Simple Simons Coffee House

DT@Simple Simons-Balmoral#2

It may not be perched on the water like other Balmoral properties, but Simple Simons Coffee House is just that – simple digs delivering quality goods. Located next door to the fish ‘n’ chip shop on the corner (just look for the crowd and queues in summer), Simple Simons has alfresco dining on the footpath that is enclosed in the cooler months. I stick my head in not expecting to find a scone filled cake container on the counter. The scones are super light and fluffy – and taste exceptional! The rich raspberry jam and double thick cream finish off the ensemble beautifully. For a few extra bucks, there’s an option (verbal) to add fresh strawberries to the spread. Here’s hoping that these babies stick around on the menu.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: Expect big things from a simple place.

Location: 11A The Esplanade, Balmoral NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9960 7222

Reviewed in September, 2017

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Garden House Cafe

DT@Garden House Cafe-Flower Power Enfield#2

Tucked away in suburbia, The Flower Power Garden Centre in Enfield is part of a larger complex, including a fruit and veg shop, and pet care supplies, that are all accessed via the one car park. Once in the garden centre shop, the garden world is your oyster. As well as pesticides, gardening tools and potting mix, buy scented candles, terrariums and cushions – an endless supply of gift ideas. Then there are the plants and the garden furniture; it’s difficult to leave empty-handed. The cafe is buzzing, and although the sun is shining, everyone seems crammed indoors rather than the sunny courtyard. Date or plain scones are available, but I stick with the plain. The scone is light, and you may want to order two if hungry. The raspberry compote, which is neither tart nor sweet, provides a change from standard jams, however a bigger portion wouldn’t go astray. The double thick dollop cream is a nice touch, and there’s more than enough to go around.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of unusual Calmer Sutra loose leaf tea blends served in a tea pot. Choose from blends with names such as Peppermyrtle, Black Velvet, Emerald Bloom, Floral Field, Lady Melba, and Evermore.

Price: $$

Overall: A buzzy vibe with plenty of garden centre-style shopping.

Location: Flower Power Garden Centre, 27 Mitchell St, Enfield NSW 2136
Ph: 02 9747 5555 gardenhousecafe.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2017

The Boatshed At Woronora

DT@The Boatshed Woronora#2

Weave through Sydney’s southern suburbs, head over the Woronora River, and down to the very tidal Forbes Creek where the distinct blue and white The Boatshed at Woronora sits nestled between waterfront houses. Canoes spill out of the shed and lie in wait of high tide, while kayaks and other craft are stacked inside the shed. With only three tables outside in the sun, its first in, best dressed. The rest of the seating is within the actual boatshed, where diners share the space with life jackets and kayaks. This is a true blue working boatshed, and it’s wonderfully decked out in nautical nick-nacks. The homemade style scones are served at room temperature, and taste creamy and fresh. This in turn, alongside the plentiful thickly whipped cream, makes the mediocre strawberry jam negligible in affecting the overall taste experience.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good range of Twinings tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Combining location and quality scones – this place is a winner.

Location: 131 Prince Edward Park Rd, Woronora NSW 2232 Ph: 02 9545 2584
theboatshedatworonora.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2017

Sea Vista

DT@Seavista Cafe-Gerringong

Gerrigong has it going on in terms of beaches. With Werri Beach only minutes from town and Seven Mile Beach not more than a 10-minute drive south, it’s the quintessential beachside holiday hotspot. Over the past few years, the village has definitely changed. Funky homeware stores have moved in and the number of cafes has doubled. Not as quickly as nearby Berry, but it’s happening. The only scones I find in town come with sweeping views towards Werri Beach. The aptly named Sea Vista cafe is the only cafe in Gerrigong that’s lucky enough to have ocean views – bonus! Whether sitting inside, which is spacious, bright and with a beachy vibe, or sunning yourself out on the deck, this cafe is the pick of the bunch if views are high on the cafe checklist. The scones are exceptional; soft, creamy and super fluffy. Actually the scones are so good that the mediocre jam and super light cream are inconsequential to the final overall product. Check opening times, especially in winter.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: Sensational beach views, especially from the deck.

Location: 2/1 Noble St, Gerringong NSW 2534 Ph: 02 4234 0551

Reviewed in August, 2017

Hill End Estate

DT@Hill End Estate-Hill End#

It’s the second weekend of cafe trade and an unseasonably mild winters’ day when I drop in to Hill End Estate. Set on about four acres of land in the village, berry vines, fruit trees, geese and a couple of alpacas make this a pleasant place to stretch legs, top up on homemade pies and cakes (Steve’s a baker by trade), and absorb some Hill End hospitality.  In spring myriad fruit trees will be heavy with blossoms, and in turn, produce fruit that could possibly end up in some form on your plate. The cafe has a cosy wood fire to keep the cold Hill End winters at bay, and a sunny deck, that come summer, will be shaded courtesy of the grape vines growing on an overhead trellis. Expect to wait at least 15 minutes for scones – they are made to order, so are steaming fresh from the oven. Who’s complaining? Although the homemade strawberry jam is on the runny side, it’s tart and tasty, just like a real jam should be. The whipped cream is chilled, firm, and slightly sweet – the kind that bakers use with cakes. The DT is excellent value for money, and with only a handful of eating choices in Hill End, it’s also the only place that serves scones. Open on weekends and public holidays only.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A selection of Dilmah and Twining tea bag teas, and one loose-leaf option. All served in a vintage teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A top quality spread at a bargain price make this a must do on a visit to Hill End.

Location: 3664 Hill End Rd, Hill End NSW 2850 Ph: 0428 980 803
hillendestate.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2017

Pacinos Cafe

DT@Pacinos Cafe-Shellharbour Village

It doesn’t take long to shake off the suburban sprawl that you have to pass through to get to sleepy Shellharbour Village. Explore the coastline and take a five-minute drive from town to Bass Point Reserve to wander, snorkel or dive. The suburban sprawl is eating its way to the coastline too, but hopefully the Reserve will act as a reminder as to how the area once was. Back in the village pull up a pew and enjoy the outdoors at Pacino Cafe. The predominantly alfresco dining style cafe has a picture of Al Pacino hanging on the wall, but I’m not sure of the connection past sharing the same name. The scones are the highlight here; light and fluffy with a creamy texture, and warmed to serve. Order as many as you like as scones are sold singularly and accompanied with good enough strawberry jam and super light fresh cream.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A standard variety of tea bags on offer, served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A great summer option as most of the seating is outdoors

Location: 7/20-26 Addison St, Shellharbour NSW 2529 Ph: 02 4296 1133
pacinoscafe.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2017

The Heritage Terrace Cafe

DT@The Heritage Terrace Cafe-Penrith

On the edge of the Westfield Penrith food court and open to the outside, The Heritage Terrace cafe has a foot in both camps. There’s an entrance from the shopping centre, but the floor to ceiling glass walls and the open plan provides a view to the outside world. It has a typical Westfield cafe feel to it, but just goes under a different name. Order a serving to share if you aren’t famished. The two large dinner roll type scones aren’t bad, but are more bread than scone-like. The average strawberry jam and way-too-light-for-my-liking cream are served in eggcups – an interesting concept.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic selection of tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A handy location if shopping up a storm at Westfield Penrith.

Location: Westfield Penrith, 585 High St, Penrith NSW 2750
Ph: 02 4721 8142 theheritageterrace.com.au

Reviewed in July, 2017