Betie’s Cafe

DT@Beties Cafe-Kogarah

It seems you need to be stationary to notice Betie’s Cafe. Apart from the times I’ve been stuck in gridlock traffic on the Princes Highway, I am always whizzing past. Betie’s Cafe sounds like the kind of place that would serve scones, so when I make the call I’m both delighted and not too surprised. On my visit there’s a convivial vibe, and it feels like a family affair including both staff and diners. Perhaps I am crashing a pre-Christmas Sunday lunch? If traffic noise doesn’t bother you, sit outside in the tiny courtyard otherwise bask in the warm hospitality indoors. The scones are delightful: light and fluffy and sprinkled with icing sugar. The homemade mixed berry jam is perfect, fruit rich and not sweet at all. The cream is very light, which is a bummer, because the rest is top-notch.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

 Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good range of loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot and complimented with a bone China teacup.

Price: $$

Overall: A surprising find in an unusual place.

Location: 309 Princes Hwy, Carlton NSW 2218 Ph: 02 9553 9125 betiescafe.com

Reviewed December, 2017

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Rodney’s Garden Cafe

DT@Rodneys Cafe - Plants Plus, Piliago ACT

Rodney’s Plants Plus is your typical 21st century garden centre. There is plenty to peruse including a vast selection of plants, flowers and herbs, basically anything green and living for the garden is on offer. Let’s not forget everything needed to help the garden thrive and of course, the cafe. Garden shopping is hunger-inducing work, right? All comings and goings is through the home and giftware store, and good luck in leaving empty-handed! Rodney’s Garden Cafe has indoor, outdoor, and shaded eating areas, and a plethora of nooks and crannies for diners. During inclement weather indoors is recommended, as shade cloth doesn’t hold back the rain. The scones are sensational: delicate, and oh-so-fluffy and feather-light. The miniature jam jar of strawberry jam is cute, but the jam is nothing better than the average jam served in cafes. Additionally, we might like our scones super light, but the cream? It’s a definite no-no. The fresh cream from a cream canister looks tidy, but is way too aerated for the DT Guide. The sprig of fresh mint leaves is a fitting garnish, considering we are at a garden centre.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of Serenitea silk tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Everything to make your garden grow under one big roof.`

Location: Rodney’s Plants Plus, 24a Beltana Rd, Pialligo ACT 2609 Ph: 02 6257 5822 

Reviewed November, 2017

Riverbank of Queanbeyan

DT@The Riverside Cafe-Queenbeyan#

The heart of Riverbank of Queanbeyan is merely a shipping container with a kitchen attached, as well as a permanent open sided area connected to a sunny deck reaching towards the river’s edge. Along one side of the container a wisteria covered eating area spills out into Ray Morton Park, where seating is arranged beneath shady trees. It’s an excellent design, utilising very little space for the unimportant (like paying), but offering myriad seating choices for discerning diners. Apparently the cafe sells hundreds of scones daily. Whether that’s true or not is another story – but if true, I can understand why. Both the date and plain scones are exceptional; light and fluffy, with the date having just the right amount of fruit. I enquire about the jam and am told proudly that it’s Costco’s strawberry jam, which for a supermarket brand, is rather good. The cream is the weakest link: way too light and starts to melt in the summer heat. While you are there, wander through the Sensory Gardens, which is designed to engage all five senses: sight, touch, sound, scent and taste.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A beautiful location by the Queanbeyan River.

Location: 4 Trinculo Pl, Queanbeyan NSW 2620Ph: 0417 465 457

Reviewed November, 2017

The Scented Rose Garden and Teahouse

DT@The Scented Rose Garden Cafe - Bywong

From my shady table on the verandah I can neither see nor smell the roses. Although in arms reach, the rose garden is well-hidden behind a high paling fence and hedges, and unless I pay the $3 to enter, the rose garden will remain a mystery. From the size of the car park it looks as though The Scented Rose Garden and Teahouse pulls in the visitors, and is the only attraction in Bywong, just off the Federal Highway. The teahouse has ample seating indoors and feels like a teahouse with cabinets of fine bone China, and jam and vintage items for sale. Outdoors, there’s the verandah and the shady courtyard, which looks as though would be a sun catcher in the cooler months. Served at room temperature and with a creamy texture, the two small scones look promising. I have an inkling though that they were baked either very early this morning or the previous day. I could be wrong, but they just don’t have that knock-me-out fresh taste. The jam tastes like generic strawberry cafe jam, but bonus points for the thickly whipped cream. Considering it’s a teahouse and the main room is decked out in fine bone China teaware, it’s a crying shame that I am lumbered with a paltry teapot that’s fit for a cafeteria and a generic cafe coffee cup.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Along with the basic, a few interesting loose-leaf teas from The Tea Centre, all served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute teahouse with the option to pay to tour the rose garden.

Location: Ph: 02 6236 9596  

Reviewed November, 2017

Tulips Cafe

DT@Tulips Cafe, Pialigo ACT

Pialligo is a green thumb’s paradise, where garden centres sell all manner of stuff to do with gardens, including garden accessories and giftware. Although, visit Bliss Garden and Giftware and you might be disappointed if after living greenery. Instead, there’s an abundance of accessories to beautify gardens such as garden pots and furniture, water features, and home and giftware. Sharing the same plot of land is Tulips Cafe, which has a seating arrangement to suit all plus a large kids playground to keep the young and restless occupied. A tad unusual but there’s a peacock wandering around the garden furniture, although I’m not sure where he belongs. I choose one of the large plain scones, leaving the date scone for another day. It’s on the dry side, but it is closing time after all. For the size of the scone there’s not enough jam, but that’s no great loss as it’s mediocre. The cream on the other hand is double thick rich and goes the distance. Impressive is the contemporary fine bone China cup and saucer by Pearl, which makes sipping quality tea a pleasure. Don’t leave your visit too late as the cafe staff have one foot out the door before 3pm.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Half garden accessory and gift shop, and half cafe.

Location: Bliss Garden and Giftware, 8 Beltana Rd, Pialligo ACT 2609 Ph: 02 6249 6118 tulipscafe.com.au

Reviewed November, 2017

Queen’s Terrace Cafe

DT@Queens Terrace Cafe - Parliament House, ACT

It’s been a while since I have driven Canberra’s neat and tidy parliamentary ring roads. Everything feels spacious and the public spaces have a ‘unlived in’ vibe. I remember when Parliament House first opened, but this is my first time inside and past the airline-style security. I sneak a peek at The Parliament House Great Hall Tapestry, which was designed by Australian artist Arthur Boyd. It’s one of the largest tapestries in the world, and I vow to sign up for a tour next time I’m in town. On level two, the Queen’s Terrace Cafe takes up quite some space at the front of The House. Due to this, the view from any of the cafe windows is to the back of Old Parliament House, up Anzac Parade, and to the War Memorial in the distance. The large modern cafe doesn’t quite spill out onto a terrace, but the extensive terrace can be accessed through a secure door that is testimony to the extremes in weather in the capital – or would that be security? The scones look more like bread rolls than scones, and unfortunately taste as dull as they look – bland and dry. Is it because it’s close to closing time that the scones are dry? The blackberry jam is better than your ordinary, and the thick cream tastes more like mock cream than whipped fresh cream, but nonetheless is good. Combine a cafe visit with a tour of Parliament House, several types run daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of T2 silk tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Handy after a tour of the House, inconvenient otherwise.

Location: Parliament House, Parliament Dr, Capital Hill ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 5239 aph.gov.au

Reviewed November, 2017

Cafe Lerida

DT@Lerida Winery-Lake George#

Before the Federal Highway was spruced up, the wineries near Lake George were more noticeable. These days it’s easy to hurtle past at 110kmh not paying much attention to the wineries tucked away from the road. All eyes turn to the spectacular space that Lake George may or may not occupy. In the 1980s, the lake lapped the Federal Highway, but today, cows graze where once water occupied. From Lerida Winery, Lake George and the wind farm on the lake’s south-eastern side can be seen in the distant, with rows of vines in the foreground. If it’s warm, sit outside in the courtyard to be absorbed by the lush vines. For a temperature-controlled environment, inside is either cool or cosy – depending on the season. It’s a popular lunch venue, providing music at lunchtimes on Sundays. Although not on the lunch menu, there’s a pile of scones on the counter. My two rustic style scones are on the dry side and therefore are a bit crumbly because of this. The strawberry jam is average but the cream is double thick, chilled and firm. It might be the fact that it’s at a winery cafe, but this spread is on the expensive side considering the quality.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$$

Overall: Private with stunning views over the vines and towards Lake George.

Location: 87 The Vineyards Rd, Collector NSW 2581 Ph: 02 4848 0231 leridaestate.com.au

Reviewed November, 2017