York Street Cafe Restaurant

DT@York Street Cafe#

A cruise ship pulled in to Albany early this morning and the town is unusually busy. Cafes are full, groups wait eagerly for Harley Davidson rides and the Western Australian Museum has a steady stream of visitors. For a small town, Albany has lots of attractions. Apart from the pretty coastline and King George Sound, and the recently opened National ANZAC Centre, Albany has a wealth of history, which even predates Fremantle and Perth. Since there is so much activity in town, I decide to lap it up and pull up a chair at York Street Cafe Restaurant. It’s pretty much in the middle of the main street and feels relaxed. I order one scone, which looks like it’s come out of the oven that morning (which, incidentally should be a given). It has a lovely texture and flavour, but is slightly dry. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity, and the double thick cream complements the scone and jam well.

Scones: 

Jam:

Cream: 

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

Price: $$

Overall: An excellent choice for scones in the main downtown hub.

Location: 184 York St, Albany WA 6330 Ph: 08 9842 1666 www.184york.com

Reviewed March, 2015

The Fremantle Bakehouse

DT@The Fremantle Bakehouse#

Wander through the streets of Fremantle and explore the heritage buildings that are a testament to the early years of the Swan River Colony that settled at the mouth of the Swan River in 1829. Come 1987 and Fremantle was revitalised and gentrified for the America’s Cup and to this day remains a bustling city with enough to occupy a visitor for several days. Amongst a strip of eateries, The Fremantle Bakehouse is housed in an impressive heritage building with high ceilings and a large shady footpath to keep things cool for diners out front. I’m momentarily swayed by exquisite looking slabs of vanilla slice, which I later discover are sensational, and a bargain at $3.50 (think vanilla slice from Sorrento, VIC at half the price), but I remember my scone quest. Today, both plain and pumpkin scones are available, but this probably changes daily. My plain scone arrives looking quite dramatic with a steak knife protruding from the top of it. This certainly is – different! The scone is over-warmed, and has a slightly steamed bun thing going on, which makes it a bit flavourless. The cream is fresh but way too light. Considering the size of the scone, I’m served one piddly sachet of jam. I ask for another, which isn’t a problem but realise when I go to pay at the counter there’s a basket of them, in hindsight I could have scooped up a handful.

Scones:

Jam:

Cream:

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

Price: $$

Overall: A lovely historic Bakehouse in the heart of Fremantle’s dining precinct.

Location: 52 South Tce, Fremantle WA 6162 Ph: 08 9430 9592 www.fremantlebakehouse.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Convict Cafe

DT@Fremantle Prison#2

Fremantle Prison closed its’ doors in 1991 after 136 years in operation. If prison walls could talk they would tell tales of hangings, floggings, dramatic convict escapes and prisoner riots. When it closed, surprisingly the conditions of the prison cells were not any better than when it first opened in 1855, i.e. no running water or toilets, and it was cheaper to build a new prison than to renovate the old. Soon after it’s closure Fremantle Prison became a slice of Swan River Colony history and is now a place where visitors can explore. As well as general prison tours (Doing Time or Great Escapes) there are Torchlight Tours, which incidentally are NOT ghost tours, and for the more adventurous, Tunnel Tours. The latter delves down to 20 metres beneath the prison where you explore a labyrinth of tunnels on foot as well as in a replica convict punt. It’s a fine change from the usual walking tour. At the entrance to the complex is the Convict Cafe that has both indoor and outdoor seating. I wish I can say that the Devonshire Tea is as impressive as the Tunnel Tour but I can’t. The sultana scone is fine, with plenty of juicy sultanas and a slight crispy outside. To me, an ordinary scone can become extraordinary with the help of some good quality jam and cream. Unfortunately the Convict Cafe fails to deliver, with a Kraft portion-controlled jam and sickly sweet synthetic cream from a can.

Scones:

Jam:

Cream:

Tea: A Lipton’s tea bag served in a coffee cup with hot water.

Price: $$

Overall: No doubt the highlight of the prison is not the Devonshire Tea but the history and myriad tours.

Location: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160 Ph: 08 9336 2659 www.fremantleprison.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Porongurup Shop & Tearooms

DT@Porongurup Shop and Tea Room#3

Porongurup Shop & Tearooms although feeling quite isolated is surrounded by a plethora of wineries and cellar doors. The rocky Porongurup Range rises up behind the property and serves not only as a splendid backdrop to the area but is a magnate for hikers and daytrippers from Albany 50km further south. Opened in 1937, the Tearooms feature a general store where you can pick up local arts and crafts and basic necessities, as well as fuel from a bowser that resembles Ned Kelly. Alongside the Devonshire Teas, homemade meals feature heavily on the blackboard menu, and I’m tempted to order a few dishes. There are several places to settle in: the tearoom itself, a grotto style outdoor area, in the garden, or out the front of the shop. Two crispy scones are served that look very much homemade and have great potential as they hit the mark on taste. However, both of my scones end up having thumb-size hard pieces of dough throughout that are inedible. The strawberry jam is syrupy rather than rich and fruity, and although the cream is fresh, it’s quite lightly whipped. The Devonshire Tea is delivered with warm and friendly country hospitality, which definitely makes up for my dubious scones.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A choice of tea bags served in a cute small teapot with extra hot water for a top up.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute cafe well worth the stop to absorb the areas ambience.

Location: 1972 Mount Barker Porongurup Rd, Porongurup WA 6324 Ph: 08 9853 1110
www.porongurupinn.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

 

 

Bush Food Cafe

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Fremantle Markets have been operating in the same place since 1897, which is quite a feat. A destination in itself, it’s a hub for fresh produce, organic goods, unusual eateries, indigenous and independent goods, and music and kiddies events on the weekend. I find Bush Food Cafe near the fruit and vegetables and the first thing I notice is, no, not the scones on the counter, but the colourful wall murals and the inscription – “Kaya is hello in Nyoongar” and the virtues of kangaroo, crocodile and emu meat. The cafe is run by local Nyoongar women Glenda Morrison and Neta Knapp and it serves witchety grubs, kangaroo stew and tail, emu, crocodile, roo dogs, wattle seed and quandong cakes and gum leave tea. At an indigenous themed cafe it’s weird to find scones, but then again, I wouldn’t expect to be served by a young guy with a thick Italian (?) accent I can barely understand. I’m a little disappointed when my scone is halved and dressed with the jam and cream, I do so prefer to do that myself – it’s part of the experience. I also like my scones slightly warm; I never did like cold pikelets (mini pancakes) as a kid. There’s an unusual choice of jams and I try the quandong, although there is passionfruit/berry/fig marmalade (I think – remember, the Italian accent). I can’t really taste the jam as it’s thinly spread and the cream is fresh but very light. Pick up some unusual goodies before you leave.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A range of teas including Australiana stuff like Aussie Breakfast, Gum Leaf Tea and Kimberley Tea.

Price: $$

Overall: Strategically situated in the fruit and vegetable section of Fremantle markets.

Location: Fremantle Markets, Stall Y124, Cnr South Terrace & Henderson St, Fremantle WA 6160
Ph: 08 9335 2515 www.fremantlemarkets.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Cape Lavender Tea House

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Before I even enter Cape Lavender Tea House I can smell wafts of lavender floating through the air. Inside, the lavender theme is hard to ignore with the purple hue ever-present in the decor. Purple is my favourite colour so I am in heaven. There are a few small rooms to poke around in if you are in the mood for some shopping or want to try some luscious beauty products or jams. My senses are overloaded with so many perfect little details from the cow shaped milk jug to the lavender print on the tea ware that, no doubt, help create a highly successful tea house. The three choices of scones; lavender, plain and savoury (chives and cheese today), is bound to be a crowd pleaser. We are served strawberry jam infused with lavender, but if I’m honest, I am so infused with lavender – it’s in my scone, my tea and I’m surrounded by skin products that smell good enough to eat, I must say that I really can’t taste it. Apparently the jam flavour changes throughout the week, rotating between lavender infused raspberry or plum. The cream is thick and rich and tops off a sensational spread perfect to share with new or old friends. The little extra features like lavender printed crockery and the sprig of fresh lavender in the cream is a lovely touch. Don’t forget to taste the wide range of jams before you leave and maybe pick up some lavender tea and other goodies to take home.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A good choice of T2 loose-leaf teas and an organic decaffeinated lavender black, blended on-site.

Price: $$

Overall: Sensational! Don’t miss it!

Location: 2 Canal Rocks Rd, Yallingup WA 6282 Ph: 08 9756 6609 www.lavenderonline.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015

Cafe 8

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The canopy of a huge Fig tree creates much needed shade in the courtyard that houses Cafe 8 and a few other businesses. Denmark, the small country town west of Albany not the country, has a few cafes and after perusing, I manage to find Cafe 8 tucked away behind a bakery and that Fig tree. No doubt you will pass through Denmark at some stage. Perhaps to visit one of the wineries, on your way to the Valley of the Giants where the only Tingle Trees grow or to cool off in the swimming pool like waters of Green Pools. It’s easy to overstay as Denmark has much to offer. Cafe 8 promises homemade fare, and they aren’t lying, the scones definitely fall in to this category: light, fluffy and tasty. The jam is a commercial variety but rich and tastes of more than just sugar. The whipped cream has been prettily deposited on dishes and thoughtfully refrigerated. A great idea for warm days.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small variety of loose-leaf teas and tea bags served in good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Surprisingly good and as promised – homemade.

Location: Shop 8, 27 Strickland St, Denmark WA 6333 Ph: 08 9848 2051

Reviewed March, 2015