Broadwater could be one of those blink-and-you-miss-it towns that dot the old sections of the Pacific Highway. Except, sitting beside the mighty Richmond River is a sugarcane mill with a blinking big chimneystack bellowing out white fluffy plumes of steam (I hope) that is an endearing feature of the town. What’s cute is the hundred strong flock of cockatoos I see on the other side of the road cleaning up whatever of the sugarcane (I’m guessing) that doesn’t make the conveyor belt into the mill. It all sounds so quaint and 20th century – because it is! Right on the highway is Melba’s Verandah Cafe, a rambling old house with wrap around verandahs set in a lush garden. The morning I visit, the garden is buzzing with bird life and their birdsong – it’s crazily noisy. My Devonshire Tea is quite a spread and arrives on a two-tiered cake plate with a bunch of grapes and two hearty scones that are not long out of the oven. The whipped cream is lovely and thick, but the unique aspect are the toppings. The homemade mixed berry jam is rich and fruity but too chunky for me, but the pineapple and passionfruit butter is a smooth and fruity delight. The owner, Bev, tells me it’s her specialty. Before my visit I read many negative reviews on Tripadvisor about Bev’s manner. I don’t know Bev, and yes, her manner seems slightly gruff, but I think it’s just her tone and she doesn’t mean anything by it. However, I find her to be chatty during my visit, which takes me by surprise, as I am extremely wary after reading those reviews. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you stay away and the Church café down the road doesn’t do scones!
Tea: A range of Madura loose-leaf teas served in a plunger pot with a fine China tea-cup and saucer. I am also kindly offered a ‘top up’ of hot water.
Overall: A truly superb and surprising spread.
Location: 2-4 Fischer St, Broadwater NSW 2472 Ph: 02 6682 8099