2773 Cafe

DT@2773 - Glenbrook

It’s my first outing to a cafe since the COVID-19 shutdown in March. It looks as though Glenbrook locals are just as happy to be out too, making the most of 2773 Cafe’s reopening the previous day. I’ve never been to this cafe before, but apparently they have done a refurbishment, getting rid of the petting zoo and moving the kiddies playground down the back, leaving the front section to the adults and the cocktails. There’s no sign of the scones with the cakes, but they are on the menu. The two small scones take a while to arrive, and I am hoping they are made to order. They don’t taste like they are and have an aftertaste that I can’t put my finger on. The ordinary strawberry jam has some welcome help from the double thick cream. Considering the overall cost of the Devonshire Tea is in the higher price range, I’d expect the jam and cream to be served in something other than plastic disposable thimbles. Although dining is semi alfresco (apart from a few tables inside) it’s warm with all the heaters switched on.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A selection of Tea Drop silk pyramid tea bags served in a Japanese iron teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A large open-air cafe that has a friendly village vibe.

Location: 19 Ross St, Glenbrook NSW 2773 Ph: 02 47392773 2773glenbrook.com.au

Reviewed in June 2020

 

Mediterranean Paradise

DT@Mediterranean Paradise - Sydney

An indoor/outdoor cafe on a quiet thoroughfare connecting busy Military Road to the more serene Woolworths car park, Mediterranean Paradise is the latest cafe to take up residence in this prime location. The Greek cafe/restaurant is a welcome change to the Neutral Bay dining scene and rounds off the plethora of offerings. I miss the small sign attached to a menu board spruiking Maria’s scones on the way in, so am surprised to see a tray of scones sitting on the counter at a Greek restaurant. Scones aren’t on the very extensive menu, so I’m not sure whether they are a constant, or whether Maria bakes when she feels like it. My scone arrives split and lightly toasted. I’m not a fan of the toasted scone but nonetheless it tastes good, and probably would be better with a blast of heat in the oven. The average strawberry jam is paired with fresh cream dispensed from a cream canister that looks tidy, but is too light for me. It’s a friendly place and the presentation of the DT spread, is better than most.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A selection of loose-leaf teas served in a lovely teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Not a bad cafe in the middle of Neutral Bay away from noisy and hectic Military Road.

Location: Theo Arcade, 202-212 Military Rd, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Ph: 02 9953 4623 business.site

Reviewed in January 2020

Fowles Wine Cellar Door Restaurant

DT@Fowles Wines - Avenel

Passing by, still sleepy after rolling off the Spirit of Tasmania’s night crossing, my partner balks at stopping at a winery restaurant, as he feels underdressed. Fowles Wines Cellar Door Restaurant is neither too posh during breakfast nor overpriced, and is an easy 90-minute drive north along the Hume Motorway from Melbourne. It’s much a destination rather than just a pitstop to refuel. Firstly, the beautifully designed building is cavernous with some fine touches like the floor to ceiling glass around the dining room to let as much of the surrounding countryside in, and the industrial-style plumbing and old-style cement laundry tubs that have us talking about how well that style works here. Upon entering is the understated shop that sells everything from wine and jams to cookbooks and unusual gifts. Another section offers wine tasting, then further around the corner the restaurant opens up to a bright contemporary space that specialises in paddock to plate meals with ingredients sourced locally. The scones are listed on the lunch menu, but I’m here earlier and the kitchen still has them. I’d like to say that they are fresh from the oven, but unfortunately they don’t taste like it. The scones aren’t outstanding. Fresh – yes, but, I guess in such stylish surrounds, I am expecting better. The apple berry and Chardonnay jam, also sold in the onsite store, is unusual and looks like a jelly rather than a jam. It’s not overly sweet and offers an interesting element to the spread. The cream is double thick dollop cream, which goes well with the jam, and livens up the scone. Next time I’ll stop by for lunch as the food looks delicious!

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

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

Price: $$

Overall: A cellar door where it’s much about the whole destination rather than just the wine.

Location: 1175 Lambing Gully Rd, Avenel VIC 3664 Ph: 03 5796 2150 fowleswine.com

Reviewed in December, 2019

 

 

 

 

JJs Bakery

DT@JJs Bakery - Longford

In 1807, farmers began settling in the area around Longford, and with the use of free convict labour, built some grand homesteads and estates. An easy visit from Launceston, the farming town is littered with historic buildings. JJ’s Bakery set up shop in 1989 in Longford in a former flour mill – The Emerald Mill. Convict built in 1834; the mill operated until 1903, and until it’s revival as a bakery in 1989 was used for a range of purposes including a soap factory and an electrical store. Today the main counter is like any other bakery, but then once further inside, diners can choose from either cosy downstairs dining or head upstairs. There are only fruit scones today and it tastes more like a hot cross bun than a scone: fruit rich, moist and spicy. The raspberry sachet jam is a lousy substitute for a pot of jam, but will have to do. The cream is unusual; gooey and slightly sweet dispensed like a Mr Whippy ice-cream. No doubt it’s the cream used by the bakery for their cakes, and to be honest, I don’t mind it. JJ’s Bakery also has bakery cafes in Launceston and Campbell Town.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A very basic range of Tea Drop pyramid tea bags served in a traditional looking teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A commercial bakery franchise in a historic country town.

Location: 52 Wellington St, Longford TAS 7301 Ph: 03 6391 2364 jjsbakery.com.au

Reviewed in December 2019

Barneys at Bookham

DT@BArneys at Bookham

When driving along the Hume Highway, sometimes the big services centres just don’t cut it. If you prefer personal service and a chilled place to rest from the monotony of highway driving, Barneys at Bookham is the place. Don’t blink, lest you’ll miss it, and if you don’t catch the ‘Barneys at Bookham billboard’, it’s easy to zoom on by. Feeling like it’s in the middle of nowhere, the enclave includes a few houses, a scrap business, a couple of churches and of course the cafe. Scones are served in either one’s or two’s and although each scone is wrapped separately in plastic in the display counter, they aren’t bad. Light and fluffy, they are the best part of the spread considering the strawberry jam is ordinary and the dairy whip cream synthetic. Sit outside in the large dining area and watch, in the distance, the Hume Highway whizz by.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

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

Price: $$

Overall: A great alternative to the Hume Highway service centres.

Location: 24 Fagan Dr, Bookham NSW 2582 Ph: 0435 907 773 barneysofbookham.net.au

Reviewed in December, 2019

Planted Cootamundra

DT@Planted Cootamundra#2

Surrounded by farming properties, Cootamundra is a typical rural service town. Sir Donald Bradman was born here and it was a major railway junction between Sydney and Melbourne back when the railway was king! Have a sticky beak around town at the heritage buildings built in the late 19th and early 20th century, and of course the Victorian Italianate style railway station. Dig below the surface of the country town’s wide streets and you’ll find a plethora of interesting eateries. Google directs me to Planted Cootamundra for scones. The whole-foods cafe is located in a bright corner cafe space and specialises in local organic seasonal food from the Riverina. I don’t expect scones at a whole-food cafe, but there they are. Delicate, light and fluffy – absolutely superb! The house-made blackberry jam is rich and fruity but is let down by the light cream dispensed from a cream canister. Although it is fresh cream it’s way too light for me. A bit of advice – don’t sit right next to the front door as it slams and can get annoying after a while.

Scones:

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A good range of loose-leaf tea served in a small teapot with an extra jug of hot water. The proper teacup is a bonus as well.

Price: $$

Overall: Superb housemade scones and jam served in a chilled corner cafe.

Location: 29 Wallendoon St, Cootamundra NSW 2590 Ph: 02 6942 4744 plantedcootamundra.com

Reviewed in December, 2019

Railway Station Cafe

DT@The Railway Cafe-Junee

The little town of Junee became a railway town in 1878, with the Junee railway station becoming the principal locomotive servicing and maintenance depot in southern NSW. The original timber station burnt down in 1882, which was probably lucky, because a Victorian Italianate Renaissance style station that was heritage-listed in 1999 replaced it. Although trains are not as frequent these days, it’s a wonderful reminder of the town’s glory days. The colossal original Refreshment Room acts as the Railway Station Cafe. It’s the second heritage railway station refreshment room I have been in, and they sure did make them spacious! Skyscraper high ceilings and enough space for a train load of diners, the space is a mix of modern necessities and splendid heritage. There’s a lovely lawn on the way in that has tables set up for outdoor dining. The staff are friendly and chatty, but that doesn’t help my Devonshire Tea much. The microwaved scone is soggy and I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s been in the microwave too long or it’s come out of the freezer. The strawberry jam is unimpressive and the squirt of super light cream is from a cream canister. Such a beautifully kept slice of history surely deserves a more impressive Devonshire Tea!

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A small range of Temple Tea Co loose-leaf tea served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: An average Devonshire Tea in a sensational heritage-rich grand railway station refreshment room.

Location: Railway Square, Junee NSW 2663 Ph: 02 6924 1044
facebook.com/Railway-station-cafe-325736550853164/

Reviewed in December, 2019

Jardine’s Cafe

DT@Jardine's Cafe - Wagga Wagga

I’m in Wagga Wagga early so I hit Jardine’s Cafe at 9am just in time for scones fresh from the oven. The place is bright, large, and popular with locals on their way to work and the cheery barista seems to know everybody’s name. Just past a wall selling lovely giftware, there are some refectory tables and plenty of smaller tables further back surrounded in fresh white interiors. Alternatively, on the footpath there’s inviting white timber garden-like furniture that would be more at home in an English garden. The scones are excellent, just the right balance: light, fluffy, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The commercial raspberry jam is decent quality and the whipped cream is super thick. Although nothing fancy, the tea is served with a proper tea cup.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A range of loose-leaf teas in either a pot for one or two. The pot for one is plenty big to sit on.

Price: $$

Overall: Fresh, bright and friendly with excellent scones.

Location: 2/68 Baylis St, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650 Ph: 02 6925 8897 facebook.com/jardinescafes/

Reviewed in December, 2019

Margaret & Agnes

DT@MArgaret & Agnes - Portland

I’m in town with another 4,000 hungry cyclists, and food in cafes is disappearing like hotcakes after today’s long ride. At Margaret & Agnes I spy the pile of date scones on the counter and the friendly staff offer to put a scone aside for me so I can catch a few shops before they close. How nice is that? The date scone is huge, and I only need one. As it’s a date scone, it’s served with a few sachets of butter as well as the jam and cream. It’s over-microwaved and ends up being a bit dry around the edges. Straight out the oven or earlier in the day, the scone would be amazing – shame. The two sachets of strawberry jam are pathetic, but the double thick cream somewhat saves it. In fine weather grab one of the outdoor tables.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

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

Price: $$

Overall: A bright and welcoming cafe located along the waterfront strip of businesses.

Location: 73 Bentinck St, Portland VIC 3305 Ph: 03 5548 4768 facebook.com

Reviewed in November, 2019

Charlie’s On East

DT@Charlie's on East - Port Fairy

A visit to Port Fairy is not complete without checking out the beaches. And what beaches! The white sand and turquoise waters of East Beach goes on forever, and in good weather there is no other place you want to be. Perched above the East Beach Surf Club sits Charlie’s On East, a simple cafe that feeds off its prime surfside position. Perhaps prime real estate on one of Australia’s most famous and beautiful coastlines doesn’t warrant friendly service or maybe I am just unlucky and the waitress is having a bad day. I arrive just in time to nab the last scone, and from my later investigations in Port Fairy, I think the last scone in the whole town. One scone is enough as it is huge. It tastes much better than it looks and is fresh with a hint of vanilla. The average strawberry jam is acceptable but doesn’t do the scone any favours, but the double thick cream is a saviour. Try for a table out on the balcony for views of superb East Beach.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A range of Tea Drop tea silk tea bags served in a three-quarters filled tiny teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Fantastic endless views of East Beach and beyond.

Location: 4 Hughes Ave, Port Fairy VIC 3284 Ph: 03 5568 2885

Reviewed in November, 2019