Sunday, February 9, 2014

Four Friends, Crows Nest

Those who know me well will know that I rarely venture up north because of the distance especially from South West Sydney. Even travelling to Sydney CBD everyday for work and the occasional partying can be tiring. As a few friends tell me, I need to explore further because I'm missing out on loads of delicious eateries such as Ryo's, Via Napoli and the various eats around the Chatswood, Crows Nest and Neutral Bay areas. Recently, I finally made my way further up that way thanks to an invite to try out the High Tea and chocolate at Four Friends at Crows Nest. As a die-hard fan of Lindt and Zumbo, this little boutique cafe really blew my mind away.

The cafe was owned as a family business by the delightful Katze and Jimmy. It was created for the couple's love, passion and happiness of sweets, chocolate and desserts. Katze recently overcome a life-threatening auto-immune illness, scleroderma, which had initially led her to close her cafe in Artarmon. She then opened Four Friends with she aimed to deliver sweets, chocolate and desserts with lots of happiness and healthiness. It's personal stories like that which make you realise that you can overcome and be stronger even when times are tough. The name "Four Friends" actually came from a Buddhist philosophy about four different animals who learn to work, co-operate and respect each other with mutual harmony. I'm sure everyone can relate that in everyday life with group work at work and uni. 

Unlike many cafes where you get a hipster, twentysomething atmosphere that can be pretentious at times, Four Friends is clearly a family friendly vibe with Katze and Jimmy's children and friends playing around as we eat. Great place to chill out and relax on a weekend.

This high tea was not like your standard high tea of cakes and sandwiches. Each month, Four Friends introduce an International High Tea session with a different culture or theme. This month there was an East-Asian twist to commemorate Chinese New Year with two bamboo steamer baskets consisting of savoury and sweet treats. There were traditional savoury and sweet treats that many of us recognise when eating at our own family banquets. My personal favourite were the rice cake and a cup of what appeared to be noodles but was actually strings of tofu skin. Perfect for vegetarians and vegans! Also loved the sweets which included the celebration truffle (aka the secret flavour truffle) and various traditional Asian sweets. 

The Anticipation...

The Savoury Tier - L-R: Vegetarian Dumpling, Tofu Noodles, Rice Cake, Fried Cheese Won Ton Pastry

The Sweet Tier - L-R: Sweet Jelly, Pan-fried coconut soft cake, Celebration truffle (containing tea), Sesame Ball 

There was even a few surprises in store for us during our high tea. While we were eating, we've noticed Katze and Jimmy making jasmine ice cream using dry ice. It felt like we were either at a Heston cooking session or waiting at N2 Extreme Gelato when the dry ice smoke emanated across the table. As weird as that sounds, it actually tasted sensational with a creamy yet popping candy-like texture that delivers a load of excitement to your taste buds. 

Dry Ice Jasmine Ice Cream

There are more than 40 different selections of teas from around the world to choose from so this will definitely please any tea lovers.

Rose tea (can't recall the exact name. Sorry)

Cherry Lips Green Tea

If you prefer coffee over tea then Four Friends offers various roasted coffee beans also sourced from different parts of the world including the local Pablo and Rusty's. 

However one of Four Friends' main pride is their generous and incredibly scrumptious range of organic and fair trade chocolate sourced from Belgium. By organic, this means that Four Friends do not use any artificial sweeteners and colouring. Made into many different shapes and sizes and firmly coated to hold the ganache, each chocolate piece looked so cute and they are deliciously sweet to eat including a caramel robot (which ran out) and the equally popular popping kitty chocolate. Move over Lindt, you've got competition!

The truffles were divine with its smooth ganache in the middle that did not leave a strong after-taste in your mouth afterwards. So far every chocolate piece I've tried has been incredible that it saddens me when I finish each piece so far. Everything at Four Friends was made from scratch using seasonal ingredients so expect something different at your next visit.

Assorted chocolate ($2/piece)

Chocolate Truffles: Clockwise L-R: Dark 70% Coco, Celebration, Hazelnut, Saffron, Rose

Clockwise L-R: Dinner Mint, Rocher, Vanilla, Salty Caramel

Popping Kitty! 

Inside of the Celebration Truffle (has a green tea-like taste)

If you are keen for desserts, there is a decent range of macarons and cakes to enjoy as well as a special dessert platter to share between two people. Personally I'm a huge sucker for mini- macarons. The flavours are more unique than your usual salted caramel, pistachio and the like, possibly similar to the ones you get at Zumbo or Cafe Cre Asion. Macaron flavours at Four friends include lime yuzu, nougat apricot, chocolate mandarin poppy raspberry and white chocolate lemon to name a few.

Assorted Macarons ($2.50/piece, $10 - Box of 4, $15 - Box of 7) 

Macaron Tower

Chocolate Indulgence Lava Cake

From Katze's personal story to the mouthwatering food and drinks they deliver, you know that she really cares about this business so much. And despite the challenges you face, you got to appreciate every moment of your life because you never know what may happen next. It also shows that sometimes even the smallest businesses make the most remarkable discoveries. From this experience and exploring the surrounding Crows Nest area has made me appreciated boutique businesses on a greater scale. Will certainly be coming back here to try the dessert platter (looks soooo good!), tea and coffee before or even after my eventual ramen session at Ryo's on the weekend very soon.   

FYI: International high tea at Four Friends is $45 for 2 persons and made to share. This includes a pot of tea and is only available at the beginning of each month. Each month there is a new cultural theme. 

So tell me readers: Which food culture do you want Four Friends to try for high tea next month? 

(Personally I would go for Spanish because that mean more pintxos hehe ;))

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie attended the Four Friends High Tea as a guest of Four Friends and Polkadot PR. Opinions remain personal.

Four Friends
5/29 Holtermann Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065
0415 068 881
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 5:00pm
Sat: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Four Friends on Urbanspoon


  1. Definitely spoilt for choice with the selection of teas here! And what a generous spread!

  2. Ah, I remember how yummy the jasmine icecream was

  3. I like the sound of the Celebration truffle! Was suppose to visit them weeks ago. Looks like I will have to plan a visit soon.

  4. WOW this looks fabulous! I am a high tea addict and Crows Nest isn't too far from me. Would LOVE to try different cultural themes of it! Thanks for a great post, would love to visit :D:D:D

  5. The high tea is great value! It's usually that price for one person or thereabouts.

  6. Katze and Jimmy are such a lovely couple!!
    but omg that ice cream!!! OMG OMG OMG!! :D :D
    sounds amazing!

    - Cassie

  7. How cool is the eastern Asian high tea! Love the creativity. That popping Kitty, so cute!

  8. What a different and wonderful high tea.