There’s something sophisticated about a gallery cafe. Maybe it’s being surrounded by art and people’s creations, and the hushed chatter that goes on (so as not to offend the artwork?). I don’t mind art, but what really impresses me are heritage buildings, or properties that tell a story. Although the Old Milk Factory in Bowral doesn’t make mention of it to the non-the-wiser visitor, and you have to look hard to see any resemblance, it has a story. In the 1870s, Bowral began shipping off its milk so by the 1930s the Milk Factory was built to help with the demand. Information about the site is thin on the ground, but putting two-and-two together I assume that milk and other milk products were processed here, deposited onto trains (the building can’t be any closer to the railway tracks), and hauled off to Sydney. It’s a fascinating thought, what went on here under 100 years ago. Today, rebuilt, the Milk Factory Gallery is an art gallery with a cafe offering two outdoor areas as well as indoor seating area for colder weather. When I visit, it’s still breakfast time, so the scones, infused with a hint of vanilla, aren’t long out of the oven. The jam is nothing more than an average strawberry jam, and although the cream is fresh it is very lightly whipped and doesn’t stand up to the warm scone test too well.
Tea: A handful of loose-leaf teas served in a pot.
Overall: A pleasant alternative to Bowral’s Main St cafes.
Location: 33 Station St, Bowral NSW 2576 Ph: 02 4862 1077
Reviewed in July, 2016
The fact that this old building was once a cheese factory up until as recently as 1989 (anything in my life time is recent) is amazing. Actually the Robertson Cheese Factory was pumping out so much cheese that by the end of the 1930s, Robertson was hailed as one of the most productive dairy regions in Australia. The remains of this cavernous heritage building give visitors a chance to feel just a tiny bit of its glorious past. There’s an incredible use of space, with a deli, gelateria and kitchen/homeware shop as well as a cafe in a slightly separate area of the old factory. Pick up cheeses (naturally) and gourmet goodies for a Southern Highlands picnic, or settle in an arm-chair in front of a picture window looking out to the green meadows of Robertson. It’s late in the day (near to closing), so the scones aren’t great, but I’m sure if I arrived for morning tea they would have been fresh from the oven. The mixed berry jam is sensational; rich, fruity and tarte, and the cream is rich and double thick. Whether you’ve just crawled up the Macquarie Pass from sea level, or about to say goodbye to the Southern Highlands, The Old Robertson Cheese Factory is worth pulling over for.
Tea: A selection of The Berry Tea Shop loose-leaf teas served in a pot.
Overall: Cavernous yet cosy.
Location: 107 Illawarra Hwy, Robertson NSW 2577 Ph: 02 4885 1168
Reviewed in July, 2016