King Henry’s Court

DT@KIng Hebry Court Cafe-Penrith

It’s all happening at King Henry’s Court. Operating out of an original church dating back to the 1860’s, the café/restaurant/function space/gift shop is a hive of entrepreneurial activity. Today, there are no Hen’s, Birthday or Anniversary Parties happening, but there’s a steady stream of locals heading through the front door for lunch. On the left hand side upon first entering the historic church, there’s a section devoted to inexpensive trinkets and giftware. Actually, it’s hard to know where the gift shop ends and the restaurant begins. Trinkets hang from and cover every available surface throughout the building – or are they part of the decorations? I don’t linger long enough (I’m on my way to the restrooms) to find out – my loitering might upset the full house of diners. It’s officially one of the last few days of winter and I pull up a chair in the front courtyard, leaving the majority of the diners to their trinkets, and soak up the sun. The scones are a bit dry and don’t taste particularly fresh even though it’s just pushing noon. The strawberry jam is average – super sweet – and although the whipped cream could be thicker, is the standout for me. The service is outstanding. I watch super friendly and efficient staff effortlessly assist elderly patrons and mothers with prams, especially as they tackle the front steps.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream:

Tea: A basic range of Dilmah tea bags served in a very small Japanese iron teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A popular and centrally located local hangout.

Location: 74 Henry St, Penrith NSW 2750 Ph: 02 4721 1155 www.kinghenryscourt.com.au

Reviewed August, 2015

Miss Nellies Cafe

DT@Miss Nellie's Cafe-Kendall

South of Port Macquarie and a short diversion from the Pacific Highway, you’ll find mid north coast hospitality and a pretty place to chill in historic Kendall at Miss Nellie’s Cafe. After a quick look around town, it isn’t too big; settle in at the cafe for some chill time. Depending on the weather there are three seating options; out the front under the awning, in a semi open side annex attached to the side of the main building, and inside, the heart of all the action. On the menu are both half and full serves so you can order according to your appetite. The plain scones are just like you would expect from your nanna; soft and fluffy – all melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The homemade strawberry jam is a bit runny, and because I am sitting in a lounge chair and not at a table, I manage to drip some down the front of me. The cream is fresh and whipped but needs to hit the fridge for a bit. When you can finally tear yourself away from the serenity, check out the local goodies that they have for sale.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream:

Tea: A small range of World Par-TEA loose-leaf teas served in a smallish pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute café in a quiet heritage town.

Location: 33 River St, Kendall NSW 2439 Ph: 02 6559 0085 www.missnelliescafe.com.au

Reviewed August, 2015

Abundance Cafe

DT@Abundance Cafe & Garden Centre#2

Although only a ten or so minutes drive from downtown Port Macquarie, the Abundance Lifestyle and Garden feels a world away. Essentially a garden centre with a restaurant/café overlooking a duck filled lake, I’m not sure how much plant perusing is going on. After a few minutes lakeside, it’s seriously difficult to tear yourself away from the chilled ambience. Whatever daytime meal you are after, the drawcard is definitely the splendid surrounds. Since I’m dining alone and on a scone bender, I go for the half serve, i.e. one scone rather than two. Heading down the traditional pathway, I order the plain, although the date scone looks tempting. The plain impresses with its creamy fluffiness, and the jam, although nothing flash, is thick and firm and has substance to it. I am seeing a theme in this region in regards to the cream. Yet another café serving cream from a whipped cream dispenser with a fancy nozzle, chilled and firm. Nice one!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: The sublime lake view is worth an extended visit.

Location: Abundance Lifestyle and Garden, 274 Rawdon Island Rd, Sancrox NSW 2446
Ph: 02 6586 0030 www.abundance.net.au

Reviewed August, 2015

Curley’s Cafe

DT@Curley's Cafe-Wauchope#

By the sounds of the tooting from the steam train somewhere in the bush across the road, Timbertown is still open for business. In this fickle world it’s nice to know that simple entertainment is still thriving. Curly’s Cafe resides in a shack that looks like it belongs in Timbertown. It’s cabin-like cosiness on the inside, contrasts with the space available to spread your wings in the back courtyard or in the front garden. While in the queue to place my order, I have time to dither over which Tea Drop tea to have. There are plain and date scones, which are big and wholesome (read – dense), so just get the one, unless you are starving hungry. Unfortunately there’s not enough of the housemade jam (too runny), which is more syrup than a spread. I actually wince when I see a ginormous cream piping bag; obviously filled with whipped cream, go into the fridge. In my confusion I mix it up with a whipped cream siphon, which spits out cotton wool soft cream (not my most favourite), but instead I get a pretty bowl of thick and firm whipped cream, heaven – sigh. The highlight is the range of Melbourne outfit, Tea Drop teas (one of my favourite brands). The lowlight is that the high quality tea bag is dunked in a shallow coffee cup of hot water, sacrilegious. An additional pot of hot water is an extra dollar on top of the $3.60 cup of tea – eek!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A more than most extensive range of Tea Drop silk tea bags served, ahem, in a small coffee cup (no tea-pot).

Price: $$

Overall: A cosy ‘shack vibe’ that’s handy for a visit to Timbertown.

Location: Shop 5/245 Oxley Hwy (opposite Timbertown), Wauchope NSW 2446 Ph: 02 6585 2505

Reviewed August, 2015

Purnos On The Beach

DT@Flynns Beach-Port Mac#

Port Macquarie is blessed with a spectacular coastline and enough stunning beaches interspersed between rocky headlands to keep visitors and locals enthralled for an entire visit or a lifetime! Flynn’s Beach, which is just a few scenic kilometres south of the centre of town, is easily accessible by car (down the hill), by the stairs, or along the coastal path. The beach is divine, and we see dolphins frollicking out past the breakers. You can’t miss Purnos On The Beach as it’s right on the walkway, which splits the kiosk servery from the dining annexe. The first thing I notice about the café, apart from its ocean dipping proximity, is the ‘we don’t serve hot chips’ sign. The owner certainly has a sense of humour, because ‘hot chips’ are what you’d expect from a beach kiosk in a coastal NSW town. After that sign, I shouldn’t be surprised when I spot the scones on the menu. It’s kind of a contradiction though. They don’t serve hot chips, but serve the tea in a takeaway cup even though I am sitting down to scones on a proper plate. The jam and cream also comes in plastic containers, which feels a tad on the ‘cheap’ side. It is a beach-like kiosk after all, so why should I complain as I sit at a picnic bench in the sun (one of two near the café)? The scones are slightly sweet, which could be due to the dusting of icing sugar, but are freshly baked this morning. The jam is cheap and syrupy sweet and the cream super light, adding to the already sweet spread. But a Devonshire Tea with a beachside view? You just can’t beat that!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A very ordinary choice of tea bags served in a small or large take-away cup.

Price: $$

Overall: An amazing location just metres from the sand.

Location: Tuppenny Rd, Flynns Beach, Port Macquarie NSW 2444 Ph: 0402 072753

Reviewed August, 2015

Rainforest Cafe

DT@Rainforest Cafe-Port Mac#

Along the coast, south of Port Macquarie’s Town Beach and along the coastal walk, Sea Acres National Park is a pocket of rainforest easily accessible to visitors. Featuring the Sea Acres Centre, which is essentially a visitor’s centre, a gift shop selling stuffed toy cockatoos and lemon myrtle soaps and the like, and the start of the Rainforest Boardwalk (fees apply). Take a Discovery Tour with National Park’s and Wildlife staff along the boardwalk and learn about Aboriginal bush tucker and the history of the Sea Acres area as you wander through the dense canopy. Otherwise, stroll at your own pace and enjoy the serenity of the sounds of nature. Also accessed through the gift shop is the Rainforest Café and access to the outside eating area on the open deck is only through the café. The rainforest canopy shades the deck so there’s no need for a roof and the café itself is made of endless glass to allow as much natural light in, which is tough considering the towering trees and thick foliage. Although a no-brainer for me, my friends find it tough to choose from the extensive ‘sweets’ menu. I’m happy to see the humble Devonshire Tea make it up on to the board and that the fluffy scones coming out of the kitchen are homemade, and just the right size for a snack. The jam is fairly average and the whipped cream chilled and firm – I just wish there was more of it.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream:

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

Price: $$

Overall: Dine under the shady canopy to the backdrop of rainforest bird life.

Location: Sea Acres Rainforest Visitor Centre, 159 Pacific Dr, Port Macquarie NSW 2444
Ph: 02 6582 3355 www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Visitor-centres/Sea-Acres-Rainforest-Centre

Reviewed August, 2015

 

Graze @ Denman

DT@Graze Cafe @ Denman#2

Denman in the Upper Hunter is horse country. The place has more horse studs than you can shake a stick at as well as enough wineries so you still know you’re in the Hunter Valley region. It’s a beautiful sunny day and every table in the front courtyard of Graze @ Denman is taken so my next option for a seat is in one of the rooms inside. The renovated timber house has beautiful stained glass windows and soaring pressed metal ceilings, and the walls are adorned with local artwork that provides a diversion while waiting for food to arrive. Although it’s not yet 12pm, I’m lucky to nab the last scone – I apologise to those hoping for an afternoon Devonshire Tea delight. Luckily the scone is on the large side and is wholesome and creamy, just how I like them.  There’s also plenty of thickly whipped fresh cream, which masks the average jam. I do like it when I have more jam and cream than I need, especially when the scones are dense.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: A buzzing eatery in a tastefully renovated house.

Location: 25 Ogilvie St, Denman NSW 2328 Ph: 02 6547 1115

Reviewed August, 2015