The Next Grind Coffee and Gallery

DT@The Next Grind Caffee Gallery#2

Tucked away inside Aminya Nursery off the Newell Highway, The Next Grind Coffee and Gallery is quite a find. With bakers on site there are lots of goodies baked daily and when we arrive there are racks of pies straight out of the oven and yummy looking cakes. Ladies will enjoy the opportunity to pick up some gifts from the range of nic nacs or art on display, or there’s always the nursery outside. I want to try most of the cakes, but opt for the Devonshire Tea, which surprisingly ends up being pretty average. The scone arrives looking like a muffin and also tastes more muffin than scone. The jam is good enough and the cream is freshly whipped but quite light. Closed Mondays.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Liptons tea bags served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A chilled out cafe with a range of tempting goodies.

Location: (Inside Aminya Nursery) 3 Castlereagh St (Newell Highway), Gilgandra NSW 2287
Ph: 02 6847 2707 www.thenextgrind.com.au

Reviewed September, 2014

The White Rose Cafe

DT@The White Rose Cafe#2

There’s something special about finding remnants of a real 1950s milk bar; a marble top stainless steel bar, milkshakes served in stainless containers and touches here and there that scream original and eclectic. It’s something you wouldn’t expect in a small town on the Castlereagh Highway that sees mainly a transient traveller stopping to stretch their legs. The White Rose Cafe is quite a surprise. Not only does it have some original style but also sells a brilliant Devonshire Tea for a bargain price of $6. The tea is a bit too weak and the cream too light but the presentation is superb, arriving on a breadboard with a cute glass for the tea. The jam reminds me of my childhood and tastes just like IXL jam out of a can. The scones are creamy and fluffy – definitely homemade. Dunnedoo is well and truly worth a stop for the scones.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small choice of loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cool 1950s style milk bar serving a value-for-money Devonshire Tea.

Location: 48 Bolaro St, Dunedoo NSW 2844 Ph: 02 6375 1017

Reviewed September, 2014

Butcher Shop Cafe

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An old gold mining town and one of the former homes of poet and writer Henry Lawson, Gulgong’s well-preserved architecture easily transports you back to its heyday in the 1800s. The small town just outside of Mudgee still supports four pubs and has the oldest continually operating opera house in the country – the Prince of Wales Opera House. Upon entering Mayne Street you’d be forgiven for feeling you should be either on horseback or in a carriage, it’s that sort of place that evokes these kinds of whims. I love the former Gulgong department store facade that now houses the IGA, and the countless decommissioned pubs that now function as other businesses. There aren’t too many cafes in town, so I am pleased to stumble upon the Butcher Shop Cafe (although not to be mistaken for Mudgee’s Butcher Shop Cafe). It doesn’t look as though it was an actual butchers shop, although there is a vintage ‘Butchers Shop’ sign hanging from the ceiling, and other random antiques. Regarding the scones, they are a bit cake-like in consistency although soft and creamy. They’re also quite big so there isn’t enough jam and the super light cream doesn’t do the Devonshire Tea justice. I was also hoping for something beyond a Nerada tea bag, which isn’t quite strong enough for a teapot.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: Five choices of tea bags served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: It’s the only place in town that has scones daily.

Location: 113 Mayne St, Gulgong NSW 2852 Ph: 02 6374 2322

Reviewed September, 2014

Gatehouse Tea Rooms

DT@Gatehouse Tea Rooms#2

Residents of Parramatta not only have a gorgeous park to run, cycle or meander through, but two historic locations to enjoy scones that are in spitting distance of each other (see review of Lachlan’s Cafe in Old Government House). The UNESCO World Heritage Listed Gatehouse was built in 1887 during Parramatta’s colonial heyday, and now houses the Gatehouse Tea Rooms that have been in operation since October 2013. It’s a gorgeous property with seating in a couple of restored rooms, along the verandah and in the garden in good weather. It’s a popular venue for High Teas, but also specialises in morning and afternoon teas including a pricey Devonshire Tea. Some scone fans sitting at the next table are raving about the scones, saying they are tasty and with no aftertaste. However for me, these ‘American style’ scones (so says the cafe owner) are not my favourite kind. They are baked in a tray and sliced in squares, more cake-like than traditional scone. They are also slightly toasted, which to me, changes the scone and disguises things that I contribute to a good scone: fluffiness etc. The cafe owner says that they changed to a traditional scone recipe but received so many complaints that they changed back to this style. The jam is very average, but the freshly whipped cream is lovely and thick, and to me is the stand out of this spread. The dainty teacup and saucer and thick white tablecloth and napkin make the experience feel special, however I feel it is quite expensive at $19. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Scones: 

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Tea: A good selection of black, green and herbal loose-leaf teas served in a pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: The perfect setting for a relaxed morning or afternoon tea.

Location: Macquarie St Gatehouse, Corner of Pitt St & Macquarie St, Parramatta Park NSW 2150
Ph: 02 9635 1515 www.gatehousetearooms.com.au

Reviewed September, 2014

Caffe Contessa

DT@Cafe Contessa-Westfield Sydney#

You may not notice Caffe Contessa, especially if you are making a beeline for The Tea Salon, which incidentally is only a hop, step and a jump away on the same floor. The cafe offers High Teas among other things as well as date scones. When I ask how they are served, I am told with butter and jam – cream one dollar extra. I was already committed to the date scones, but little did I know that they were served toasted. Not a fan of toasted scones, it’s hard to get past the sweetness of the dates, the inferior quality jam and the can cream all together. It’s a pleasant corner in Westfield for a cuppa nonetheless.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: Visit if you like toasted scones.

Location: Westfield Sydney, Level 4, Pitt Ln, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 8072 8003

Reviewed August, 2014

 

 

Cafe Victoria

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In the Myers department store in Sydney’s CBD, I find the location of Cafe Victoria quite peculiar. In my mind the feminine touches, classical music and promises of High Tea would be more suitable to a clientele more predisposed to gowns and intimates rather than suits and shirts? Maybe it’s for weary girlfriends, partners and wives who are waiting for their other half to make a decision on whether to take the handkerchief or a tie to wear with their suit? The cafe in the corner of the menswear department has a cosy design but the pièce de résistance is the bar and stools running along the picture windows. I do love a view, and this city view looks straight across George and Market streets to the Queen Victoria Building and the busy intersection below. It’s obviously my lucky day as this is the first time I have seen scones available at this cafe. My sultana scone is, politely put, average, and quite hard on the outside. The small serving of ultra sweet jam and cream from a can is rather disappointing. The only worthy mention goes to the Tea Tonic tea and that city view!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: Take advantage of the windows and view, especially if you have been indoors for too long.

Location: Myers Department Store, Level 3, 436 George St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9238 9560

Reviewed August, 2014