D’ough Espresso

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Another scone offering in Sydney’s CBD is D’ough Espresso in The Galleries opposite Sydney’s QVB. Date and plain scones are listed on the breakfast menu but when I turn up mid afternoon there is only one plain scone left. Ordering a tea and scone, I ask how they are served having learned my lesson in ordering scones in city cafes. I ask them not to toast my scone and to ditch the butter and replace it with cream. None of this is a problem and I take a seat. My tea arrives in a mug that is three-quarters full, and after perusing the menu I realise that you can get a pot, but I am not even asked by the cashier. The scone arrives cut in half but luckily not toasted. The cream is from a can and extremely light and the Beerenberg jam is in portion controlled packets.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of T2 tea bag teas served in a mug or teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: It’s not the best CBD option, but if you are short of time.

Location: The Galleries, Lower Ground, 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9265 6888

Reviewed October, 2014

 

Sweet Bite Cafe

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You’ll find Sweet Bite Cafe up the quiet end of Miller Street, a stone’s throw from the corporate hustle and bustle that is the heart of North Sydney. Conveniently located next to North Sydney library and the adjacent park that’s a popular site for regular farmers markets and night-time noodle markets, Sweet Bite Cafe is a cute cafe and worth a stop – even if it is just to marvel at the cherry blossom mural. On sunny days, sit in the small but inviting courtyard out the back or enjoy people watching in the bright and airy front area of the cafe. For a bit more privacy, small groups can nab the middle room that has a bunch of kiddies’ toys and a relaxing wall mural depicting a very large cherry blossom tree in full bloom. There are quite a few sweet treats available, both edible and drinkable, and the scone, jam and tea combo comes in at a very affordable price. The raisin scone is large and fairly sweet, and heated just enough so it’s served fluffy and soft rather than with a dominating stodgy texture. The jam is low quality and tastes sweet and sickly (intensified by the already sweet scones) and the cream is out of a can: overly sweet and super light. Top marks for presentation though as I do love the cute glass jars and teapot and cup.

Scones:  

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of T2 tea bag teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute cafe that’s good for girlie get togethers.

Location: 240 Miller St, North Sydney NSW 2060 Ph: 02 9922 5508

Reviewed September, 2014

Piemonte Cafe Restaurant

DT@Piemonte Cafe#

I’ve hit the jackpot and somehow time my Saturday arrival at Piemonte Cafe Restaurant at the Terrey Hills Flower Market perfectly. During a moment of calm between brunch and lunch I share the covered verandah area with only empty tables still holding evidence that there was indeed a lot of action earlier on. I can see the attraction for families as a large part of the verandah faces a kiddies play area, and I spy some chooks scratching about in a pen. The middle part of the restaurant looks more formal and is closed off from the noise and weather conditions. I guess you could say it’s the restaurant and the outside is the cafe, as it sure feels that way by the vibe. It’s a great idea as I’ve been to so many garden centre cafes and can’t converse because of a combination of bad acoustics and kiddies playgrounds that are basically in the middle of the dining area. The morning and afternoon tea deal: scones with coffee/tea is obviously popular as there’s a large batch of freshly baked scones on the counter. The scones are impressive, slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, but I’m just not a fan of the icing sugar sprinkled on top. It makes the whole shebang too sweet especially when the jam is cheap, sweet and syrupy, as is the case in this instance. The cream is really light and offers nothing to the quality or taste of the Devonshire Tea. There also isn’t enough jam and it gets a black mark for being served in a plastic container, as it makes the experience a little cheap and nasty.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A variety of loose-leaf teas served in a standard-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A pleasant place for a break after shopping for gifts, flowers and plants.

Location: 287 Mona Vale Rd, Terrey Hills NSW 2084 Ph: 02 9486 3677 www.piemonte.com.au

Reviewed September, 2014

Chelsea Tea House

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The ‘closed’ sign is up at the Chelsea Tea House but every table in the place is taken, food is still coming out of the kitchen and it’s not even 2pm. Ignoring the sign, I sniff out the scones that are sitting on the counter, and the chef is happy to plate some up although the place is closing. Most of the seating is in the shady and leafy courtyard out the front, which is what captures your attention if you’re passing by. It screams, ‘I want to eat here’! The scones are unusual, and at first glance look more like scrolls as they are fairly flat and have lots of currants on top and are spiked with cinnamon. I usually like berry compote, however this one is high on the syrup with barely a berry in sight, which makes it really challenging to put on the scone. The cream is freshly whipped and could be a tad thicker but it’s still a pretty good all-rounder. Open Monday to Sunday 7.15am to 2pm, and Friday and Saturday evenings.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: An interesting selection of Tippity organic loose-leaf teas served in a pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely outdoor eatery.

Location: 2/48 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon NSW 2107 Ph: 02 9973 3090

Reviewed September, 2014

Cafe 47

DT@Cafe 47 - Rylstone#

When I first visited Rylstone 10 years ago, it was a sleepy village, and you’d be hard pressed to find any action after 5pm unless you were at one of the  pubs. These days, perhaps with the growing popularity of Mudgee and it’s vineyards, the place is buzzing. I was in this very same cafe munching on scones in 2011 when it was under different management and named the Bizzy Birds cafe. Not only has the name changed to Cafe 47 and the decor more solemn with plastic on top of the white table cloths, to me it doesn’t feel as cosy as it was. Sweets are written up on a white board, including scones if they have them. The cafe is on a sweeping corner, which allows good people watching opportunities, and the spring warmth draws us outside to one of the tables on the footpath. I order one scone, which is quite small and a bit chewy. The Chantilly cream is the highlight and adds something special to an unfortunately (this day), an underwhelming scone.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of teabags served in a plunger pot.

Price: $$

Overall: It feels soulless compared to the chirpy Bizzy Birds.

Location: 71 Louee St, Rylstone NSW 2849 Ph: 02 6379 1189

Reviewed September, 2014


Cafe On Louee

DT@Cafe Louee-Rylstone#2

It takes me a few minutes to find the ‘scones, jam and cream’ on the busy blackboard menu. Spacious and furnished with tables suitable for sharing or for parties larger than two, Cafe on Louee also has tables on the footpath and in the narrow courtyard that are more suitable for twosomes. Like many cafes in this neck of the woods, there is giftware for sale for shopaholics in need of a hit. When my scones land in front of me, a passing posse of women excitedly exclaim “oh scones,” just to reiterate to my reluctant tasting partner how popular they are. Surprisingly I am not asked whether I want a pot or cup of tea (I didn’t realise there was a choice), so my Lipton green tea arrives as a cup of hot water with a tea bag on the side. The scones are quite big, and there could be a bit more raspberry jam, although they have outdone themselves with the quality and quantity of the thickly whipped cream. Breaking the scones in half, I find the top half tastes markedly better than the slightly drier bottom half. The scones are sitting in the fridge, but I think if they were fresh from the oven they would have been hard to beat.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A selection of tea bags that’s either served in a cup or a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Great for groups who like a bit of gift shopping on the side.

Location: 84 Louee Street, Rylstone NSW 2849 Ph: 02 6379 1147

Reviewed September, 2014

Gulgong Sweet Delights

DT@Gulgong Sweet Delights#4

I walked past Gulgong Sweet Delights on a previous visit to Gulgong where I stared forlornly at the ‘Devonshire Tea’ sign in the window. In small print it read ‘on Wednesdays and Weekends’, that was a Friday. So here I am again on a Sunday to try their sweet delights. The place is more shop than cafe, with lots of pewter condiment and salad spoons with gumnuts and koalas on the handles for sale and some second-hand clothing, shoes and books. There are jars of lollies and ice-cream sandwiches, and a few other items alongside the Devonshire Teas available. It’s all quite rustic and we choose a seat in the courtyard to enjoy the spring sunshine. The $6 spread has all the trimmings: butter (if you are that way inclined), rich raspberry jam, clotted cream and a wedge of lemon for the tea in case you don’t take milk. I have to say that I am immensely impressed with the cream. It may not be your British standard clotted cream, but it comes pretty close for us Australians. The only downfall is the scones, which is a real shame. They are stone cold and could do with a blast of heat to soften and bring out their flavour.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A pot of black loose-leaf tea with an extra jug of hot water for topping up.

Price: $$

Overall: Absolutely brilliant, but hopefully the scones are usually better.

Location: 75 Herbet St, Gulgong NSW 2852 Ph: 02 6374 1263

Reviewed September, 2014