Well, actually I came here to work. The thing is I’ve been meaning to mention this new cafe on Belvedere Rd in Claremont for a while, & my ‘work brain’ needs a break.
Launched by a friend of mine & his team, I’ve been watching the workings behind this new venture via Twitter. Anticipating something classy serving good coffee, I made my first visit a few days after Friends opened its doors this July.
I knew the venue from when it was under different ownership & thought they may have been a bit ambitious in their undertakings; it had always seemed quite cold before, & bland. Not inviting cafe material really. They saw what I could not. A cozy room with couches & light jazz in the background. Bell jars atop delicious eats & giant canisters of herbal teas tempted me, but their ‘Friends Blend’ of fair trade coffee beans won the toss.
Down the road from Starlings & near a Woolies Cafe (Belvedere Square), one would think that competition could be too stiff in this area, but that doesn’t seem to have deterred this team. They seem to be holding their own so far; more affordable than Starlings (much as I love that place!), with great breakfast & coffee specials, & their ambiance is streaks ahead of Woolies.
I’ve brought a few friends here & its close enough to home to provide a good change of scenery for me. (That loyalty card offering me a free cup of my choice in not to long probably helps too.) From a big mug of Latte to a pot Earl Grey, I haven’t been less than pleased with my order, & don’t expect to be. Noteworthy baked goods are the carrot cake & the scones, and those chocolate drenched cake hearts can’t be anything but decadent.
This visit I’m drinking Japanese Cherry Blossom & Jasmine Green Tea. Not usually a green tea drinker, its quite refreshing though my sweet tooth was grateful for the honey served with tea. My mind wanders to where those Cherry Blossoms come from & I wonder if Japan will ever be on my ‘places I’ve been list’. I find it intriguing from a far & know it will be vastly different from what I know, which always appeals to me.
The song in the background has a Country lilt, & I wander to the other side of the world & think of the USA. It is near the top of my ‘go to soon’ list. I’d love to hire a car & drive across that vast continent, which may sound cliché but is so for a reason. Often we assume that The West is The West I think, & imagine that visiting Japan would be far more of a culture shock than the USA, but I’m not so sure. I spent some time in Canada a few years ago & it certainly felt far from home – wonderful as it was.
Back at Friends there’s a fresh batch of chocolate tarts & lemon pies; Celine (who is part of the team that run the cafe) is French, & her influence and the patisserie skills in this place do her heritage justice. While there are a few other patrons who have piqued my interest, & could do with being documented, I must bid you adieu. I did after all come here to work.
*All pics in this post my own – thanks trusty BlackBerry.
Friends Cafe, 44 Belvedere Road, Claremont. More info here, Friends Cafe & Events & @friends_cafe for updates on what’s just come out the oven 🙂 ‘Friends’ is also available to hire for evening functions.