Peppermints

DT@Peppermints - Glen Innes#2

From the outside, Peppermints in downtown Glen Innes looks rather cool and I expect an ice cream parlour with booths inside. Instead it’s a cafe with a pretty paint job on the outside and an even prettier name. I prop myself up at the bar at the window so I can people watch. An old farmer pulls out with a cattle dog tied to the back of his Ute, just as a souped up Holden Ute sporting a shiny set of hunting lights and an even brasher number plate pulls up out front – I am surprised to see a woman step out from behind the wheel. Meanwhile my scones arrive looking pretty good. They taste a little over microwaved and chewy, but have potential. The jam is average and the cream is very light and airy like it’s out of a can. I must say I do enjoy the loose-leaf tea which sometimes is few and far between.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: An ordinary cafe with a cool name.

Location: 215 Grey St, Glen Innes NSW 2370 Ph: 02 6732 5914
Reviewed in October, 2013

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The Super Strawberry

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If you are arriving in Glen Innes from the south, its hard not to miss the giant Super Strawberry sign on the right hand side of the New England Highway. The little cafe/giftshop sells all things strawberry and then some. The trays of fresh strawberries laid out on the counter smell wonderful and make you want to buy kilos of them. If you’re in the market for some jam, there are shelves of them plus chocolates, free-range eggs and trinkety giftware. Sit inside in the cosy cafe or outside under the trees in warmer weather, or do takeaway. I’m a little disappointed when my Devonshire Tea arrives. The plastic plate and knife, and the paper takeaway cup is a dead giveaway that visitors drop in and stay just as long as it takes to pick up strawberry supplies. A shame for those who want a more permanent experience, as the cream and jam are top-notch. They are so good that I could happily just eat the two mixed together. The scones are better than average but with more inferior jam and cream the slightly over-microwaved flavour would be more evident.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of teabags served in a large takeaway paper cup.

Price: $$

Overall: A handy stop to pick up super fresh strawberries.

Location: 9922 New England Highway, Glen Innes NSW 2370 Ph: 02 6732 1210
www.superstrawberry.com.au
Reviewed in October, 2013

Jojo’s On Bradley

DT@Jo Jo's on Bradleys-Guyra

Although most of NSW is sweltering and on fire, today the temperature in Guyra is barely hitting 12 degrees. The town is one of the highest in Australia, sitting at 1,330 metres above sea level and boasting the highest caravan park in the country (no doubt a big selling point for the caravan park). To visit the town proper, you have to veer off the New England Highway and head over the railway line, otherwise it’s a blink and miss type of place, especially if you are on a mission heading north or south. There are quite a few cafes, but I stick with the first one I see. It’s quite an eccentric place. The decor is a mish mash of rubber thongs and shoes, sunglasses, jams, soaps and knitted babies clothes. Do babies still wear knitted clothes? The owner is chatting loudly with a group of ladies and when they leave he makes a beeline for us, telling us about his extensive car collection. I wonder how he ended up running this shop in Guyra? The scones arrive looking rather over microwaved. We’re told they are made from quinoa, wholemeal flour, chai, sultanas and something else. It sounds unappealing but it actually works. Not great, but interesting. The cream is a bit sweet and very light, and tastes like it’s out of a can. Although interesting jams are for sale, unfortunately they aren’t used in the Devonshire Tea.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A few varieties of inexpensive teabags served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Country quirk.

Location: 126 Bradley St, Guyra NSW 2365 Ph: 02 6779 1759
Reviewed in October, 2013

The Old Bell Tower

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Situated in a converted old church, The Old Bell Tower Café is just as much a gift shop as a café. Chock-a-block full of different styles of giftware and currently, cool Christmas decorations, you can do some shopping after indulging having a bite to eat. Either sit indoors at the jumble of tables in the corner (the rest is the kitchen and shelves of goodies to buy) or in the leafy and flower filled courtyard out the back. Also handy is the carpark out the back that leads straight in to the courtyard. You can order a half or full serve of the lemonade scones, depending on how hungry you are. Although the jam and cream are on the ordinary side, the scones are exceptional; tasty, light and fluffy. The website says that they sell ‘old wares’ and ‘antiques’, but to be honest, my partner and I didn’t really see any (we’ve been scouring places for old wares for years). Everything looked new, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t there. If you drop by make sure you have a really good poke around.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A good variety of T2 loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$

Overall: A good vibe and a place to pick up a gift or trinket.

Location: 152 Marius St, Tamworth NSW 2340 Ph: 02 6761 2785  www.theoldbelltower.net.au
Reviewed in October, 2013

The Quirindi Coffee Pot

DT@Quirindi Coffee Pot#

Quirindi, a quiet country town west of the New England Highway is even quieter on a Sunday morning. But, the most important business in town for me, The Quirindi Coffee Pot, is open for trade. Sitting on the pavement enjoying what little traffic there is, is a tad more interesting than the narrow cafe inside. There are plain and date scones on offer, and you can choose between half or full serves (1 or two scones), which is a great idea if you are after a snack rather than a meal. I go with the date variety, and it is surprisingly good. The scones are tasty, with chunks of dates and are fresh and fluffy. It’s so good that I wish I had ordered the full serve. Unfortunately the let down is the packet of jam, and although the cream is freshly whipped it’s pretty light. Love the tea cosy. I’ve tried 250 plus Devonshire Teas and this is only the third place that puts tea cosies on their teapots. Daggy for some? Maybe so, but it tops it off beautifully! Be sure to check out the quirky coffee percolators in the window.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A variety of tea served in a big pot with tea cosy to keep it warm.

Price: $$

Overall: A worthwhile stop if you are passing through.

Location: 254 George St, Quirindi NSW 2343 Ph: 02 6746 2346
Reviewed in October, 2013

Expresso Bar @ David Jones Foodhall

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Finding a cafe that serves scones is like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. With time to spare between appointments I decide to try to sniff out some scones in the David Jones Foodhall in Market Street. After pinning for London over tins of Harrods and Fortnum & Mason teas, I locate what I’m looking for at Expresso Bar, a European style coffee bar opposite a cake shop with cabinets loaded with decadent cakes and pastries. Although outside, the mercury is nudging the mid 30s, I’m as cool as a cucumber and late enough to miss the lunchtime crowds. There is no set ‘Devonshire Tea’ on the menu but rather, you can order as many scones as you like at $3.00 a pop and that includes the cream and jam, plus add a tea, or coffee for that matter, after all it is an ‘Expresso Bar’. With plain and sultana scones to choose from, I go with the plain, and although not mind-blowing, it’s light and tasty – just the right texture without making you feel like you’ve eaten a horse. The miniature jar of Beerenberg raspberry jam is the perfect amount for one scone, but the cream tastes like it’s straight from the can, too light, too airy and not enough by a long shot – unless you’re on a diet that is.

Scones: 

Jam:

Cream: 

Tea: A choice of a bunch of Twining’s tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A busy thoroughfare with great people watching possibilities.

Location: David Jones, 65-77 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9266 5544
www.davidjones.com.au/Store-Services/Food/Food-hall
Reviewed in October, 2013

The French Trader General Store

DT@French Trader General Store#2I love stumbling upon unknown cafes that serve scones. Venturing down the quiet end of Leura Mall, past the second roundabout, I almost trip over the sign saying scones and homemade jam. I must admit, I’ve never noticed the French Traders General Store before. Hidden behind a white picket fence and luscious gardens, it’s easy to bypass the cute timber cottage and the spring garden littered with tables and chairs.  The owners are fans of French provincial homewares and the cottage’s rooms are laden with great gift ideas. It’s warm so I join the, what sounds like thousands of insects, in the garden to take my tea and scones. I’m spoilt with a gorgeous green tea from Provence, but later am told it’s not on the menu, but is a purchase from one of the trips to France. Today the scones are made with a lemon zest that suits the spring weather. Fresh and robust, it’s a good idea to skip lunch to leave room for these. The homemade strawberry jam is superb – tasty and fruity, and the cream, although light, is freshly whipped. A relaxing place to escape the Mall when the weekend hordes descend upon it.

Scones: 

Jam:

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: A magical garden and cosy cottage filled with French provincial goodies for sale.

Location: 198 Leura Mall, Leura NSW 2780 Ph: 0429 422 407
Reviewed in September, 2013