Cafe Lakeview

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A lake in Kingsford? Really? Not familiar with this area of Sydney, this supposed lake has me stumped. I Google the location of Cafe Lakeview at Gardens-R-Us to find that the garden centre is perched on the edge of The Lakes Golf Club, one of Australia’s prestigious private golf havens, which incidentally is peppered with lakes. From the deck of the café there is indeed a lake view, but in the distance. Surrounded by so much greenery and pottered plants, it’s hard not to shed the city and the stress that comes with living here. I’m so spoilt for choice that I don’t know whether to sit on the deck and relish the view of the distant lake or sit in the courtyard next to the fountain, among the greenery. This visit comes from a recommendation via The Devonshire Tea Guide’s Facebook page, so I have high hopes for the scones. The cake-like scones are fresh and light, slightly sweet with perhaps a hint of vanilla. The jam on the other hand is below average, tasting sickly sweet and of a low quality. The cream is fresh, but way too light as it’s out of a cream whipping dispenser as opposed to being stiffly whipped by an electric beater. But with good scones that are served in such a lovely environment, I think I can forgive the below par jam and cream.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of tea pouches served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Just what a weary city clicker needs – a double dose of greenery and peace.

Location: Gardens-R-Us, 75 Gardeners Rd, Kingsford NSW 2032 Ph: 02 96624910 www.gardensrus.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2014

Mall Coffee Corner

DT@MCC-Mall Coffee Corner-Warringah Mall

When I stumble upon Mall Coffee Corner or rather MCC in Westfield Warringah Mall, I’m surprised to find scones on the counter. Sprawled out on the ground floor adjacent to The Athletes Foot, the cafe is a convenient stop for shoppers who need to rest their weary feet or are in need of a caffeine hit or energy boost. What you’ll get is a standard Devonshire Tea, with the only stand out being the T2 tea. The scones are also fresh and surprisingly enjoyable, but nothing more than average. There’s not enough jam in the sachets for the ample sized scones and the cream is super light and sweet, straight from the can – sigh. I look forward to the day when suburban malls offer a quality scone, jam and cream spread.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a very small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A popular mall cafe.

Location: Westfield Warringah Mall, 85 Old Pittwater Rd, Brookvale NSW 2100 Ph: 02 9939 1320

Reviewed in December, 2014

Guellen’s Chocolatier and Patisserie

DT@Guellen's Patisserie-Dee Why

Before I visit Guellen’s Chocolatier and Patisserie I call to make sure they serve scones. I even go one step further and ask how they are served. Confirming that they come with jam and cream gives me the green light to drop by. The small chocolatier/patisserie/café is just off busy Old Pittwater road and although I am with a local friend of my mine, she doesn’t know it. The cafe doesn’t feel decidedly chocolate or cake inclined, with only a small choice of cakes, a box or two of chocolates on the counter and some bags of chocolate covered treats on offer. After a thorough scan of the cakes, I can’t find the sultana scones I had earlier asked about, but they tell me they have them out in the kitchen. When the spread arrives, it’s minus the cream with a few sachets of butter added to the Kraft jam. Thinking they may have forgotten, I ask about the cream. It seems that the husband and wife team aren’t on the same page about their scones so I’m offered thickened or aerosol can whipped cream. If only the wife could whip me up the thickened cream and all would be a lot better! After all of that, the sultana scone is okay, with lots of juicy fruit though out. Because I’ve waited for the cream, the edge of one of the scones becomes rock hard. Happy with the Tea Drop tea, but maybe you might want to try one of their chocolate-based drinks.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of Tea Drop pouches served on the side of a pot of hot water.

Price: $$

Overall: An uber  friendly cafe that’s best for chocolate things.

Location: 1 Pacific Pde, Dee Why NSW 2099 Ph: 02 9971 1881

Reviewed in December, 2014

Burnt Orange

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Since my last visit to Burnt Orange four years ago, the only big change I notice is the recent replacement of the downstairs gift shop with a function room/wedding venue. Shopaholics need not hang their heads though as there is still plenty of shopping to be had upstairs, with at least three rooms of the former Mosman Golf Club’s clubhouse jammed with giftware, clothes, tea ware, Christmas trinkets and a whole room reserved for children’s goodies. The sandstone structure is sensational and is nestled in bushland up the road from Mosman on the picturesque Middle Head. Scones are a firm fixture on the menu with a choice of plain, date, wholemeal and mixed berry. It’s a tough choice so I ask the maitre d’, who recommends the date scone. He also reminds me that they are served at room temperature and since this is the case, I am glad to be here in the morning, as I recall on my last visit the scone being dryish by the afternoon. The single large scone arrives accompanied with relatively thick Chantilly cream and the delicious Burnt Orange housemade raspberry or mixed berry jam. At first the scone seems tough but once I start pulling it apart it’s loaded with dates and spice, and if you are more partial to the light and fluffy scone, you may be disappointed. However, considering the scones have been on the menu for at least four years, I don’t think Mosmanites are bothered one bit!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A variety of loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: An exquisite setting coupled with everything the modern scone loving person needs.

Location: 1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9969 1020 www.burntorange.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2014

Bon Bon Fine Chocolate Cafe

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The Strand Arcade, branching off from Pitt Street Mall, is currently decorated to the hilt in Christmas finery. It’s a sight to behold if you love Christmas cheer and all that jazz. On the corner of the arcade and looking out to the mall is Bon Bon Fine Chocolate shop that’s also doing a roaring trade in the lead up to Christmas. To escape the December mayhem, head downstairs to the basement cafe where you can occasionally feel the rumble of trains. The Bon Bon theme extends down to the cafe where lots of tempting sweets will satisfy those with a sweet tooth. I love the little touches that are reminiscent of the old coffee shops of Europe. On the afternoon tea menu, you’ll find the Cream Tea, which includes two scones, jam, clotted cream and a choice of hot drink. There are two types of scones available on my visit so I opt for one of each; an ‘original’ or plain and an orange. The plain scone is almost perfect; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and the orange one follows suit but is too sweet for me. I am impressed with the freshness of the scones as it’s the end of the day. The berry jam is tasty, although a bit syrupy, but I’m not sure about the clotted cream. To me, it doesn’t taste like clotted cream, although it surely looks like it. It doesn’t have that butter like texture that is normally associated with clotted cream, but who knows? A bit more jam and cream would have been appreciated and I’m sure the super friendly staff would top up my serving if I ask.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream:

Tea: A handful of loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A cavernous cafe hidden under of mound of fine chocolates – what’s better than that?

Location: Bon Bon Fine Chocolate, Shop 33, The Strand Arcade, Pitt Street Mall/412-414 George St,
Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9232 2992 www.bonbon.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2014

Sanctuary Cafe and Restaurant

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I’m not sure what Flower Power Warriewood is like on the weekends, but during the week the crowds are non-existent and it’s a pleasure to potter around the plants and homewares, and to pick up herbs for the garden. Since the closure of Purple Mint Cafe, which incidentally did the best Devonshire Tea on Sydney’s northern beaches, I’ve been waiting patiently for the new cafe to open. The refurbished space has reopened as Sanctuary Cafe and Restaurant with a facelift and a new menu and some Italian products for sale. Unfortunately, this Devonshire Tea doesn’t come anywhere near the previous cafes offering. The scones are, I think wholemeal date, and are dry, heavy and sweet, and to me not particularly appetising. The Made in Italy Le Conserve de la Nonna jams are a treat, and I find myself tossing up between the fig and the quince jams. The cream is thankfully fresh but a tad too light and the portions are quite small considering the size and the texture of the scones (they need a lot of lubrication). Good to see some good quality loose-leaf teas.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream:

Tea: A good selection of Tea Craft loose-leaf teas served in a sufficient sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: It’s a shame they don’t serve the same Devonshire Teas as the former cafe.

Location: Flower Power Garden Centre Warriewood, 22 Macpherson St, Warriewood NSW 2102
Ph: 02 9979 2557 www.sanctuarycafe.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2014

The Tea Cosy

DT@The Tea Cosy

I’ve been to The Tea Cosy in The Rocks many times, and if I weren’t in the habit of sniffing out new places to have scones, I would be visiting a lot more often. This time round, I take a gluten-free friend who is literally gagging for a scone fix to try The Teas Cosy’s gluten-free offering. It is important however to pre-order as there isn’t always a batch of gluten-free in the oven. The place is literally pumping out scones to a full house, and even though there are a couple of parties upstairs, we nab the last table for two downstairs. There are four flavours today including one savoury. I go with a currant and an apple crumble scone, which are not long out of the oven; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. There are nine flavours of Hanks jam to choose from and have the blood plum, which is rich and fruity and goes perfectly with the fresh scones and double thick cream. My gluten-free buddy is lost for words, but manages a “the best scones I’ve ever had.” So as a gluten gal, I suppose she means that they don’t taste like cardboard and are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside – just like mine but gluten-free. Nestled in beside the popular Mercantile Hotel in The Rocks, The Tea Cosy spills out onto the footpath and a blackboard sign announces the time when the last batch of scones were baked, or if you’re lucky, when they are coming out of the oven. On Thursdays and Fridays they have three flavours with an extra one (usually a savoury) available on weekends. It’s all about the scones and the tea cosies, and depending on how hungry you are, in addition to the Devonshire Tea, they offer a High Tea. As the namesake suggests, the place is littered with tea cosy covered teapots. All tea cosies are for sale, apart from the one on your pot, or you could always ask. Open Thursday to Sunday.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream:

Tea: 19 varieties of loose-leaf teas served in a tea cosy covered pot.

Price: $$

Overall: For tea, tradition and tea cosies – where else is there?

Location: 33 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9247 4955 www.theteacosy.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2014