Expresso Head

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I stick my head into the tiny space that is Expresso Heads in downtown Dee Why (that’s the commercial hub not the surf side one) to ask whether they have any scones. Not expecting a positive reply, the waitress says that they have sold out (it’s only 11.30am) but she’ll pop down the road and pick up some more from the bakery. It doesn’t sound positive, but she assures us that Devonshire Teas are certainly on the menu. And so they are. We settle under one of the shady umbrellas on the wide footpath, which incidentally houses about 99 per cent of the café seating. Once the bakery scones are transferred from discreet paper bag to plate, the transformation and presentation is quite surprising. The small crusty but soft on the inside scones are dusted with icing sugar so on first bite they taste a little sweet. True to the menu, the cream is impressively double thick, the strawberry jam acceptable and for those who like to calorie load and their scones well-lubricated – there’s butter. Later we wander down the street and discover that the scone source is Dee Why Hot Bread.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A few choices of T2 pyramid tea bags served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A pleasant and friendly café in the hub of the Dee Why town action.

Location: Shop 1/11-13 Oaks Ave, Dee Why NSW 2099 Ph: 02 9982 4700
www.espresso-head.com

Reviewed February, 2015

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Cove Cafe

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Terrigal Haven surely offers some of the best views in the area. With a few lookouts and a couple of cafes/restaurants perched waterside, you’re never short of a nourishing seaside view. If you’re visiting to dive the HMAS Adelaide wreck that was purpose prepared and sunk in 2011 to form an artificial reef off Terrigal and Avoca Beach, then you won’t have far to go for a ‘after dive’ scone. In the same building and right next door is Cove Cafe, which incidentally has uninterrupted ocean views. By the looks of things, they change scone varieties daily, and today they have banana scones. Yep, you’ve heard it, banana scones. This is a first for me and the chunky banana embedded scones definitely work. Moist and soft and served with ample and decent raspberry jam, the only disappointment is the too light cream. No biggie, the scones are still worth the trek even if you aren’t diving.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A large choice of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A magical place looking over Terrigal beaches and the coastline beyond.

Location: Scenic Hwy, The Haven, Terrigal NSW 2260 Ph: 02 4384 5083
www.covecafe.com.au

Reviewed February, 2015

Banjo’s Cafe

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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?

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

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
www.banjoscafestocklands.yqme.com.au

Reviewed January, 2015