Situated at the end of Smith Street Mall closest to the Waterfront Precinct, Cafe 21 is the only cafe I could find in the CBD that serves scones. It’s busy at lunchtime, and in the summer the air-conditioned seating fills up quickly. There is plenty of seating in the mall but directly across from the cafe is a construction site, and during the week it is very noisy. I have a moment of de ja vu when I see the scones. The plain and spicy baked apple look exactly like the ones at the cafe at the museum, including the labels and also the loose-leaf tea lined up in front of the cash register. Perhaps it’s the same owner? However, the difference is in the quality. The plain scone isn’t great – average. The jam is an ordinary strawberry variety and the cream, although fresh is way too light. I’m scratching my head trying to work out why the scones don’t taste fresh because when I dropped by the day before they had run out by 3.30pm, so they can’t be from the previous day. Maybe I just got them on a bad day.
Tea: A selection of Lipton’s teabags or for a few dollars extra you can choose from a small choice of specialty loose-leaf teas.
Overall: Friendly staff and convenient right in the city centre.
Location: 28 Smith St, Darwin NT 0800 Ph: 08 8942 3111 www.cafe21.com.au
Reviewed February, 2015