I’d been to bottomless brunch at the Shangri la a few years ago with my friend Liza and it was spectacular. A buffet with bottomless gin and tequila cocktails designed by the Anna Polyviou team. The food, drinks and service were exceptional. So when I heard they were doing bottomless again at Altitude on level 36 I was super excited! Sign me up.
My friend Alice tried to organise a group outing but a couple of weeks before Alice told us she hadn’t booked and needed to change the date. That didn’t work for me so I contacted the Shangri La via Instagram to see if they could accommodate 4 people on the date we had originally planned. They directed me to the reservations team via email and finally we were confirmed. 4 of us were heading to Altitude for bottomless brunch.
I was surprised when I received an email the week before from the reservations team. If I wanted to confirm my booking I would need to pay in full, please see link attached. I asked if I could get a link for people to pay individually with no response. In the end the girls transferred the money into my account and I paid the $370.80 up front myself which included a 1.5% credit card surcharge.
I love my friend Ben who has been to many of my brunches but he had been super busy with work that week and had not been paying attention to his texts or social media. Even though we had scheduled this brunch months before Ben had a conflict and couldn’t attend. Long story short I ran around like a crazy person trying to find a +1 last minute and on the actual day Ben told me he could attend after all, what a relief!
It was extremely hot so I checked out uber and ola prices to get to the hotel. It seemed like everyone was doing the same thing and the surge pricing were insane so I headed to Central and jumped on a train. It was also incredibly windy and I was blown up the hill from Circular Quay to the Shangri La. Sweaty and wind swept I headed inside and took the elevator up the level 36.
I was was shown to my table where Aishlinn awaited me. As always she was super stylish in a long vintage purple and white dress with phenomenal earrings. As we chatted I considered contacting Kat and Ben but moments later they wandered through the door also looking super glamorous.
All of us were incredibly thirsty (obviously because of the heat!) I don’t know about you dear Reader but this week had been super stressful for me at work and I was ready for a beverage! Our gorgeous waiter Joris bought us some Prosecco and offered us a choice of either Bellinis or Mimosas and we all went for the Bellini option.
The deal was simple. A “bountiful buffet” which included a selection of seafood including Sydney Rock Oysters, poached prawns and smoked salmon. I’m not a massive fan of oysters but even to my untrained eye they were incredibly small about the size of a 20 cent piece, some were even smaller. My friends were really looking forward to the oysters, needless to say they did not go back for seconds. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a good photograph of them. The prawns were pre shelled which is something I prefer but they were a bit soft and not all that tasty, however seafood sauce can make anything taste better. The smoked salmon was delicious, moist and tender and it was definitely a bit hit with all of us.
There were also some delicious smoked meats – prosciutto, smoked ham and mortadella which paired beautifully with the soft blue, cheddar and ricotta cheeses. All of which created the perfect sandwiches that I made myself on flaky mini croissants. There was also mini quiches, assorted salads, olives and cornichons.
We all also got a choice of mains which were incredible. Ben and Aishlinn ordered the blue swimmer crab omelette with ox heart tomato and avocado. Aishlinn said she thought it might be the best omelette she’d ever had! Kat decided to order the smoked salmon, with labneh, chat potatoes and orange. It looked delicious but Kat had already had so much food she could hardly finish it. I didn’t taste anyone else’s but the beef benedict was spectacular. Served on a light piece of toasted brioche with a poached egg, potato brandade, rare beef and hollandaise sauce. Everything that came out of the kitchen was fantastic.
The thing that really disappointed me was the dessert buffet. When I walked onto level 36 I could see that Blu had a High Tea buffet with a huge variety of cakes and desserts. The description that appeared on the website for our bottomless brunch dessert was and I quote:
On The Buffet, Choice Of
Anna’s Sweet Garden
Lolli-pops, Macarons, Chocolates, Banana Bread, Caramel Slice and Fresh Seasonal Fruits
After what I’d seen at previous dessert buffets with Anna’s name attached I expected It to be super artistic. Maybe the buffet would look like a garden? There would probably be some of her signature caramel corn or fairy floss incorporated and it would definitely look and taste sensational. What we got looked more like an after thought than a dessert buffet. The yogurt, fruit and muesli was delicious but that’s not really a desert as far as I was concerned. There were no lollipops, caramel slice or chocolates in sight. When I mentioned to maître d that I expected something a bit more exciting from an Anna Polyviou dessert buffet and asked if this was all there was he looked down his nose at me and explained “she doesn’t make everything.” Ok 😳
There were mini chocolate croissants (these were actually on the savoury side of the buffet) banana bread, raspberry and pistachio macaroons. There was also an almond cake, apple puff pastries, mini chocolate stuffed donuts, orange and poppy seed cakes and some sort of ball full of liquid that we couldn’t agree on but it was either caramel or passionfruit (I’m sure it was caramel!)
Of course you’re not just paying for the food at the Shangri la and the view from level 36 is breathtaking! If I had an international guest in town I would definitely head up to Blu for a drink or high tea and the dessert bar in the lobby is great for a special Anna Polyviou treat.
Last drinks were called. Seriously it was 3.15pm! Apparently we were not meant to be served a drink after that time as 15 minutes is how long it should take for you to consume your last drink. They should say their bottomless is 1 and 3/4 hours which would be more accurate. By 3.40pm they were clearing the buffet away, even pulling electricals cords off the wall as we watched. It would have been nice if they’d waited a few more moments until we’d left to do that.
As we went out seperate ways we reflected on how much more we expected given the price and the venue. Kat and Ben went one way and Aishlinn and I accidentally headed towards Opera Bar. But that my friends is another story…
Here’s to the ladies who brunch, everybody laugh!
📍 where – 176 Cumberland St Sydney
🥂🍑🍊Bottomless – mimosas or bellinis included or an $55 for Veuve Cliquot NV 🍾 with coffee ☕️ and tea
💵 how much – $95 in advance + BF. 15% surcharge on Sundays and 10% surcharge for groups of 8 or more
🍳🥐🥑🥦🍆🍩🍤 food – Buffet and dessert with a choice of 1 main.
⌚️ how long – 2 hours (1.75 for drinks) or 3 hours on Sunday
💳 payment – 100% in advance with 1.5% surcharge
🗓 Saturday 11 – 1pm and 1.30 – 3.30pm and Sunday 11.30 – 2.30pm