Smith The Grocer

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Wandering around downtown Wellington I stumble upon The Old Bank Arcade just off Lambton Quay. I’m drawn to its historic grandeur and the promise of scones. Smith The Grocer spills out into the arcade, and I don’t realise how much room the cafe takes up until I leave. Even inside, the split-level cafe it’s roomy with walls covered in vintage wares and an impressive butcher’s block sits near the front counter. There’s a stack of fresh date and cheese scones, which is the usual scenario as far as scones go in New Zealand. Normally served with butter, I request cream and jam and have low expectations. When my date scone arrives it is big, fresh and rich with dates, but the jam is lousy as it’s just your average portion controlled variety. The cream tastes like a combination of whipped cream and mock cream and goes well with the ensemble making it a worthwhile diversion.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: A great option if you’re out shopping in central Wellington.

Location: The Old Bank Arcade, 233-237 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011 Ph: +64 4 473 8591
www.smiththegrocer.co.nz

Reviewed in December, 2014

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Chocolate Dayz Cafe

 

DT@Chocolate Dayz Cafe-Days Bay#
When I step off the East By West ferry that has transported me from Wellington to Days Bay on the eastern side of Wellington harbour, I have a feeling of déjà vu. There’s a distinct south-east England coastal vibe, even a village named Eastbourne and the windswept Pencarrow coastline at the entrance of the harbour reminds me of the Southern Downs. Chocolate Dayz Cafe is one of a few cafes in Days Bay and affords superb views towards Wellington and has indoor and outdoor seating. Believe it or not, this place is famous for it’s cheese and date scones that are usually sold out by 11am. I nab a gigantic date scone that is so loaded with dates that it’s a wonder that flour has been used at all. Usually served with butter, I ask whether I can have jam and cream, which is not a problem and subsequently am asked whether I want it heated or at room temperature. The scone is nothing short of sensational –  bursting with flavour, moist and wholesome. The cream is thickly whipped and the jam is housemade although a bit sugary. Surely with scones and vistas like this, a visit to Wellington is not complete without a day trip to the other side of the bay.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A selection of New Zealand t-leaf T loose-leaf tea served in an adequate sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A sensational spot looking over the bay towards Wellington.

Location: 614 Marine Dr, Days Bay, Lower Hutt 5013 Ph: +64 04 562 6132
www.chocolatedayzcafe.co.nz

Reviewed in December, 2014

 

Cafe Lakeview

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A lake in Kingsford? Really? Not familiar with this area of Sydney, this supposed lake has me stumped. I Google the location of Cafe Lakeview at Gardens-R-Us to find that the garden centre is perched on the edge of The Lakes Golf Club, one of Australia’s prestigious private golf havens, which incidentally is peppered with lakes. From the deck of the café there is indeed a lake view, but in the distance. Surrounded by so much greenery and pottered plants, it’s hard not to shed the city and the stress that comes with living here. I’m so spoilt for choice that I don’t know whether to sit on the deck and relish the view of the distant lake or sit in the courtyard next to the fountain, among the greenery. This visit comes from a recommendation via The Devonshire Tea Guide’s Facebook page, so I have high hopes for the scones. The cake-like scones are fresh and light, slightly sweet with perhaps a hint of vanilla. The jam on the other hand is below average, tasting sickly sweet and of a low quality. The cream is fresh, but way too light as it’s out of a cream whipping dispenser as opposed to being stiffly whipped by an electric beater. But with good scones that are served in such a lovely environment, I think I can forgive the below par jam and cream.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of tea pouches served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Just what a weary city clicker needs – a double dose of greenery and peace.

Location: Gardens-R-Us, 75 Gardeners Rd, Kingsford NSW 2032 Ph: 02 96624910 www.gardensrus.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2014

Mall Coffee Corner

DT@MCC-Mall Coffee Corner-Warringah Mall

When I stumble upon Mall Coffee Corner or rather MCC in Westfield Warringah Mall, I’m surprised to find scones on the counter. Sprawled out on the ground floor adjacent to The Athletes Foot, the cafe is a convenient stop for shoppers who need to rest their weary feet or are in need of a caffeine hit or energy boost. What you’ll get is a standard Devonshire Tea, with the only stand out being the T2 tea. The scones are also fresh and surprisingly enjoyable, but nothing more than average. There’s not enough jam in the sachets for the ample sized scones and the cream is super light and sweet, straight from the can – sigh. I look forward to the day when suburban malls offer a quality scone, jam and cream spread.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a very small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A popular mall cafe.

Location: Westfield Warringah Mall, 85 Old Pittwater Rd, Brookvale NSW 2100 Ph: 02 9939 1320

Reviewed in December, 2014

Guellen’s Chocolatier and Patisserie

DT@Guellen's Patisserie-Dee Why

Before I visit Guellen’s Chocolatier and Patisserie I call to make sure they serve scones. I even go one step further and ask how they are served. Confirming that they come with jam and cream gives me the green light to drop by. The small chocolatier/patisserie/café is just off busy Old Pittwater road and although I am with a local friend of my mine, she doesn’t know it. The cafe doesn’t feel decidedly chocolate or cake inclined, with only a small choice of cakes, a box or two of chocolates on the counter and some bags of chocolate covered treats on offer. After a thorough scan of the cakes, I can’t find the sultana scones I had earlier asked about, but they tell me they have them out in the kitchen. When the spread arrives, it’s minus the cream with a few sachets of butter added to the Kraft jam. Thinking they may have forgotten, I ask about the cream. It seems that the husband and wife team aren’t on the same page about their scones so I’m offered thickened or aerosol can whipped cream. If only the wife could whip me up the thickened cream and all would be a lot better! After all of that, the sultana scone is okay, with lots of juicy fruit though out. Because I’ve waited for the cream, the edge of one of the scones becomes rock hard. Happy with the Tea Drop tea, but maybe you might want to try one of their chocolate-based drinks.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of Tea Drop pouches served on the side of a pot of hot water.

Price: $$

Overall: An uber  friendly cafe that’s best for chocolate things.

Location: 1 Pacific Pde, Dee Why NSW 2099 Ph: 02 9971 1881

Reviewed in December, 2014

Burnt Orange

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Since my last visit to Burnt Orange four years ago, the only big change I notice is the recent replacement of the downstairs gift shop with a function room/wedding venue. Shopaholics need not hang their heads though as there is still plenty of shopping to be had upstairs, with at least three rooms of the former Mosman Golf Club’s clubhouse jammed with giftware, clothes, tea ware, Christmas trinkets and a whole room reserved for children’s goodies. The sandstone structure is sensational and is nestled in bushland up the road from Mosman on the picturesque Middle Head. Scones are a firm fixture on the menu with a choice of plain, date, wholemeal and mixed berry. It’s a tough choice so I ask the maitre d’, who recommends the date scone. He also reminds me that they are served at room temperature and since this is the case, I am glad to be here in the morning, as I recall on my last visit the scone being dryish by the afternoon. The single large scone arrives accompanied with relatively thick Chantilly cream and the delicious Burnt Orange housemade raspberry or mixed berry jam. At first the scone seems tough but once I start pulling it apart it’s loaded with dates and spice, and if you are more partial to the light and fluffy scone, you may be disappointed. However, considering the scones have been on the menu for at least four years, I don’t think Mosmanites are bothered one bit!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: An exquisite setting coupled with everything the modern scone loving person needs.

Location: 1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9969 1020 www.burntorange.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2014