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