Cafe Bon Ton

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I’ve always neglected to check the French influenced bistro, Cafe Bon Ton, for scones. So it was by chance one day when passing that I see ‘Devonshire Teas’ scribbled up on the blackboard – risky business considering there’s at least another six cafes doing scones in Leura. But, not all places are equal, and sometimes I wonder why establishments bother serving mediocre scones. Rest assured it’s definitely not the case at Cafe Bon Ton. Housed in a splendid 1917 historic building, with an inviting leafy garden for the warmer months, the place is sophisticated yet cosy inside, and includes a few tables in a glass atrium that leads out to the courtyard. The scones are big, and look delicious, although they have a slight ‘been in the microwave for too long’ taste. The jam is quite good and even hints as homemade, but a tad runny, and I liken it to jam I have made. But the star of the show, the crème de la crème of the Devonshire Tea, is the clotted cream. I make the mistake of trying to spread it on top of my jam – no go – it’s so thick I can’t get it off my knife.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A good variety of loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$$

Overall: The shady garden is a gem for summer outdoor dining.

Location:  192 Leura Mall, Leura NSW 2780 Ph: 02 4782 4377 www.bonton.com.au
Reviewed in November, 2013

The Sconery

DT@The Sconery-Chippendale#4

With a name like The Sconery, you know there’s going to be scones on the menu. Well, there are scones, but you won’t find them on the menu. Instead, the plain, raisin, and white chocolate and cranberry scones are stacked high on a cake plate, so there’s no mistaking them, even on approach. Tucked away in Chippendale, in between busy City Road, Cleveland Street and Broadway, The Sconery doesn’t attract passing traffic, unless it’s a local – or someone in the know, like myself (a friend told me about it). Adjacent to a leafy park, it has tables spilling out into a front courtyard, which is lovely if you don’t want to sit indoors. I go traditional and order a plain scone, which is a good size and dense. I am told that a lot of people ask for scone toast, which is basically the scone cut in half and both sides are put in a toaster press, mmm, odd. The British owner, Jason, is a pastry chef and runs scone and cupcake baking classes on the premises and tells me he makes the clotted cream and the strawberry/raspberry jam. The clotted cream is definitely a nice touch – impressive.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A few choices of loose-leaf tea.

Price: $$

Overall: A hidden spot away from the mayhem.

Location: 71/65 Myrtle St, Chippendale NSW 2008 www.thesconery.com.au


Reviewed in November, 2013

The Bakers Oven Cafe

DT@The Bakers Oven Cafe - The Rocks

Nothing beats a stroll through Sydney’s historic heartland, The Rocks, filled with cobbled walkways, classic pubs and shops geared to tourists. There are a multitude of eateries, which in the most part are overpriced and geared to the tourist market. The Bakers Oven Cafe’s large shop window stacked with cakes and pastries has been wooing passersby for longer than I can remember. Recently I noticed their stack of scones so decide to give it a try. The cafe has been spruced up and now has footpath seating out the front and quite a large area spilling on to the Nurses Walk out the back. The wholemeal and sultana scones are served with jam and butter, so I ask for cream and am quickly told it’s an extra $2.50. There really isn’t a choice in the matter, there has to be scones, jam and cream, so I order away. You can sense a tourist cafe a mile off, and I have my misgivings. The large single scone arrives cut and toasted, with sachets of butter, one sachet of jam (I ask for one more) and a bowl of cream. The scone is disappointing, more fruit bread with an aftertaste than soft fluffy scone, and my $2.50 bowl of spray can cream is melting at such a fast rate I need a straw. My underwhelming, I am being polite here, Devonshire Tea ends up coming in at $13.50, which is a rip off considering the quality and quantity.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A handful of Lipton tea bag choices.

Price: $$$

Overall: Overpriced and underwhelming.

Location: 121 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9247 9978
Reviewed in November, 2013

Cafe Gabby

DT@House of Gabriel - Tumbulgum#2

It’s easy to miss Tumbulgum, not only is it now bypassed by the new Pacific Highway, the historic village is also a short diversion off the Coolongatta to Murwillumbah road. But as soon as we see the House of Gabriel up ahead there’s a collective sigh of excitement in the car, and we’re glad we’ve made the effort. The imposing 100-year-old building houses a responsibly priced gift shop which doubles up as an art gallery, and Cafe Gabby. Most tables in the gorgeous semi covered pretty courtyard and verandah offer extensive views toward lush green hills and the Tweed River flows by out front. The place is a big hit with my friends, with one even asking whether she could buy the homemade forest berry jam because it’s so unique. The scones are fresh and crispy on the outside and just the right size for a snack. The cream arrives looking very impressive; thickly whipped with a shard of dark chocolate to add a twist of difference.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Woolworths tea bags stored in Madura Tea tins, served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A surprisingly superb find.

Location: House of Gabriel, 106 Riverside Dr, Tumbulgum NSW 2490 Ph: 02 6676 6477 
www.houseofgabriel.com
Reviewed in November, 2013

Utopia Cafe Restaurant

DT@Utopia Cafe Restaurant - Bangalow#2

The heritage village of Bangalow has come a long way in the last 20 years. Littered with cafes and stylish gift shops, the sleepy village has preserved its charm considering the region’s rapid rise to tourist mecca. Utopia Cafe Restaurant, housed in a heritage building with high pressed metal ceilings and timber floors, is decked out in mellow whites and shades of yellow. It feels very crisp, clean and spring-like and the kitchen uses the best local ingredients from the Northern Rivers region. The scones are served singularly, so you can order as many or as little as you’d like, and if they are anything like the day I visit you may want to go for the plural as they’re soft and fluffy, the perfect scone texture and taste. The homemade peach jam is not only unusual but doesn’t taste sickly sweet and paired with the freshly whipped slightly sweet cream, is a match made in heaven.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A few varieties of loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$

Overall: A cool choice in charming Bangalow.

Location: 13 Byron St, Bangalow NSW 2479 Ph: 02 6687 2088 www.utopiacafe.com.au
Reviewed in November, 2013

Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe

DT@The Lighthouse Cafe - Byron Bay#

The highlight of any visit to Byron Bay is no doubt the coastal walk to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Passing some of the regions most expensive real estate, the walk along Clarkes Beach, through surf hotspot – The Pass, and Wategoes Beach, is an ideal way to approach Australia’s most easterly point. The views are undeniably spectacular, and depending on your timing it’s a viewing platform for migrating whales and pods of dolphins. If you can’t manage to rent the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters for a night or two, the next best thing is to spend a few hours at The Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe – the views are mesmerising. I can’t say the scones, jam and cream are a match for the million-dollar views. I mean really – paper cups, plate and plastic knife? The wholemeal dates scones are average, but I actually don’t mind them. My company, four discerning foodies, are not happy – way too microwaved is their unanimous reply. I, on the other hand, am more concerned about my initial serve (not pictured here) that came with one portion packet of jam and a squirt of can cream right onto the plate. At least the next few plates arrive looking a tad more decent, but it’s still the sweet synthetic cream sprayed from a can and the jam is still less than ordinary. The tea is also NOT Madura, like the tins on the shelf suggest. I even asked and was told it was Madura Estate tea (local) – clearly not by the look of the tag on my tea bag. Do go for the view, and try their other goodies.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A few varieties of tea bags served in a take away cup.

Price: $$

Overall: You can’t beat the magnificent view.

Location: Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay NSW 2481 Ph: 0413 419 435
www.capebyronlighthousecafe.com.au
Reviewed in November, 2013

Polly’s Country Kitchen

DT@Polly's Country Kitchen - Mudgereeba#

On the road to Springwood in the Gold Coast’s hinterland, Polly’s Country Kitchen spruiks its fresh-baked scones to lure in passersby. The old-style music, plastic chairs and tablecloths make for an unpretentious cafe in a region that pretense is everything. The menu oozes simple comfort food and their homemade scones reflect this. Surrounded by extensive well-kept lawns, it’s also a wedding venue and has a casual undercover dining area down by the gurgling stream. I love how my scones are served on a breadboard – very homey and they taste as fresh as the sign promises. The jam and cream are nothing extraordinary, but the scones are the highlight here. And the ‘too’ friendly kookaburras, which have made it their mission to share your meal.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety served in a good-sized pot

Price: $$

Overall: A relaxed cafe far from the Gold Coast crowds.

Location: 1024 Springbrook Rd, Neranwood QLD 4213 Ph: 07 5530 3400
www.pollyscountrykitchen.com 
Reviewed in November, 2013

The Old Teahouse Gallery

DT@The Old Teahouse Gallery - Mudgereeba, Gold Coast#3As soon as we sit down, a tray of small jars containing black, green, fruit blends and herbal loose-leaf tea arrives for us to sniff and select. We’ve barely gotten over our first impressions of the wonderfully kept old Queenslander when our senses are overwhelmed, intrigued and duly impressed by the choice of tea. There’s plenty of room with tables out the back, on the front verandah and scattered in the garden, and by the sounds of things it can and does, get mighty busy. It’s easy to understand why as it’s the perfect setting for tea and scones, and I almost feel I could be in exotic colonial Africa or Asia. The little touches; the dainty teacups and teapots, and my friend comments on the use of wine glasses for water, makes for a lovely experience. Choose from either the traditional plain scones, date served with butter, or ginger scones served with ginger conserve. I try both the plain and ginger, and if you’re a ginger fan, you’ll like them. The scones taste fresh and buttery but are quite small – perfect for a High Tea, but not substantial enough for a Devonshire Tea, and, both my friend and I agree, could be better. The raspberry jam is thick and rich and the freshly whipped cream has been cooled in the fridge so it far from slides off your knife – nice! Opening hours are limited to Friday from 11am to 2.30pm, and Saturday/Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$$

Overall: An impressive setting reminiscent of historic times.

Location: 7 Johns Rd/ Springbrook Rd, Mudgeeraba QLD 4213 Ph: 07 5525 3053
www.theoldteahousegallery.com
Reviewed in November, 2013

Teavine House

DT@TeaVine - Tallebudgeera Valley#

The Tallebudgera Valley is the perfect backdrop for tea and scones, and what better place to have them then Teavine House. Teavine House is airy and open, the serene setting is exactly what you would expect somewhere semi tropical like the Gold Coast. There’s a small verandah along the front, otherwise indoor is perfectly comfortable; high ceilings, decor in cool whites and timber floors – you can see why it’s a favourite wedding venue. The intimate marquee out on the back lawn is lovely, and a visit to the bathroom is an interesting trip in itself. Shoppers will enjoy the on site boutique and tea lovers the choice of teas. I potter around the restaurant looking in glass cabinets and admire the myriad cups and saucers, loving the blue polka dot ensemble that lands at my place on the table. Initially, my friend and I share a Devonshire Tea, but it’s so good that we order another. A perfect size for that ‘in-between’ snack, the scones are soft and fluffy and slightly crispy on the outside. The rich raspberry jam and freshly whipped thick cream are the perfect accompaniment.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A large selection of loose-leaf teas served in a cute teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: It should be called ‘Divine House’. 

Location: 268 Tallebudgera Creek Rd, Tallebudgera QLD 4228 Ph: 07 5533 9889
www.teavinehouse.com.au
Reviewed in November, 2013

CreativiTea

DT@CreativiTea-Broadbeach#2

You wouldn’t think to find a tea room in the middle of a popular beachside shopping mall on the Gold Coast. CreativiTea is a combination lunch cafe/tea room that specialises in High Teas, Devonshire Teas and any sweet something you may be hankering for. The extensive tea menu is bound to have something you haven’t tried, with the homeware shop on the premises stocking many of the teas. We’re lucky to have a table with a view, although it only overlooks a cafe and kiddies playground on the mall, it’s a view nonetheless. The crockery isn’t the dainty kind you’d expect in a tea room, but the fauna and flora prints and cute teapot definitely add the feminine touches. The scones are fluffy but slightly dry, if that’s possible, the Grainge jam tasty and the cream thick. Overall, my tasting companion and I decide, for the price, it could be better. If you’re in the market for a new teapot or cups and saucers, you’ll be happy with the range.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A vast selection of all types of loose-leaf tea served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: If you need tea and tea pots, this is the place.

Location: Level 1, The Oasis Shopping Centre, Broadbeach QLD 4218 Ph: 07 5527 6676 www.creativitea.com.au
Reviewed in November, 2013