other green tea we have around. We also had the Caffe Chocolate which was chocolate sauce, regular coffee topped with whipped cream. Honestly, we did not detect any chocolate taste, all we tasted was the rich bitter black coffee.

The English Afternoon Tea at L’Espresso was priced at $42 per pax. For a meatless, carbohydrates and sugar loaded meal, it was on the expensive side. However, this is definitely a good place to while away an idle afternoon, catch up with friends as well as indulge in sweet treats in a comfortable and relaxing ambience. Service was commendable too.

L’Espresso
Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road

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Written by foodphd

June 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

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