Sydney Food Blogger

Four Friends – Take me to Asian High Tea

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Sydney’s fascination with Chinese New Year eateries are becoming far more wacky and interesting . I honestly don’t know think that’s a bad thing, given that my taste buds HEART to try new flavours and my eyes like to capture that moment of “love at first sight“. Indeed to celebrate the Lunar New YearFour Friends have sourced many chocolate recipes from all over the place and have come up with introducing something delightful and different. High tea with Katze, the owner of Four Friends Cafe in Crows Nest decides to take a leap in faith to try out something that they have not partaken in before, their Monthly Multicultural High Tea. A family business that illustrates the definition of courage, hope, love and happiness is kind of a BIG contributor to creating this cafe. With respect to this Spring Festival, Katze takes the opportunity to design Asian fusion flavours to the table. I have to admit, I didn’t know what would be installed for us, but I knew it would be beyond original. She did however state “Bring a plate of Asian food and tell me why you picked it…”. Unfortunately on my end I failed to bring a dish as I didn’t want to upset peoples stomachs. Teehee. 

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Asian themed high tea 

Let’s see up close what Katze and Jimmy whips up…

Our bamboo steamers arrive with dry ice flaring at the bottom to look dangerously cool. For what it’s worth, that’s pretty rare and impressive for presentation wise. Brownie points for dry ice magic. As we take the top lid off, I hear a bit of ” WOOOOO and AHHS”, I believe this is a positive sign that Katze and Jimmy has done an excellent job challenging their minds to make such complex delights to satisfy our tummies. This Asian fusion collaboration has got me crooking one pinkie finger and sipping fine sparkling tea. It is not your typical high tea, that’s for sure. Rather it is delicately made with meaning behind it. Almost each sweet section represents some sort of luck or happiness.

The sweet tier includes:

Deep fried sesame ball that instantly disappeared with traces of sesame seeds around the table. The glutinous rice ball is heavily coated with sesame seed, it’s not the usual food that one would eat for high tea, but it’s ASIAN THEME.
Dry ice Jasmine Ice Cream to be continued…I highly suggest you keep reading…
Oolong tea ganache truffle gets it right with my taste buds. I love how the oolong flavour ganache and milk chocolate melt together in my mouth. I can tell Katze putted a lot of oolong tea leaves into this chocolate because I could smell the aroma of oolong before it reached my nose.
Pan fried coconut soft cake tastes delicately sweet and intense coconut flavours. I quite enjoy the soft sticky gooey texture with equal amounts of crisp.
Pan fried brown sugar soft cake are similar to the coconut soft cake but this one is more traditional and is far more sweeter.
Sweet olive jelly I’d say is the ultimate traditional dessert. It contains organic sweet Osmanthus flower tea, sweet olive and goji berries. Though many may not fancy this jelly cup as much as I did because of it’s interesting unique flavours of sweet and sour blended together, but the inflated goji berries are quite a treat. Especially when it’s drenched in osmanthus tea.

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Sweet Tier

It was very generous of Katze and Jimmy spending their New Year’s Eve preparing our tea party. I secretly enjoyed the Deep fried cheese wonton not because it represents red pocket, but it was VERY crunchy and wrapped with melted cheese. The cheese overpowered the spring roll wraps, but I liked it like that.

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Deep fried cheese wonton

I managed to take a quite snap of the dry ice before it got covered in smoke. Just closely look how quick it freezes the silver bowl. Dry ice can be fun and can create tasty results.

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Dry Ice

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Add H2O + dry ice and you get magical steam flowing out.

Roses tend to be always perfect for every occasion, including afternoon tea. So the Egyptian rose tea is inspiringly aromatic with medium flavour of roses with a hint of fizziness to create a refreshingly experience. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen on the market-fragrant. A very enjoyable tropical fruit and deeply feminine drink that I really wanted to ask the other guests if anyone didn’t want their cup of tea then I’ll take one for the team. Haha.

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Sparkling Egyptian rose tea

Frozen carbon dioxide makes quite an interesting substance to use for science experiments and don’t forget observation. But did you know dry ice can make really good ICE-CREAM?

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Let’s bring science to the table.

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Can you believe Jimmy’s whipping up ice-cream for us using dry ice?!

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Jimmy and Katze creating a potentially dangerous delicious ice-cream. 

Whilst we engage on eating Jimmy and Katze decides to deconstruct their kitchen and bring appliances upstairs but also a large white foam box and contain it was dry ice. It didn’t take long till we pause nibbling on our treats and move closer to them and observe with our eyes wide open and our mouths gasping every few seconds as the dry ice smokes out of the bowl and onto the table. All of the guests including myself were thrilled and excited to see what they were making. I mean thick pink gloves, a box of dry ice and a silver mixture. Nuff said. Finally, Katze starts scooping chunks of Jasmine ice-cream onto the empty plastic cups that was provided in our sweet tier. At first we looked like guinea pigs sniffing the cups and doing little teaspoons with our spoons to identify the flavour. Luckily, Amy from Milkteaxx managed to guess this one right, otherwise her blog name wouldn’t be still standing here today. ONLY KIDDING AMY! 😛

We were quite fascinated to how this Jasmine ice-cream managed to not melt as quick compared to N2 Extreme gelato and the answer was simple, Katze uses cream rather than milk. Though I didn’t ace my chemistry subjects back in high school but you don’t need much koalification to make dry ice ice-cream, do you?… 😛

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Dry ice Jasmine Ice Cream 

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Sweet olive jelly

Wooohooo this Vegan Salad managed to get in my belly twice! This salad isn’t boring and is one heavens of a delicious tasty savory cup worth sharing. It contains spaghetti strings of vegan tofu made from soybeans, chopped cucumber and a hint of sweet and sour dressing. It’s pleasant on the palate for light and fresh taste.

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Vegan salad

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Oolong tea ganache truffle 

It was time to show off some of the guests who brought homemade goodies! And first up Hilda’s homemade pork spring rolls. Look how evenly golden brown these rolls are! Yes, I ate quite a few….just a few….TEE-HEE

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Hilda from The Chronicles of Hilda makes homemade pork spring rolls.

Move over homemade savory because Deepa’s Chocolate Dumplings are in town! I am a HUGE FAN of CHOCOLATE and DUMPLING…Why didn’t I think of this?!

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Deepa from One Small Pot creates Chocolate Dumplings.

Back to homemade savory and Annie brings to the table Vietnamese Spring Rolls, fancy some of that? Or ALL OF THAT? Yes, I do, I do!

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Annie from The Random Foodie wraps up a traditional homemade Vietnamese spring rolls.

No wait, there is one more guest who brings something sweet and it’s Stephanie. A mix of seaweed, sweet potato and coconut milk. It’s a simple Chinese dessert that can be served either hot or cold.

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Stephanie from A Little Bit of Tang brings Sweet potato soup from home.

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Rare to see an Egyptian rose in a cup. Fingers crossed Four Friends can put this in their beverage menu. 

We were near towards the end of our high tea and Katze prepared a special lucky dip. She told us to all write our names down on a piece of paper and she will collect it then draw a lucky name out and that person can claim their prize. I remember telling Amy to write my name because I didn’t have a pen, guess that’s a sign of bad luck but who would of guessed my dear friend Amy gave me luck and I managed to receive 50% Group Dining. Hip Hip HOORAY! Guess who will I be bringing ? :p

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Before we left, we all ended up downstairs staring  at the clear glass and on the other side it was filled with handmade chocolates that Katze makes for Four Friends. No way was I going to skip chocolate, just NO WAY!

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Four Friends chocolate box

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A selection of Four Friends chocolates. Chocolates range from ($2 – $2.50(cat, robot, spoon, teddy lollipop) ) per piece.

Four Friends also offers a selection of tea leaves to take home for ($8) a jar and guess who decided to take THREE home? 2 x Berry fairy and 1 x Celebration. Tea leaves are CALLING.

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Berry fairy fruit infusion tea jar ($8) 

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Celebration infusion tea jar ($8) (Please note: Celebration tea leaves are not for sale, however if you nicely ask Katze, I am sure she wouldn’t mind. Don’t tell her I you! :P)

If you are keen for high tea and love something different then Four Friends is the place to be. There is a range of delicious handmade chocolate to decent macarons but if you’re after Asian high tea then you better get here quick! Because next month is a new country theme. Did I forget to mention the price… well it’s $45 for TWO PEOPLE including a cup of tea each. That’s ridiculously a bargain for all of that! And you get dry ice jasmine ice-cream. Hello…what are you waiting for?! GO GO GO

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Four Friends High Tea (To celebrate February is Asian theme. Guess what country Four Friends is doing for March?) 😀

My previous visit at Four Friends can be found here or here. You can visit Four Friends Facebook or Instagram.

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended High Tea courtesy of Four Friends Cafe  (opportunity provided by polkadotPR). Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Buns & Balls – A Cheeky Burger Buzz

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Just before summer ends, I paid a visit to a Sydney’s sassy suburb, Kings Cross for a twist in burgers and nibbles at Buns & Balls – HAHA I LOVE THE NAME, it uniquely stands out. It is the trendiest bar with a bit of hip, graffiti walls and an outdoor mini green grass field. You better pay a visit on Friday and Saturday night since there’s DJ’s playing music all night.

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First up, Fresh Watermelon and Vodka ($9) make a great ADULTS ONLY summer cocktail. Made with watermelon juice with a splash of vodka comes well together refreshingly. It’s a perfect drink for someone who really likes watermelon.

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Fresh Watermelon and Vodka ($9)

MOTHER OF CHICKS! When the Spicy Louisiana Wings ($1 each) arrived along with Blue Cheese Sauce, we immediately dived our long arms into the small snack box. It turns out, these tiny wings are chilli S-P-I-C-Y with a lot of flavours. I got zapped on the first bite, but you can control the heat of these wings by covering it up with their deliciously addictive blue cheeeeeeese sauce. What you see is just one third of what we ordered, we kept begging for more of them WINGS and CHEESE! They are DANGEROUSLY ADDICTIVE, so I suggest you get your 3, 6 or 9 pack and don’t share. Otherwise you’ll be crying!

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Spicy Louisiana Wings ($1 each)

I was interested to how the Fish Meat Balls ($9) would be served up. Larger in size, made from barramundi, chopped parsley and rolled around in breadcrumbs, these croquettes are positively an eye catcher. Straight out of the fryer these balls will sure cause a few OOOOHHH and AHHHH sounds because of fresh fishy fragrance that appears. A tasty nibbly that provides flakey fish filling and a crispy texture with every pieces of breadcrumb attached. To enhance the flavours, bury those fried dumpling into a pool of BB’s Tartare sauce.

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Fish Meat Balls ($9)

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Inward shot of the Fish Meat Balls .

The not so sexy looking Braised Chilli-BBQ Beef Burger ($14) appeared to look at us like err…this, BUTTTTT don’t be fooled, perhaps it disguised itself with juicy tender BBQ beef stripes, a slice of melted cheddar cheese ooze slowly out of the burger, grilled onions, chunky coleslaw and wait for it…CHILLI, just so people like me won’t pinch it off. DAME…SO GOOD!

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Braised Chilli-BBQ Beef Burger ($14)

Good grief there is no burger as delicious as Tempura Fish Burger ($12) -Made from scratch with fresh barramundi battered in tempura style, dressed in lettuce, cheese and BB’s dill and lime tartare sauce. Seriously MOUTH-WATERING with thick succulent fish fillets that are surrounded by a thin golden layer of crunchy juicy batter. The bun itself been warmed up by the hot heat of the fillets make a good burger partner.

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Tempura Fish Burger ($12)

There’s no need for fancy fries when you have Handcut & Twice Cooked Fries ($8), TWICE COOKED?! That’s just like saying I double dipped! But apparently the secret method of good chips is to fry them twice at two different temperatures. Each hot golden potato chip is lengthways long and is extra crispy. Put little pats of leftover Blue Cheese Sauce and you’ve gone to FRIES PARADAISE.

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Handcut & Twice Cooked Fries ($8)

YES, PLEASE to the Ice Cream Sandwich ($6) with two choc chip cookies sandwiching a layer of vanilla ice-cream and it comes with warm melted Belgian chocolate dipping sauce. It’s the simplest dessert that can sure put you in a good mood.

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Ice Cream Sandwich ($6)

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This ice cream is really STRONG that it can stand upwards. HAHA.

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Buns & Balls seating.

Now it’s your turn to taste Buns & Balls! Located minutes away from the Kings Cross Station, so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to CATCH A TRAIN because this suburb has very limited car park spots and you don’t want to end up looking grumpy at the pretty bartenders. Teehee.

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Photos by Vanny Tang

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