A stay at home Mum who doesn't stay at home much; too many exciting things to be discovering in this city...
Published February 28th 2012
If you were given the chance to eat as much chocolate as you could possibly force down in one sitting, what would your reaction be? I'm ashamed to say mine was quite predictable; 'Show me the chocolate!'
Four girlfriends and I recently decided it was time to take the bull by it's proverbial horns and head over to the Langham Hotel to indulge in the Aria Bar and Lounge's, Chocolate Bar. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon we thought, and we were not disappointed.
The Aria Bar and Lounge is a very cosy little snug. Its position on the first floor overlooks a grand staircase with water fountains tumbling the length of it, so it's all very atmospheric and guaranteed to make you feel like you're some kind of VIP. The seats are incredibly comfy; I practically fell into a coma once I had consumed my own body weight in sugar.
The Chocolate Bar is open for business every Saturday and Sunday, with a choice of two sittings; 12pm - 2pm or 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Once seated (by the very attentive staff) you can choose from the tea and coffee menu which seemed pretty extensive (although I am not a fan of hot drinks so my expertise in this area are limited). The drinks are included in the buffet price and you can have as many refills as you desire.
Then the first course arrives. Served on a 3 tier platter, this comprises 4 or 5 different types of sandwich, the most amazingly delicious mini quiches I have ever had the pleasure of consuming and a couple of scones apiece with all the usual trimmings. The chicken sandwiches in particular were heavenly and the scones were, 'freakin' awesome' in my sister's humble opinion.
After demolishing the contents of our plates we contemplated the main event - The Chocolate Buffet. It feels appropriate to have a drum-roll at this point because by now we had wound ourselves up to fever pitch. The table in the centre of the room was literally groaning under the weight of confectionery, piled high, beautifully presented and clearly labelled so that you didn't have to refer to things as, 'That chocolatey one over there'. To top off this pile of paradise was a chocolate fountain complete with strawberries, marshmallows and wooden skewers with which to dip into the depths of gastronomic greatness.
Our only hesitation was to ponder which approach we should adopt. Rumour has it that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. So should we cram in as much chocolate as possible as fast as we could before our brains caught up, or should we go for the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race mentality? Tough call.
I think I took 3 trips to the chocolate buffet in the end, trying to sample a little bit of everything (it would have been a sin not to try it all, right?). Most of the treats had rather long and fancy names, but to put it in layman's terms, amongst other things there were; mini chocolate cupcakes, chocolate dipped florentines, delicately flavoured truffles, hazlenut chocolate eclairs, mini chocolate tarts, tiny slices of chocolate mousse cake and warm chocolate pudding. I could go on. Suffice it to say that Willy Wonka would have felt right at home.
The Chocolate Bar costs $69 per person for two hours of sheer indulgence. Pricey, yes, but worth it just for the novelty factor. Do not, I repeat, do not go if you are on a diet. And I highly recommend that elastic or lycra feature heavily in your wardrobe choice for the day. After the deliciousness of the Aria experience I have now made it my mission to try out every afternoon tea in the city. Purely so I can make comparisons ...