I often chuckle when I see write ups in high-profile glossy travel magazines about the merits of Bathurst, and I wonder whether it’s the same place I have been visiting at least twice a month for the past five years. By visiting, I mean doing the mundane; grocery shopping, buying worming tablets for the dog or screws from Bunnings, it’s the service hub for Hill End 85 kilometres away. I have taken advice from these articles and lunched at Cobblestone Lane, which does indeed deserve merit, but you clearly pay for what you get – the same as anywhere. Then there is the rest of Bathurst and Banjo’s Cafe exists in this realm. The cafe is popular and inviting, sitting at one of the entrances to the older of the two Stockland Shopping Centres. The ‘hot scones’ are on the menu but this is the first time I have seen any in the cake cabinet as I pass by. The scone is dry and more like a bread roll, and I really can’t tell when it was baked – definitely not today. It is served with a sachet of jam, a big no no, and the cream is so light it melts before hitting the scone. Whether seven days in the country has muddled my brain, to me ‘white tea’ means ‘white tea’ (as in green, black, you get the picture – and I have a bunch of it at home). At Banjo’s, ‘white tea’ is listed under ‘tea’ but literally means ‘tea with milk’. So when my black tea, which smells a bit like Billy Tea, arrives with a side of milk, I am a bit confused. The girls behind the counter scratch their heads trying to understand what could possibly be wrong. All I can think of are those travel writers (I am often one of them) that breeze in to a place and see only the very best of what is on offer, but how about the other 99 per cent?
Tea: A selection of loose-leaf teas served in a small pot.
Overall: A popular and bright cafe but give the scones a wide berth.
Location: 34 Stocklands Centre, William St Bathurst NSW 2795 Ph: 02 6332 2855
Reviewed January, 2015