Lindsay’s Cafe

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The late Norman Lindsay’s work as an artist, sculptor, writer and cartoonist is splendidly preserved and presented at his former home in Faulconbridge. The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is home to the Magic Pudding and various other works, with the sandstone cottage and landscaped gardens now run by the National Trust. It’s an interesting foray for art lovers as well as those interested in sneaking a peek into the former artist’s decadent lifestyle. Perusing artwork and wandering through museums and gardens is tiring business, so how convenient is Lindsay’s Cafe then? Situated just where you need it – at the edge of the beautifully manicured and extensive gardens. The Devonshire Tea, although simple in presentation, offers a good balance of tasty scones, although I do detect a sweet aftertaste, and enough freshly whipped cream raspberry jam. The jam is good enough and the proportions of jam and cream to scones is perfect. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon in the lower mountains, but take note that the cafe can get very busy on weekends, so time your visit.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$$

Overall: A relaxing hidden enclave.

Location: The Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum, 12 Norman Lindsay Cres, Faulconbridge NSW 2776
Ph: 02 4751 9611 www.lindsayscafe.com.au


Reviewed April, 2014

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Nessie’s Daffodil Tearoom

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If it wasn’t for the heavy Easter Sunday traffic through the Blue Mountains, I might not have made the diversion from the Great Western Highway at Lawson and made the stop at Rick Rutherford’s Country. I spot the Devonshire Tea sign pretty quickly and was in Badger House before my partner could protest. The cottage, Badger House (read the history on the back of the menu), is chock-a-block full of feminine knick knacks including homeware, kitchen and tea ware, soaps, basically the ultimate country-style giftware shop including a whole room dedicated to Christmas decorations. I am in seventh heaven, as I love tea cups and tea pots, and in Nessie’s Daffodil Tearoom you are totally surrounded by all these goodies. The host is Rick Rutherford himself, charming and welcoming, he makes you feel comfortable at once with his easy conversation and genuine warmth. The shop is extremely cluttered with goods and I find it difficult to concentrate on the menu as my senses are overloaded. In addition to the Devonshire Tea, on offer are High Teas and a small choice of cakes and slices. The scones are a perfect snack size, but would be much better warmed as cool they taste slightly dry. The strawberry jam is average but the cream is cool and freshly whipped – lovely.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A good range of loose-leaf tea from the Blue Mountain Tea Company.

Price: $$

Overall: A cosy tearoom surrounded by a giftware haven.

Location: ‘Badger House’, 3 Badgery Cres, Lawson NSW 2783 Ph: 02 4759 3434
rickrutherford.com


Reviewed April, 2014

Studley Park Boathouse

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Only a 10-minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Studley Park Boathouse is a hidden gem. Surrounded by bushland, it’s the perfect city escape even if you only have an hour or so to spare. The pretty leafy parkland is a treat for picnickers, and for those who want to burn some calories can hire a rowboat, canoe or kayak and paddle along the Yarra River. Established in 1863, the boathouse offers a few dining options; restaurant, cafe and kiosk, which cater for every budget and/or occasion. For a Devonshire Tea, the kiosk is a safe bet as it’s open daily. It’s a pay and collect system, and the scones are served in a cardboard box with plastic utensils. This may not be appealing to some but the scones are sensational. Freshly baked, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it punches well above what I had expected. I find the cardboard box quite rustic, what I don’t find appealing is the portion controlled jams. The quality is better than the Allowrie brand, but still. The whipped cream is fresh but a tad light, and there isn’t much of it. If the scones weren’t so darn good, it could easily be a failure.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: A great place to be on a warm sunny day.

Location: 1 Boathouse Rd, Kew VIC 3101 Ph: 03 9853 1828 www.studleyparkboathouse.com.au 


Reviewed April, 2014

West Beach Bathers Pavilion

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The view from West Beach in St Kilda is a bit like the one from the shoreline of Botany Bay in Sydney; functional rather than pretty. The Port of Melbourne is touted as the busiest port for containerised and general cargo in Australia, so it’s hardly surprising that ships and containers dominate the view. Built in the 1920s to service the ever-growing bathing community, the Pavilion (apparently called Westie by the locals), still has traces of its former Art Deco beauty. Nowadays it serves as a function venue, tearoom and bar, but don’t expect a cosy British seaside tearoom. The venue is large and bright, and no doubt airy on hot days when all the windows and doors are open. I take a seat out on the deck in the autumn sunshine, just inches away from the sand, and can honestly say that I have never had a Devonshire Tea by a beach. It feels odd; the two just don’t go hand in hand. Shouldn’t I be eating something a tad beachier like a Chico Roll? I order one scone and it’s definitely made fresh this morning – crispy and fluffy in all the right places. It’s a good size, so I’m glad it’s served with lashings of jam and cream. The jam is average and reminds me of the IXL strawberry jam we used to eat as kids that came in a can; jelly like rather than syrupy. The cream is double thick, but not as heavy as your usual double thick cream – I like it.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A variety of teas that I assume are tea bags, as my teapot arrives without neither tea bag nor tea leaves in it.

Price: $$

Overall: A touch of art deco by the seaside.

Location: Cnr of Beaconsfield Pde & Pier Rd, St Kilda West VIC 3182 Ph: 03 9593 8833 www.westbeachstkilda.com.au


Reviewed April, 2014

CWA Tea Room

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Everyone has to visit Sydney’s Royal Easter Show at least once in their lives. I’m proud to say that finally I take the plunge in 2014, and as they say, better late than never. There’s something for everyone: thrilling carnival rides, ridiculously huge farm animals, shopping, entertainment, competitions, lots and lots of different types of food to try, and then there’s the CWA Tea Room. Manned by volunteers, the Tea Room pumped out a phenomenal 40,000 scones at the 2013 show over 14 days. Those numbers are insane and it just goes to show that a lot of people love a good homemade scone! Serving this many scones means that things are kept simple. The jam is served in portion-controlled packs, but at least the Beerenberg jam is a rung up from the usual Kraft variety. The cream is delectable: thickly whipped, chilled, with a hint of sweetness. For the ultimate piping hot scones straight out of the oven, keep your eyes peeled on the sign that lets you know when the scones will be ready. Otherwise, whilst waiting to be devoured (which isn’t long), the scones are kept under a cloth to keep in the freshness. If you want to take home the secrets to the CWA success and make your own award-winning scones, pick up the CWA Recipe Book ($22) and a jar of homemade jam. The annual Easter Show is held for 14 days over the NSW school holidays and the Tea Room operates from 9.30am to 6pm daily over the whole duration.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A choice of Premium Blend, English Breakfast and Green Madura tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: An Easter Show institution, what is the Show without the CWA ladies?

Location: Hall 2, P5, The Royal Easter Show, Olympic Park, Homebush NSW 2140 www.eastershow.com.au


Reviewed April, 2014

Cafe Latte

 

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Cafe Latte is a popular cafe smack bang in the middle of the busy main shopping drag in Orange that tends to draw in the shopping crowds. Large yet cosy with seating on the footpath as well as plenty inside for the cooler months, the place is a pleasant stop for a meal. I can’t really promote the scones, as they are pretty ordinary, brought in rather than baked on site. You can order as many as you like as there is no ‘Devonshire Tea’ package, and they come already halved with the jam and cream on top. The scone is rather sweet and not particularly light nor fresh. The jam is the stock standard variety and the aerosol-canned cream dissolves minutes after I receive the order. Do I need to continue? Perhaps try something else on the menu.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: T2 teabag served in a large pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Comfy and popular cafe on the main strip.

Location: 173 Summer St, Orange NSW 2800 Ph: 02 6363 1855


Reviewed April, 2014

Aroma Cafe

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I believe that a well-rounded guide offers a summary of not just the best of what’s around, but also the not-so-great. It’s a good way to compare and know when you’ve stumbled on something that little bit special. Aroma Cafe tucked away in a quiet street in Springwood, is a comfy cafe serving simple fare at affordable prices. My Devonshire Tea comes in at a rock bottom $6.50, for one large scone and a pot of tea. Before you get excited, I must point out that I would prefer to spend twice that much for a higher quality spread. The single scone tastes more like a sweet breadroll than a fluffy scone, and I find it difficult to get through. The low quality jam is super sweet and the cream is super light straight from a can. If it’s price and a relaxed atmosphere you’re after than Aroma Cafe may be the place, but don’t expect an award-winning Devonshire Tea.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A Twinnings tea bag served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Inexpensive but not high on quality.

Location: 2 Raymond Rd, Springwood NSW 2777 Ph: 02 4751 9400


Reviewed March, 2014