The Lounge

DT@Lilianfels-Katoomba#6

Just driving through the gates of this beautiful property is enough to transport you in to another world. I arrive late in the day, just in time to take scones and tea in The Lounge, a cosy open area looking out through French doors in to the garden. It’s late on a Friday afternoon, so not particularly busy, but I still have a long wait for my tea. Actually, my well-sized pot of tea arrives about 15 minutes after my scones, and I try to wait as long as possible before digging in to the quality spread before me. The staff is welcoming and friendly, and helps create a relaxed atmosphere if you’re not used to opulent surrounds. I am served a plain and sultana scone which are both warm and delectable. To top it off the strawberry jam is rich and fruity and tastes homemade, and the double thick cream is almost clotted. In the higher price range, this Devonshire Tea matched with the surrounds is definitely worth it.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A good tea menu including blacks, green and herbal loose-leaf teas served in a silver teapot with another teapot of hot water.

Price: $$$

Overall: A cosy calming ambience with a touch of 5-star class.

Location: Lilianfels Ave, Katoomba NSW 2780 Ph: 02 4780 1200  www.lilianfels.com.au
Reviewed in May, 2013

Cafe Zuppa

DT@Cuppa Zuppa-Katoomba

It’s a warm sunny day in May in The Blue mountains is something to cherish, and it’s only fitting that we should sit outside during our visit to Café Zuppa, directly opposite of the Carrington Hotel. It’s Mothers Day so there are lots of families enjoying a celebratory brunch. I order my scones inside and notice a sizeable slab of them sitting in the cake counter covered in gladwrap, so I’m not sure how long they’ve been there. I enjoy the balmy weather and sip on green tea, watching a busy Sunday world go by. The scones arrive with a couple of portion-controlled servings of jam and a small amount of very aerated whipped cream. The scones are way too crumbly and I leave half of them behind on my plate.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A variety of black and a few herbal Twinings tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Love this end of Katoomba street with a bird’s eye view of the Carrington Hotel.

Location: 36 Katoomba St, Katoomba NSW 2780 Ph: 02 4782 9247
Reviewed in May, 2013

Bakehouse on Wentworth

DT@Bakehouse on Wentworth-Blackheath#2

Just because the Bakehouse on Wentworth is tucked away along a quiet residential street in Blackheath, doesn’t mean that it’s lacking trade. On the contrary, the little bakehouse famous for its organic sourdough bread and gourmet pies is humming. If the weather is fine, take a seat in the front courtyard or when the winter chill sets in, there’s lots of room indoors. If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, you’ll love the cakes and tarts, absolutely delicious! I am loading up on calories before I hit the Grand Canyon Circuit that leaves from Evans Lookout, so I am glad when I realise the Bakehouse does a Devonshire Tea. The scones are okay, but are a bit dry and a tad salty, and aren’t served with enough jam or cream. I’m not a fan of the portion-controlled jams and the cream is too light and aerated for my taste. I didn’t bother to ask for more jam and cream, and I am sure the friendly relaxed staff would be more than happy to oblige. Check out the Bakehouse’s other outlets at Glenbrook, Leura and Springbrook.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of tea bag teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A quieter option away from the main part of Blackheath.

Location: 105 Wentworth St, Blackheath NSW 2785 Ph: 02 4787 6744 www.bakehouseonwentworth.com.au
Reviewed in May, 2013

The Tea Room

DT@The Tearoom at NGV International - Melbourne

I must admit, I am a bit short of time so I make a beeline for the Tea Room only glancing at an art installation being set up in the lobby. A bit naughty I know, but I was told I had to try the scones. The first thing I notice about the Tea Room, is exactly that, it feels like a tea room rather than just another gallery cafe. Mid week allows me to walk right on in and I have a choice of where I want to sit. Cocooned in a comfortable chair in the corner I feel warm and cosy. The Devonshire Tea is served with a black tea – a combination of Good Morning Tea and Melbourne Breakfast Tea – but since I am a non-black tea drinker I ask if I can choose from the menu. I am told that since it is quiet, it’s not a problem, so I opt for a white tea. The scones are good, but are a little salty and have a slight aftertaste. Considering the hefty price tag and the rave review a Melburnian friend gave me, I hate to say it but I am a bit disappointed (with the scones). The jam is pretty standard and the cream double thick. I ask for more jam and the waiter insists I take some extra cream as well – impeccable service.  And next time, I’ll make sure I have enough time to wander through the gallery.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: An incredible variety of loose-leaf teas on the menu but included in the Devonshire Tea is a combination of Good Morning Tea and Melbourne Breakfast Tea.

Price: $$$

Overall: Finally a cafe that lives up to its name as a Tea Room.

Location: NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Southbank, VIC 3006 Ph: 03 8620 2444
Reviewed in May, 2013

The Terrace Tea Rooms

DT@The Terrace Tea Rooms-Melbourne#3

A stroll through the Botanical Gardens in any city without having to dodge vehicles is a welcome respite and a great way to relax in the urban environment. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is no different, and I relish being surrounded by lush foliage and duck and swan filled lakes. The Terrace Tea Rooms are perfectly placed by Ornamental Lake. The venue has a large seating capacity both indoors and out and I can only imagine that it’s a popular spot on weekends. It’s a serve yourself cafeteria style set up, with plates of scones, jam and cream set up like sentinels along the counter. I load my tea and scones on to a tray and take a table with the best lake view I can find. I am pleasantly surprised that the scones taste so good considering they are cold and sitting uncovered, but it is only lunchtime. Soft and fluffy, the scones are well worth the stop, but slightly warmed up would be better. The cream is thickly whipped, with plenty of it and the jam to go around. I can understand why they need so much space!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of Temple Tea Co loose-leaf tea in teabags.

Price: $$

Overall: Surrounded by nature with a serene view of Ornamental Lake.

Location: Royal Botanic Gardens, Corner Alexandra Ave & Anderson St, St Kilda VIC 3182 
Ph: 03 9820 9590
Reviewed in May, 2013

Crossbar Cafe

DT@Crossbar Cafe - NGV - Melbourne#2

My vanilla sencha T2 tea goes down a treat after my flight from Sydney. I am at the National Gallery of Victoria in Federation Square, and have a chuckle at the Mix Tape 1980s exhibition that reminds me of my youth. I am mesmerised by the footage of bands such as the Go Gos and INXS and their Countdown performances. On the same floor I find Crossbar Cafe, a bright corner to take a break from the art. When I visit they have a menu that reflects the 80s – I didn’t realise we had food relating to that era – so if you must, have your Quiche Lorraine and Tuna Bake. They serve scones singularly here, but you can add to the order if you like. My scone has the texture of a bread roll with a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. There is an ample amount of jam and cream for one scone, which is a bonus, and I’m happy with the double thick cream but the jam is a cheap variety.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A good variety of T2 loose-leaf tea teabags served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A pleasant place to take a break from the art.

Location: The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne VIC 3000 Ph: 03 8620 2222
Reviewed in April, 2013