Treehouse Restaurant

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It’s always warm in Australia’s Tropical Far North Queensland. The only variable is the height in humidity and the torrential downpours that drench the place during the wet season. The 60 million year old Daintree Rainforest just north of Port Douglas is astounding in any weather, but I’ve got to say, after a recent stay at Silky Oaks Lodge in Mossman, the wet season is my favourite. The lodge and its treehouses sits on one of the fingers of the Mossman River and is on the very edge of the Daintree National Park. The latter part of my visit coincided with so much rain that the river rose several metres in the matter of a few hours. Rather than tackling a rainforest walk, what better way to enjoy the sound of rain falling onto layers of tropical rainforest than to take afternoon tea on the open deck? The scone is served with a few biscuits and a great sized pot of tea so you can sit for as long as it takes to tire of the ambience. Love the wild strawberry, raspberry and blueberry homemade jam, as it’s more tart than sweet. The scone is crispy on the outside but more bread- like than light and fluffy with a slight unpleasant aftertaste. The freshly whipped cream unbelievably doesn’t disintegrate in the humidity before I have a chance to get stuck in to it and is neither very thick nor too light.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Several types of loose-leaf teas are available including the local Daintree black tea plus teabag varieties. All are served in good-sized pots for a lingering afternoon.

Price: $$$ or ‘Tea for Two’ $$$$

Overall: Rain, hail or shine, the Treehouse Restaurant is a wonderful place to be.

Location:  Silky Oaks Lodge, Finlayvale Rd, Mossman QLD 4873 Ph: 07 4098 1666
www.silkyoakslodge.com.au
Reviewed in March, 2013

 

Swagman’s Courtyard Cafe


DT@Swagman's Courtyard Cafe-SYdney#2

From the outside, the cafe is quite deceiving. Set in a terrace building a few doors down from the Mercantile Hotel and next door to the highly acclaimed super fresh scone providing ‘The Tea Cosy’, Swagman’s Courtyard Cafe sounds very touristy. But why wouldn’t it? It is however smack bang in the middle of Sydney’s historical Rocks area. Unless you want to people watch, forget the tables on the footpath and head straight to the large shady courtyard out the back. I would like to say ‘give this place a go for scones’, but with ‘The Tea Cosy’ next door – why would you stop? The scones are bread-like and slightly sweet, and too dry to be enjoyable. The jam is cheap and not particularly cheerful and the cream light and airy. My companion, so used to her mother’s country-style scones, gives it the thumbs down. What a shame, the courtyard and friendly staff are a real gem.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Seven choices of ‘tea drop’ pyramid bag loose-leaf teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The tranquil courtyard is a great escape from the weekend crowds.

Location: 35 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9241 5557  www.swagmanscafe.com.au
Reviewed in March, 2013

 

Cuppaz Cafe

DT@Cuppaz Cafe - Eden#3

I love Eden! It’s everything that the more touristy towns further north aren’t. As you drive in it feels like the last frontier, which it is, before heading further south in to Mexican territory. The area is steeped in whaling history and a visit to the Eden Killer Whale Museum is a must. Eden is also the gateway to Ben Boyd National Park and the 30km Light to Light walk. The kangaroos are so tame at the Saltwater Creek campsite that they can be real pests, and will eat your dinner off your plate while you’re not looking! Back in town, things are more sedate. Cuppaz Cafe on the main drag is one of the few cafes in town and is a hamburger joint/cafe/book exchange, all rolled in to one. Although not advertised, they have a Devonshire Tea option that offers the usual except only a single scone. The scone looks fresh and arrives dusted with icing sugar, however turns out to be underwhelming and a bit dry. It’s accompanied with your stock-standard jam and another pot of airy light cream. Oh well, it doesn’t change my mind about Eden.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Limited varieties in both loose-leaf tea and teabags.

Price: $$

Overall: A nice vibe on the main drag.

Location: 207 Imlay St, Eden NSW 2551 Ph: 02 6496 1493
Reviewed in March, 2013


The Courtyard Cafe at Mogo Fudge

 

DT@The Courtyard Cafe-Mogo#2

Like Berry and Milton, Mogo is a cute place to break up a journey along the Princes Highway. A plethora of cafes, giftware stores and galleries offer a great excuse to stretch the legs and grab a bite to eat. If you have more time, visit the Mogo Zoo or the Original Gold Rush Colony where you can have a go at gold panning. With limited time, I only tried one cafe and added the others to my list for next time. The Courtyard Cafe at Mogo Fudge is set back from the highway, so it gives you a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle and there’s a giant outdoor chess set if you fancy a quick game before getting back behind the wheel. Apparently Mogo Fudge was featured on a Getaway episode (so the sign says) and it almost makes you feel inclined to buy some. I turn my back on the fudge and try the scones. They’re fresh on the inside and crispy on the outside, but look a bit bread-roll-like for me, but nonetheless are above average. The jam is passable and although the cream is freshly whipped it’s a bit light for how I like my cream on scones.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Loose-leaf teas with a few herbal varieties available.

Price: $$

Overall: A quite courtyard away from the highway.

Location: 44 Princes Hwy, Mogo NSW 2536 Ph: 02  4474 3389  www.courtyardcafemogo.com.au
Reviewed in March, 2013


Taste of Eden

 

DT@Taste of Eden - Eden#3

Unlike the nearby restaurants and cafes at Snug Cove in Eden’s historic port area, The Taste of Eden is just a bit further removed to have clear views of the fishing trawlers lining the jetty. The cafe is bright and cheerful and feels as though it should be right on the beach as it’s decked out in pale yellows and blues. We’re the only patrons this particular afternoon and so have the place to ourselves. The scones look promising, sitting pretty on the counter, but arrive rather exposed at the table already sliced in half like little cakes. They are dry and quite unappetising to say the least, and the mediocre jam and the light cream dissolves on my knife. Don’t let it stop you taking a stroll or doing the things you do in a fishing town – eating fish ‘n’ chips!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The nautical touches are inline with the theme in Eden.

Location: Shop 4, Snug Cove, Eden NSW 2551 Ph: 02 6496 1304
Reviewed in February, 2013

Poppy’s Courtyard Cafe


DT@Poppy's Cafe-Merimbula#4

Merimbula reminds me of the southern suburbs of the Gold Coast back in the 70s and 80s; low-key with a lot of touristy attractions to keep families amused. As far as the south coast of NSW goes, it’s pretty buzzy, getting a lot of business from Victorians. Poppy’s Cafe has a shady garden and sits across the road from the bay, and the day I visit, is the quietest than some of the other cafes. I am surprised to find scones on the menu as it is a beach resort, and I can’t imagine finding scones in Burleigh Heads. The scones are quite good and fresh and just the right size. The jam portion, although okay quality, is so insufficient I have to go back and ask for more. The cream is also too light and because it’s gearing up to be a hot day, started melting.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A limited choice of teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A lovely garden with a water view.

Location: Merimbula Plaza, Market St, Merimbula NSW 2548 Ph: 02 6495 1110
Reviewed in February, 2013