There’s a certain charm about a good traditional Christmas – the kind with real Christmas trees, the sound of Christmas carols ringing through the hallways, and the joy of generations coming together to enjoy a table laden with Christmas roasts.
For 136 years, The Windsor has welcomed families for its much-loved Christmas buffet lunch, set in the majestic surrounds of the Grand Ballroom or the classic, colonial-era-esque One Eleven restaurant. In more recent times, the hotel has added a plethora of Christmas culinary delights to its repertoire, from the much-anticipated Christmas Afternoon Tea to its Christmas Eve Degustation Dinner and Christmas puddings – this year in two new flavours.
For the first time, The Windsor has also taken a pioneering step towards environmental sustainability with an edible Christmas bon bon that harks back to the item’s origins in the Victorian era. W: https://www.thehotelwindsor.com.au/en/dining.html
CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON TEA
The Christmas festivities start on the 2nd, when the hotel’s renowned Afternoon Tea takes on a Christmas theme. Executive Pastry Chef Jeremie Parmentier has created a whimsical trio of Christmas patisserie, including a strawberry & strawberry gum éclair; a tropical Christmas cake with passion fruit crémeux, coconut mousse & coconut sponge; and a peanut, caramel & dark chocolate tart with peanut praline & peanut cream. The scones have been filled with a fragrant orange peel, and on the weekends, the French Bûche de Noël or Yule Log can be found on the buffet – a striking chestnut and cassis masterpiece.
From Executive Chef Tom Brockbank comes a series of enticing savoury canapés – a Caesar salad éclair with white anchovies and aged speck; a spanner crab, lemon myrtle & nori tart; and a bao ‘blini’ with a garden herb mousse, pistachio & Yarra Valley caviar. A turkey, cranberry & chestnut ribbon sandwich – an addition to the ribbon sandwiches – adds to the festive spirit.
Christmas Afternoon Tea, Monday 2 December – Monday 29 December
11.30am – 2.00pm (Mondays and Tuesdays) and 11.30am – 4.30pm (Wednesdays to Sundays)
$75 per person on weekdays & $99 per person for a weekend dessert buffet, with French sparkling wine on arrival and a choice from 11 specialty teas or coffee
CHRISTMAS EVE DEGUSTATION DINNER
Executive Chef Tom Brockbank (ex-Estelle by Scott Pickett – Events; O’Connells; and No.8 by John Lawson) joined The Windsor this year, and has drawn on his English heritage and fine dining experience to create a sophisticated Christmas Eve Degustation Dinner. Held in the hotel’s beautiful dining room One Eleven, with its polished timber columns and softly gleaming chandeliers, dinner starts with a house-made rye & pumpkin sourdough with whipped wagyu fat butter. From here, it weaves its way through courses including a Hiramasa kingfish ceviche with blood orange emulsion & Yarra Valley Caviar, and aged Great Ocean Road Duck with smoked hay, witlof marmalade & cherries, finishing with The Windsor’s Christmas pudding with chestnut cream, poached chestnuts & tonka ice cream. Throughout the evening, free flowing wine, beer and beverages are served, with tea, coffee & petit fours to finish. MENU
Christmas Eve Degustation Dinner
One Eleven restaurant
Adults $199 | Children (7 – 12 years) $150 | Children (3 – 6 years) $105
5-course set menu with free flowing wine & beverages
CHRISTMAS BUFFET LUNCH
The most popular event on our Christmas calendar, our buffet lunch is a resplendent feast filled with traditional and modern Christmas favourites. Drawing on his British heritage and paddock-to-plate ethos, Executive Chef Tom Brockbank has created a splendid buffet with the action taking place before guests. There will be canapés, a seafood display with sashimi, smoked and cured fish, prawns and a selection of locally-sourced cured meats to start. For the mains, chefs will be shucking a bountiful supply of appellation oysters and carving dry-aged roast turkey; acorn-fed ham glazed with honey, cardamom & cider; and Sher Wagyu 8* beef ribs with mustard & rosemary.
There will be a selection of Victorian cheeses and then dessert – nodding to the British theme and Executive Pastry Chef Jeremie Parmentier’s French heritage. On the British end, guests can expect classics including Christmas pudding, fruit mince pies, Victoria Sponge cakes, carrot cakes, mango Eton Mess, summer berry trifles and gingerbread men. And, on the French side, there are chestnut & cassis Bûche de Noël, hazelnut choux puffs, stollen, strawberry & lime macarons and bergamot syrup-infused madeleines with lemon cream. The pastry team will also be assembling Australian favourite – the Peach Melba Pavlova – live. Throughout the lunch, free flowing wine, beer and beverages are served. MENU
Christmas Buffet Lunch
One Eleven restaurant & the Grand Ballroom
Adults $359 | Teenagers (13 – 18 years) $275 | Children (4 – 12 years) $195
Buffet with free flowing wine & beverages
EDIBLE CHRISTMAS BON BONS NEW ADDITION
This Christmas, The Windsor has looked towards the past, reimagining the Christmas bon bon of Victorian times and transforming it into an entirely edible delight. We traced the bon bon’s origins back to the Victorian era, where it started off as a confectioner’s item created by London sweet maker, Tom Smith. Smith had visited Paris in 1840, where he came across the French ‘bon bon’ – sugared almonds wrapped in tissue. He brought this concept back to England, later including a love note, a surprise trinket, and the ‘crack’ the present day iteration is known for when it is pulled apart.
Inspired by this history, Executive Pastry Chef Jeremie Parmentier has created an edible bon bon to replace the paper bon bon. The result is the above – a cracker-shaped yuzu tuille filled with passionfruit pâte de fruit and a joke printed on edible rice paper. Cracked open with the simple tap of a spoon, it is our homage to the bon bon – recreating the experience without a single shred of wrapping paper or plastic trinket. The Christmas bon bon will be served to all guests at the Christmas buffet lunch.
*Each Christmas, 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 365,521 kilometres of wrapping paper are consumed (University of Sydney, Environment Institute), and in the UK alone, 154,000,000 pieces of plastic from Christmas bon bons makes its way into the ocean or landfill.
This Christmas, The Windsor is hoping to make a difference by minimising waste going to landfill with the edible bon bon. The hotel is also encouraging all guests booking a Christmas function to consider forgoing their paper bon bon in lieu of a $2 donation towards the Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) – a charity founded by Loren O’Keeffe, whose brother went missing in July 2011. The charity provides much-needed advice and support to families with missing persons, which can be especially hard around Christmas, when families come together. MPAN is the only organisation in Australia that works to create awareness for missing loved ones, and alleviate the practical and emotional burden on families and friends left behind. For more information, visit https://mpan.com.au/.
CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS NEW FLAVOURS
The Windsor’s Christmas pudding has long been a favourite, filled with brandy, rum and Guinness-infused sultanas, raisins, mixed peel and currants, then mixed with almonds, mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. This year, the pastry team has created two limited edition puddings: the first, a whisky, chocolate and orange number with a lovely heat from the whisky and a delicious blend of orange and molten dark chocolate. Newly appointed Head Gluten-Free Pastry Chef, Felix Goodwin (ex Sunda, BKK, Saigon Sally and Donovans) has created a gluten-free version, infused with orange, brandy and black tea, studded with cherries, mixed peel and sultanas, and finished with a hint of native pepper.
The Christmas Puddings go on sale via The Windsor’s online gift shop and within the hotel on 11 November, and are available for delivery within Australia or pick-up at the hotel’s reception.
The Windsor’s Christmas Puddings
Whisky, Chocolate & Orange: $38
Gluten-Free (Cherry, Black Tea & Brandy): $38
GIFT CERTIFICATES – THE WINDSOR AND SUNDA _
The Windsor also offers a range of gift certificates for accommodation and Afternoon Tea that can be purchased through the online gift shop. Gift certificates for dining at Sunda _, the hotel’s multi award-winning modern South East Asian restaurant, can also be purchased through the Sunda _ website. W: https://giftshop.thehotelwindsor.com.au; www.sunda.com.au