The House of Herbs and Roses

DT@The House of Herbs and Roses#4

If you see the Devonshire Tea sign on the side of the road, stop, as you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised from what lies behind the front door. After a browse in the well-priced homeware store, make your way to the dining area out the back and take your time to peruse the extensive and quirky tea menu. I try the ‘Once Upon a Time’ tea – an eclectic combination of mint, vanilla and rooibos tea with choc pieces, and my companion the ‘Congo Bongo’ – mango and coconut black tea. The quirky tea menu aside, the whole shebang is sensational! A proper teacup and saucer, makes all the difference, as does the fresh flowers on the table. The jam is better than your average Cottee’s variety and the Chantilly cream is just about right, however a bigger serving of both would be better. The stars of the show of course are the scones – and so they should be! They are light, creamy and fluffy – just absolutely divine.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A fabulous and unusual selection of loose-leaf teas served in a small pot will hot water top ups available.

Price: $$

Overall: Simply sensational! Don’t judge the front of the property for what’s out the back!

Location:  745 Old Northern Rd, Dural NSW 2158 Ph: 02 9651 1027  
Reviewed in April, 2013
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Mother Earth Cafe

DT@Mother Earth-Kenthurst#3

The term ‘Mother Earth’ conjures up thoughts of lentil burgers and carob brownies so when I turn up at Mother Earth Cafe; I find a pleasant cafe and small plant nursery. The yurt type building that houses the cafe is supposedly made out of mud brick and is covered with dirt and grass and a spectacularly placed strip of glass allows a rush of water to constantly flow over the roof dumping its contents in to a pond. Definitely want one of those! It’s Sunday so the outdoor seating area, although extensive, is almost full and I am told that there is a bit of a wait for food. My scones are the last serve available and they come out of the freezer. I should have ditched the mission and moved on then and there but decide to give them a try. The service is friendly but my scones aren’t great, having a slightly unpleasant taste. The jam and cream are very ordinary and the cream light and watery. I must admit the Paddington Tea green tea is lovely.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of Paddington Tea (bags) served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely outdoor setting but I love the grassy roof and waterfall over the mud brick building.

Location: 1A Annangrove Rd, Kenthurst NSW 2156 Ph: 02 9654 1423
Reviewed in April, 2013

Geranium Cottage Nursery and Cafe

DT@Geranium Cottage - Middle Dural#2

Perhaps I am hungry today – but I have to confess  – these scones make it on to my ‘top pick’ list.  Sitting out in the courtyard rather than on the enclosed deck of the cottage, is the best way to capture a bright and clear autumns day. Although the waitress is run off her feet, the delectable scones arrive fairly promptly. They are piping hot; slightly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with a distinct creamy texture and flavour. The cream is whipped to perfection – thick and rich, which leaves the typical supermarket jam the weakest link. I could easily devour a second serve as they are ever so light and more-ish. The cafe also has a definite ‘older’ adult feel to it and is extremely popular so make sure you book for meal times. Don’t forget to have a browse through the small plant nursery out the front and there’s also some local jam and Mudgee honey for sale. There’s a 10 per cent price hike on weekends and public holidays, but it’s already factored into the prices on the menu.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: Some of the best scones in Sydney!

Location: 828 Old Northern Rd, Middle Dural NSW 2158 Ph: 02 9652 0475
www.geraniumcottage.com.au
Reviewed in April, 2013

The Loft Cafe

DT@The Loft Cafe - Macquarie Centre

I’m not a fan of shopping malls, but today’s inclement weather has driven me indoors. Spying a cafe not too far from but on the same floor as the cinema, I decide to take my chances with the fruit and plain scones I see sitting on top of the counter. I order one fruit scone as they are fairly big and it arrives sliced open like a bread roll. I ask for a second portion of jam, which the waitress happily dispenses, but wonder why I am even bothering with the calories, as it’s tasteless and dry, and the few random sultanas imbedded in the dry bread like texture only give it a hint of flavour. The light and airy cream doesn’t help either.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of loose-leaf teas in a small pot.

Price: $

Overall: Steer clear and pop in to T2 Teahouse down the hall instead.

Location: Macquarie Centre, Level 4, Shop 427, 422/1 Waterloo Rd, Macquarie Park NSW 2113 Ph: 02 9870 7900
Reviewed in April, 2013

Cafe@Crago Mill

DT@Cafe @Crago mill - Bathurst#3

Opening its doors a few months ago, the 100-year-old historic Crago Mill has been revived and restored to now house antiques, collectibles, jewellery, a winery cellar door and a cafe. Located close to the train station rather than in the town centre, the old mill sits at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac near the Bathurst railyards. The service is relaxed and friendly, as it should be on the western side of the Great Diving Range, and the scones fresh. My companion agrees that the scones are delightful; creamy, soft and fluffy, although I’m a little annoyed that they arrive already halved. The jam is acceptable and the cream freshly whipped, with ample amounts of both. If I were lingering over conversation I would ask for extra hot water for my pot as there is only enough for a small cup. Make sure to browse while you wait.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A selection of loose-leaf teas served in a too small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Chilled out space in an historic flour mill.

Location: 2A Piper St, Bathurst NSW 2795 Ph: 02 6334 2003
Reviewed in April, 2013

The Rock Coffee Shop & Pancake House

DT@The Rock Coffee Shop and Pancake House-Orange

I realise pretty soon after pulling up a pew at The Rock Coffee Shop that the connotation of the cafe’s name leans quite heavily towards all matters of faith. The music filtering out of the speakers is religious rock and the adjoining gift shop is full of coloured glass chalices, ornamental crucifixes and prayer books. I even spy Scott Stapp’s memoir (the lead singer of Creed) on the shelf. Once I get over my surrounds, I get stuck in to the scones. I try both the date and plain varieties, with the date scone definitely the tastier and fresh and the plain bread-like with an unpleasant aftertaste. The strawberry jam is ordinary and the light cream is sweet and dissolves quickly once on the scone.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: It’s not church but heavy on faith.

Location: 131 Summer St, Orange NSW 2800 Ph: 02 6360 0044
Reviewed in April, 2013

Blue Box Cafe & Patisserie

DT@Blue Box Cafe & Patisserie

Kurrajong village off the busy Bells Line of Road, is a quiet haven nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Mountains and is has a few shops worth a look through. With only a few dining options available, we find the buzzing Blue Box Cafe & Patisserie, which has scones on their specials board. There’s a choice of seating; outside on the footpath, inside and also on the small area on the back deck that has views of the distant foothills over the immediate backyards. As it’s Easter, there’s a tray of homemade hot cross buns in the cake cabinet that look delicious, but I opt for the scones. It’s a bit of a wait for our drinks as it is the Easter long weekend after all. The scones look good but are a bit dry and my partner thinks they are too salty. The whipped fresh cream is too light for me and although the strawberry jam is better than most, they’re a bit frugal with the servings of both. Butter is also served, which is probably why there’s so little jam and cream.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Six varieties of loose-leaf tea served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely cafe with views from the back deck.

Location: 79 Old Bells Line of Rd, Kurrajong NSW 2758 Ph: 02 4573 2286
Reviewed in March, 2013