Located on the Sydney side just 18km from Lithgow, Ellie-Cats Cafe (formerly known as Monkey Creek Cafe) has the Bells Line of Road market all sewn up. Well, at least the Lithgow end of it, anyway. What makes this a popular spot is not only it’s prime position on one of the major thoroughfares linking the Blue Mountains and the Central West to Sydney, but also the abundance of car parking, and the views across the Blue Mountains are always a hit. I also notice an enclosed fire pit with said views, and a few sculptures scattered around the property. The unusual curved building which houses the cafe is considerably cosy inside, and although the name conjures up a cafe favouring cats, I see no felines. Instead a water bowl for visiting canines and an outdoor seating area where they are welcome to hang out with their owners, fronts the building and commands those lovely views. In the cafe I’m met with a sign in the shape of a teapot advertising “Tea & Scones $12.00” – love it! The scones are fresh, but don’t have much in the way of taste. The homemade strawberry jam is more chunky compote than smooth jam with chunks of cooked fruit. It doesn’t taste sweet or tart and is quite unusual to have on scones. There’s a generous serving of cream, but it’s light and super sweet, and if I had to guess, out of a can. I leave most of it. Just thinking back, it feels unbalanced, with too sweet cream and not sweet enough compote. The fresh flowers on each of the tables are a nice touch.
Tea: A small selection of standard and a few specialty loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot that could be a little stronger.
Overall: A handy stop enroute to or from Sydney.
Location: 227 Chifley Rd, Bell NSW 2786 Ph: 0435 879 435
Reviewed in February, 2016