Cafe on Queen

DT@Cafe on Queens-Binalong#2

Binalong is not on the way to many places, so you’ll probably have to make a diversion to visit. The small village north of the Hume Highway has a cluster of businesses, with the lovely Cafe on Queen one of them. Don’t be fooled by the cafe’s size (like I was), as there is a whole garden to spread out in, plus few sculptures to check out. I nab the last of the scones – lucky. They have a lot of potential, and to me, they don’t taste like they were baked today (hence the lower score). They are quite flat but kind of creamy as well, and as I said, if they were fresh from the oven, I think they would have been pretty good. I know jam is meant to be sweet, but this one tastes super sweet. The cream could do with a bit more whipping or refrigeration as it collapses when spooned onto the scone, but it’s still better than most. Love, love, love the teacup and of course the garden setting. Homemade goodies such as chutneys and jams are for sale. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of teabags served in a cute teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: If you are passing through, it’s a nice place to take a break.

Location: 13 Queen St, Binalong NSW 2584 facebook.com/cafeonqueenbinalong/

Reviewed May 2019

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Canon Food, Bar and Espresso

DT@Cannons-Warners Bay

Just across the road from Lake Macquarie, the popular Canon Food, Bar and Espresso spills out onto the footpath along Warners Bay’s cafe strip. The venue is large and attracts the crowds, offering something for everyone; food, booze and coffee. It’s a small diversion (across the road) from the walking/jogging/cycling path that encircles Lake Macquarie, so a handy spot to factor in a break. My scone spread arrives looking cool on a breadboard and with a dusting of icing sugar. Sadly, the scones are a bit soggy on the bottom – too much time in the microwave perhaps? There’s barely enough of the ordinary strawberry jam and the light cream from a canister to cover the two generous scones. Probably fine for those who like a skerrick of toppings, but annoying for those who actually like to taste the jam and cream on their scones! The location is a bonus.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: An interesting but modest range of loose-leaf teas served in a large transparent teapot. No points for the lousy coffee cup.

Price: $$

Overall: A large buzzy cafe.

Location: 460 The Esplanade, Warners Bay NSW 2282 Ph: 02 4948 0049 canonfoodbarespresso.com.au

Reviewed April 2019

Sass@Bowers

DT@Sass at Bowers - Taree#2

‘Fresh Scones’ – don’t you just love a sign like that when road tripping through the country? Located between Taree and Wingham, Sass@Bowers overlooks cow-studded meadows. Thanks to the floor to ceiling bifold windows that invites the country inside, it’s light and bright in the dining room. For those who prefer the outdoors, there’s a lovely rustic seating area under leafy trees in the garden. Order as many scones as you like as there is no set ‘Devonshire Tea’ on the menu. If you aren’t particularly hungry or have lunch/dinner plans, order just the one scone, as they are huge. It’s definitely baked today, and although it’s creamy good, the scone crumbles easily every time I try to take a bite. The strawberry jam is nothing more than average, and the fresh cream is served from a cream canister, but doesn’t seem as light as some. Open Wednesday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Origin Tea silk pyramid tea bags served in a huge teapot. Although I was asked whether I wanted a cup or teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely spot overlooking green meadows.

Location: 461 Kolodong Rd, Taree NSW 2430 Ph: 02 5591 8814 facebook.com

Reviewed April 2019

Beehive Cafe Restaurant

DT@The Beehive Cafe-Beecroft

On the outside, the Beehive Cafe Restaurant looks pretty ordinary. The bland 80s brick building doesn’t do the cafe any favours, but once in the folds of the welcoming staff, that blandness disappears. What emerges is a warm and friendly vibe, which will draw you back time and again. The large outdoor dining area is cool for summer days, but the two indoor sections are better for chilly days. The scones are baked daily on the premises and are served lightly dusted with icing sugar. They have a creamy texture, and with every bite, melt in your mouth. The mixed berry jam is homemade and tart rather than overpoweringly sweet, as jam can be. Unfortunately, the fresh cream is dispensed from a cream canister and is too light for me. Wander around and explore Beecroft village before you leave, and there’s a cool toy store next door to the cafe.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A range of basic teabags served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A super friendly and accommodating cafe with yummy chef-made desserts.

Location: 4/1A Wongala Cres, Beecroft NSW 2119 Ph: 02 9980 7853 beehivecafe.com.au

Reviewed February 2019

Bee & Bear Cafe

DT@Bee & Bear -Berrima

Competition amongst cafes serving scones is fierce in the Southern Highlands. Bee & Bear Cafe replaces an existing cafe, which was at the same premises. The cafe has had some sprucing up, so it no longer looks like a takeaway sandwich shop with bits ‘n’ pieces from the farmyard attached to the walls. The decor has been toned down, the counter position rearranged and a pleasant dining area set up out front. The scones don’t taste like they were baked today, and are a bit burnt on top. The strawberry jam is gelatinous, like the jams that were sold in cans back in the 1970s. I don’t mind it, as it reminds me of my childhood and its not as sickly sweet as many of the cheap jams served up with scones. The fresh cream from a cream canister is very light, and compared to the amount of jam served, is ridiculously lacking in volume.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A chilled cafe slightly away from Berrima’s madding crowd.

Location: Shop 5/15 Old Hume Hwy, Berrima NSW 2577 Ph: 02 4877 1117 facebook.com

Reviewed May 2019

 

Bent on Food

DT@Bent on Food-Wingham#

Just 12 kilometres from Taree, historic Wingham is well worth the diversion. Settled in the 1840s after cedar forestry began in the Manning Valley, Wingham retains much of its heritage and character. Bent on Food, although not reliving 19th century Wingham, is a quirky and very popular hang out. The brightly painted furnishings give the cafe a cheery demeanour that also radiates from the amicable staff. A small seating section on the way to the garden courtyard emulates vintage vibe, while the main section doubles as a mini shop selling spices, jams and the like. There are a few tables out the front on the footpath, which are hard to bypass, or perch on a stool at the window to watch the Wingham world go by. Just by looking at the batch of scones on the counter, I know they are going to be good. I can’t but help give the creamy, soft and fluffy scones five teapots. The strawberry jam has a hint of vanilla and is one of the jams sold in the cafe. The cream from a cream canister is a tad too light for me, but the scones are so good, the light cream can be forgiven.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A cheery cafe cafe all-round, from the staff to the brightly painted furniture.

Location: 95 Isabella St, Wingham NSW 2429 Ph: 02 6557 0727 bentonfood.com.au

Reviewed April 2019

The Pines Orchard

DT@The Pines Orchard-Bilpin#2

There’s no doubt about it; Bilpin is a pretty place. It’s all green rolling hills and fruit orchards. If driving from Sydney, The Pines Orchard is a peaceful place to take a break. Most people stop for the apple pies, or to pick up some freshly picked fruit, juice, or jams. The scones sit beside the apple pies and are chewy and don’t taste particularly fresh. The jam is acceptable, but it’s a shame that they don’t use any of the jams that are sold in the shop as opposed to the low quality cafe variety. The super light cream that’s dispensed from a cream canister is so light it melts easily in the autumn sun, but probably does better during winter months. I don’t get the jam to cream ratio, what’s the point of having half the amount of jam than cream? The cup of tea is a total rip off at $4.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Twinings teabags served in a cup, or perhaps a teapot if you request one.

Price: $$

Overall: Overpriced tourist trap.

Location: 2070 Bells Line of Rd, Bilpin NSW 2758 Ph: 02 4567 1195 facebook.com

Reviewed March 2019