The Coffee Emporium

DT@The Coffee Emporium - Westfield Burwood#2

No matter how stylish and appealing you try to make a franchise café or restaurant look or sound on their website, if you can’t deliver decent quality goods, even if it is just scones, jam and cream, then how can you expect repeat customers? It’s one of my pet hates of eating in shopping malls – almost every eatery is a franchise. Located on Level One at Westfield Shopping Mall in Burwood, The Coffee Emporium is one of a few choices I find for scones. I’m sorry to say but these are some of the worst scones I have ever had. Dry and basically stale, they arrive cut in half and spruced up with a sprinkle of icing sugar. The half of scone I manage to eat leaves a bad taste in my mouth, which is often associated with scones that are baked to sit for days on end in a cake cabinet and taste like it’s made from a packet mix. The jam is average and the sweet faux cream is from a can. The whole lot tastes sickly sweet and synthetic. If you insist on giving them a try yourself, other Coffee Emporium franchises are located in Westfield and other shopping malls in Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: The usual variety of teas. Listed on the menu as plunger tea, but when it arrives it is actually loose-leaf tea in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A typical franchise serving up a lousy Devonshire Tea.

Location: Level 1 Westfield Burwood, 100 Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134 Ph: 02 8084 0946
www.thecoffeeemporium.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Cowtown Diner & Burger Bar

DT@Cowtown Diner, Margaret River#2

It’s raining the day I visit Cowtown and I don’t have an umbrella. A real shame as there are black and white fibreglass cows all over the place. There’s even a gold one on top of a pole in the park that looks as though it’s about to do a spectacular swan dive into an imaginary pool. This is Cowaramup, more commonly known as Cowtown, and boy don’t the locals play on its cow-theme. In 2012 the town installed 42 of these life size cow sculptures to attract tourists and in July 2014 the town set a Guinness World Record for the largest group of people – 1,352 – dressed as cows! I visit the first café I see advertising scones, and it’s Cowtown Diner & Burger Bar’s ‘Devonshire Tea for 1 or 2′, that grabs me. I love the black and white polka dot cup and saucer that instantly reminds me of a Friesian cow, how apt. The scone is a bit crumbly, but surprisingly good for a burger bar, and the lovely thick cream makes up for the average jam.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: The usual variety of teas available at cafes, all loose-leaf served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A surprisingly good spread in a quirky town that deserves a visit for the ‘fun’ factor.

Location: 1/64 Bussell Hwy, Cowaramup WA 6284 Ph: 08 9755 9270

Reviewed March, 2015

 

 

The Nookery Cafe

DT@The Nookery Cafe, Margaret River#

There are more wineries in the Margaret River Region then you’ll have time to poke a stick at, and a few with restaurants and cafes. If you can tear yourself away from the pristine beaches that look more tropical and spectacular than most I have seen in south-east Asia (and I have seen probably 75 per cent of them), then you are in for a treat with some mouth-watering menus and amazing wines. Short on time, I scour Trip Advisor and find a review on the scones at The Nookery Cafe at Woody Nook Wines, a slightly out-of-the-way and unknown to me winery. The review describes large scones but nothing could prepare me for how big they actually are. Scones on steroids is how I would describe them, and large is not always best because they are far too large for morning or afternoon tea, even if you are sharing. To me, the scones have a strange flavour that I can’t put my finger on – maybe it’s the icing sugar on top. The cream is sweet and light, and the fresh strawberry is a nice touch. I’m not a fan of chunky preserved fruit in a bit of sweet syrup masquerading as jam. It’s like eating a fruit sandwich, and I stopped eating those when I left primary school (think banana sandwiches). Wineries are often associated with inflated prices and gourmet food but it’s a bit ridiculous. Not only are the two scones accompanied with only enough jam and cream for half of one, but also the price is a bit high. The tea is a run-of-the-mill Twining tea bag and I have to actually go up and order my meal at the bar. With prices like this it’s absurd! ‘It is WA after all’ comes to mind yet again!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: The usual variety of teas found at most cafes. Twining tea bags served in a pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: An intimate winery experience.

Location: Woody Nook Wines, 506 Metricup Rd, Wilyabrup WA 6280 Ph: 08 9755 7030
www.woodynook.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Emu Point Cafe

DT@Emu Point Cafe#2

It’s a shame there aren’t more cafes in the south-western corner of Australia like Emu Point Cafe. I notice a definite deficit in venues with world-class water views and a decent menu (note non kiosk style of food). After the breakfast rush is over I have a choice of outdoor tables with sublime views over Oyster Harbour and the neck of water that separates it from King George Sound. The menu is varied with some interesting seafood dishes (local seafood at that) and I wish I were around for lunch. At first sight I am impressed with the Devonshire Tea. This is my sixth in a few days on the west coast, and so far the best. The blackberry jam is exquisite and the double cream a blessing with the combination of both really adding flavour to scones that are a bit tasteless. The staff is friendly and the buzz reminds be of a beachside café in Sydney.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A prime position overlooking Oyster Harbour.

Location: 1 Mermaid Ave, Emu Point, Albany WA 6330 Ph: 08 9844 7207 www.emupointcafe.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Deckchair Gourmet Cafe & Deli

DT@Deck Chair Gourmet Cafe & Deli-Augusta

Driving in, I like Augusta immediately. It feels ‘southern’, like a fishing village teetering on the edge of the earth, and I guess the unseasonal fog doesn’t help the vibe. Although unseen from the town centre, the Blackwood River that flows down from Margaret River, spills out into the Southern Ocean nearby, so locals and visitors have the best of both worlds: river and ocean. I’m not sure what makes Deck Chair a gourmet café. It smells like a take away shop and looks much more impressive on the outside than the inside. What café closes its kitchen at 1pm on a weekday? Isn’t that the middle of lunch? I also do a double take when my partner pays $19 for a coffee and a pre-made sandwich but my Devonshire Tea is a reasonable $8.50, but that’s with only one scone. The now common catch cry of “its WA after all” is wearing a bit thin. I nab the last scone that punches well above average for taste and texture. The jam is better than most commercial varieties and reminds me of the XL canned jam from my childhood. The cream is freshly whipped and refrigerated to keep its appreciated firmness. The café closes by 3pm, so make it an early afternoon tea.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: The biggest café in a picturesque seaside town.

Location: 50 Blackwood Ave, Augusta WA 6290 Ph: 08 9758 0700

Reviewed March, 2015

Cottage Cafe

DT@Cottage Cafe - Berry Farm, Margaret River#

The Cottage Cafe is part of The Berry Farm’s extensive business plan, which includes 10 hectares of avocado trees, a large orchard, a berry patch, plus a Cellar Door brimming with berry and fruit jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, syrups, dressings and naturally fermented vinegars all produced on the farm. If you want something a little stronger, the Cellar Door has tastings of the Club House Series Ports, sparkling wines, liqueurs, Thornhill Wines and Berry Farm Cider. The nearby cafe is literally in a cottage bookended by a couple of courtyards filled with seating for diners as well as a kiddie’s playground. Indoor seating is available but limited, and there’s enough undercover space if the weather turns. It’s morning tea time and the scones are not long out of the oven, light and fluffy. Today’s jam is strawberry and as far as strawberry jams go, is sensational – rich and fruity. The cream is freshly whipped, and I just wish there was more of it, including the jam, as I love to load up on the toppings! The cafe is definitely on the Margaret River tourist map, so expect crowds on the weekends and in school holidays.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A selection of loose-leaf teas with a few interesting flavours such as raspberry/lime and strawberry/rhubarb served in a pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute garden and something for the whole family to enjoy.

Location: 43 Bessell Rd, Rosa Glen WA 6285 Ph: 08 9757 5054 www.theberryfarm.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

 

 

Whalers Galley Cafe

DT@Whalers Galley Cafe#

Whaling was always big business in Albany, peaking in 1845 before its rapid decline after the discovery of petroleum oil in 1859. After a resurrection of the whaling trade, Cheynes Beach Whaling Company set up camp in 1952 along the pretty coastline of Frenchman’s Bay and hunted Humpback and then Sperm whales until its closure in 1978. By 1980, this former site of slaughter was transformed into an historic Whaling Station and takes its place in history as the last whaling station to operate in Australia. Although it’s a terrible part of our past, I am still fascinated by what went on here. It’s easy to spend half a day wandering around exploring the Norwegian whale chaser, watching a few short films and checking out the old whaling gear. There are lots of stories to read about ships and crew, and the 45-minute tour is a good way to get your bearings. Whether you leave feeling appalled or relieved at how far society has come, you best stop at Whalers Galley Cafe to reflect. Considering the amount of carnage that went in this bay, the serenity is astonishing. The café has a cosy indoor area with floor to ceiling windows to capture as much of the sun as possible, and a large outdoor deck that can be opened right up in warm weather. I order just one scone, which is fluffy with a creamy texture. Unfortunately the scone is let down by the Kraft sachet jam and the ‘too’ light cream. A better quality jam and cream would definitely boost this Devonshire Tea into the amazing stakes. Visit the Botanic Garden and Australian Wildlife sections of Discovery Bay if you have the time or the inclination.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Tea Drop tea pouches served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A view to die for.

Location: Discovery Bay, Whaling Station Rd, Frenchman Bay WA 6330 Ph: 08 9844 4711
www.discoverybay.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015