The Sanctuary Cafe

DT@The Sanctuary Cafe-Erina Heights#2

Erina Heights on the Central Coast is not where I would expect to find a Ken Duncan Gallery. This purpose-built facility has not only spacious viewing rooms where you can ponder over your favourite image, but a 45-seat theatre that’s used for audio-visual presentations such as the current showing; Chasing the Light. Surrounded by bushland, the place is set back from the main road and fronted by a large carpark, which adds to the serenity. Under the same roof is the Sanctuary Cafe. A modern, bright and airy cafe that’s a good place to deliberate over the Ken Duncan acquisition you have in mind. There is an option to order either one or two scones, which is handy when you aren’t too hungry and there’s no one to share with. The scone is delicately light and is served with a sprinkling of icing sugar. The jam, although average, is accompanied by a pot of chilled thickly whipped cream that matches the quality of the scone, so any shortcomings of the jam may be forgiven.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of T2 silk teabags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Relaxed and stylish, with some great art to peruse next door.

Location:  Ph: 02 4365 6955 

Reviewed February, 2018

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The Little Teapot Cafe

DT@The Little Teapot Cafe-Davistown#2

The Little Teapot Cafe conjures up visions of lazy morning and afternoon teas and more scones than you care to eat. It’s an unusual name for a cafe, considering that all day breakfasts of eggs, muesli and pancakes, and lunches of salads and sandwiches are popular. They do serve High Teas and scones are embedded on the menu in dried ink, so lazy morning and afternoon teas are possible, but before 3pm. I find the indoor dining area hectic on a Saturday morning, but a more relaxing experience can be had out in the large back garden at umbrella-shaded tables. The scones are definitely fresh. Although light and fluffy, they crumble at the slightest touch. The average jam and very light but fresh cream don’t do the scones justice. The portion of jam is on the small side considering the scones are fairly big, but all in all it’s a lovely diversion to a less visited corner of the Central Coast.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A popular cafe with the locals, that’s a hop, step and a jump from Brisbane Waters.

Location: Ph: 02 4369 6186 facebook.com/TheLittleTeapotCafe/

Reviewed February, 2018

The Old Chiltern Bank Teahouse

DT@The Old Chiltern bank Teahouse-Chiltern

The gold rush in the late 1850s attracted miners and all sorts of shady characters to Chiltern. The town’s heyday lasted until the early 1900s when the gold deposits dried up, causing a mass exodus, leaving behind an architecturally rich town on the Melbourne to Albury train line, as well as the road linking Sydney and Melbourne. The buildings, most lovingly restored, are still there, and so is the train line, but the Hume Freeway’s buzz is kept well away from the sleepy town. The Old Chiltern Bank is one such well-preserved building from this era. It’s beautifully kept by owner Marcia, and trades as a BnB and Teahouse. The outdoor seating area in the garden is a delight in warmer weather, and indoors, the high vaulted ceiling in the dining area is set up for tea. I’m excited when everything arrives on vintage crockery, including said bone China tea cup (I sit in the garden). The two small scones are at room temperature, which is fine, but are on the dry side. Reviews on Tripadvisor suggest that the jam is homemade. To me, on this day, it is super thick, sliceable even, reminding of the type I had from a can as a child. I make my own jam, and this doesn’t seem like homemade jam – but I could be wrong. It’s a warm day, and the whipped cream isn’t chilled and is struggling to remain intact. It’s a good place to stock up on Adore tea, jam, chutney and crafts made by local ladies.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An amazing choice of Adore loose-leaf teas served in a big teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A gorgeous historic property with a matching menu offering homemade goodies.

Location: 28 Conness St, Chiltern VIC 3683 Ph: 03 5726 1685

Reviewed December, 2017

Cafe Rubaba

DT@Rhubaba Cafe-Scottsdale

The House of Rhubarba sign is small and totally overshadowed by the old signage for the takeaway Fish ‘n’ Chips shop. To be honest, I don’t see the shop at all, for my eyes are focused on Cafe Rhubaba. Just in the entrance of the cafe are a selection of rhubarb products; jams, jellies, vinegar and vinaigrettes, chutney and relishes, products of the House of Rhubarba. The cafe has a country feel, which is Scottsdale to a tee, and with a seating area outside you can watch the locals go about their business. Shirley’s scones are fresh from the oven. The triple serve scones are small and crispy, sensationally fresh. The jelly jam is interesting – could it be rhubarb jelly? Or is it jam? I don’t ask, but it’s a lovely addition and pairs well with the whipped cream, which is super thick. Love the China tea cup.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small selection of teabags served in a teapot. Expensive at $5 a pot!

Price: $$

Overall: A homely affair.

Location: 15 King St, Scottsdale TAS 7260 Ph: 03 6366 6028

Reviewed December, 2017

Sheridan Bouteaque

DT@Sheridan Bouteaque-Gundagai

Since my last visit, Gundagai has definitely turned a corner. The street curbing has been redone, footpaths seem wider and heritage buildings have been whipped into shape – unfortunately for some it’s hard to see much left of its heritage. The whole place has a feeling of gentrification, drawing visitors beyond the Dog on the Tucker at the northern end of town. In the middle of town, Sheridan Bouteaque is located next door to the well-established Niagara Cafe, a long-standing Milk Bar with booths and all! If you need to stock up on loose-leaf teas, the Bouteaque has a big enough range to choose from, and you can sample one with your scone. It’s my lucky day and I nab the last scone. It’s large, fresh and fluffy, and served with rich raspberry jam and thickly whipped cream. Due to the size of the scone, I can do with more jam, as there is a lot of surface area to cover. The overall Devonshire Tea price is reasonable but my partner orders lunch, and although good, the serving is small and expensive.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A cosy cafe in Gundagai’s historic heart.

Location:  Ph: 0448 531 271

Reviewed December, 2017

Willows Roadhouse

DT@Willows Roadhouse-Pyengana#2

Conveniently located on the Tasman Highway amidst the green rolling hills of Pyengana, Willows Roadhouse is a typical old school roadhouse servicing the needs for fuel and steak sandwiches. It’s a peculiar place to find a Devonshire Tea, but it’s well sign posted and I guess it draws in the crowds. Tasmania is after all Australia’s unofficial home of the Devonshire Tea, so why not offer them at a roadhouse alongside chips and Chiko Rolls? It’s too windy outside to comfortably take tea at one of the timber picnic tables on the front lawn, so instead we sit in the dining room, which also houses Tasmanian souvenirs including quirky Aussie road signs. The smell of cigarette smoke is strong, like it’s embedded in the carpet and lounges and reminds me of pubs before the no smoking laws came in. The menu reads like a 1980s outback diner, and nostalgia tragics will love it. The scones are surprisingly good – fresh and pretty, and far better than I expect. The spread is let down by the average strawberry jam and the synthetic cream from a can. With some healthy competition in the area, the Roadhouse may want to pick up their game but by all means keep the scones; it’s a quirky place to have them!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of tea bags served in a mug.

Price: $$

Overall: Homely old school roadhouse.

Location: 27921 Tasman Hwy, Pyengana TAS 7216 Ph: 03 6373 6140

Reviewed December, 2017

Mokoan Hub and Cafe

DT@Mokoan Hub and Cafe-Wintoin Wetlands

The Winton Wetlands has a fascinating back story. Once known as Winton (Mokoan) Swamp, it was flooded in 1971 to create Lake Mokoan, which then became popular with the locals for recreation (fishing, sailing), and the farmers for irrigation. Sometimes the lake dried out, and at other times it was subject to blue-green algae outbreaks So those in charge decided it wasn’t worth the hassle, and not without strong local opposition, it was decommissioned and drained in 2010. Nowadays the unique wetland is finding its own rhythm with sections with walking/cycling paths, camping, and a welcoming visitors centre/cafe, Mokoan Hub and Cafe. The view of the wetlands from the Hub (use the complimentary binoculars) is of 150-odd-thousand river red gums that were lost in the flooding, and have now emerged as ghosts of their former selves. As it’s early at the Hub, the scones are exceptionally fresh and fluffy and have a creamy texture. They are large enough that I only need to order one, which is a shame as these a worth filling up on. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity, and it rarely gets better than this. The cream is thickly whipped and there’s enough of both to cover the scone generously. It’s good to know that every dollar spent at the cafe supports cafe operation and ongoing site restoration of the Winton Wetlands habitat.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A fascinating and beautiful wetlands that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Location: Winton Wetlands, 
Ph: 03 5766 4462 wintonwetlands.org.au

Reviewed December, 2017