Cicco Bar

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This is another franchised cafe that is part of the Westfield and shopping centre fabric. Open plan like most of the cafes on the middle section of the floor, Cicco Bar serves the standards; eggs, coffee, cake and sandwiches. It’s calm and the tables are separate enough to allow privacy if you’ve brought your laptop. The plain and date scones make the menu that means they are not going anywhere soon. I try the plain scone, which is warm and gluey. It’s neither good nor bad, but forgettable. It’s served with standard cafe strawberry jam, and cream that tastes synthetic and super light. Actually, the only thing that this cream and real cream have in common, is the colour. Overall, it’s an average spread, which tends to be the norm in these types of franchised cafes.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small range of Chamellia tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Standard franchise café at the top of the Chase.

Location: Chatswood Chase, 345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067 Ph: 02 9419 8400

Reviewed in February, 2017

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The Blue Heron Cafe

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Far enough away from the traffic banking up on the Princes highway and close enough to the Riverside Park and Moruya River, The Blue Heron Cafe is easily missed if you don’t leave the highway. A block or so from the riverside, its handy position and quiet surrounds make it an ideal rest stop. There are only a few tables outside, so it’s first come first serve, otherwise there are enough inside the split-level cafe. The two country-style scones are a bit burnt on the bottom today, but nonetheless they still have a robust wholesomeness about them. It’s always a pleasure when a cafe has made an effort and served some homemade style jam, and although the raspberry jam is on the runny side it’s much appreciated. The fresh cream is meltingly light, out of a whipping cream canister I suspect. The cafe gets busy when the Moruya Country Markets are on, literally right across the road, every Saturday from 8am.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of organic loose-leaf teas served in a pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Tucked away cafe conveniently located near the Riverside Park.

Location: 4/28 Ford St, Moruya NSW 2537 Ph: 02 4474 3025 m.facebook.com

Reviewed in February, 2017

The Wharf Restaurant

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As a long time scuba diver, I’m not one for aquariums – too predictable amongst other things. So when I visit The Wharf Restaurant, I stay upstairs without venturing to the depths below to see the oceanarium and witness one of the fish feeding sessions (school holidays only). The aquarium is ideal for landlubbers and kids to get up close to the creatures that lie beneath the south coast crystalline waters. Above all the serene action sits The Wharf Restaurant, looking more functional than flash, but blessed with million dollar views. Perched at the end of Lake Street, peering over the old wharf, the lucky few outdoor diners (and many more indoor) get to stare at the expansive views of the Merimbula inlet and southern coastline. Although offering a menu heavy on seafood, I notice a tower of scones on the bar when I walk in. The serving comes with two scones, but after devouring half a seafood platter I can barely handle one. The scone is baked-today fresh, easy on the eye (looks good), and has a creamy texture. The strawberry jam is average but good enough, and the fresh cream light, aerated in a whipping cream cylinder. We’re not far from Bega country and delight in listening to a couple of dairy farmers grilling the waitress about the quality of the cream used with the scones!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A selection of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized tea pot. My water is far from hot, and definitely not hot enough to brew the tea.

Price: $$

Overall: A spectacular location for expansive views towards the Merimbula coastline.

Location: The Wharf, Lake St Merimbula NSW 2548 Ph: 02 6495 4446
merimbulawharf.com.au
Reviewed in February, 2017

Little Tree Cafe

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As the Princes Highway weaves its way south to the border, it passes through many stop-worthy picturesque towns. The Yatte Yattah plant nursery is out on its lonesome, neither here nor there when it comes to attaching to a village of sorts, which makes it a lovely quiet place for a break or if you need a plant in a hurry. Set well off the road, the small nursery has a decent selection of plants if you feel the need to peruse while you wait for the scones to arrive. The indoor section of the cafe is neat and tidy if not a little sterile, but the best seats in the house are on the wraparound deck that looks over lush green lawns. There’s a choice of plain or date scones, so I opt for the plain. They’re not bad, and taste quite fresh but with a definite microwave taste. When I mention this to my partner he says he saw them come out of the freezer. The strawberry jam is average and there’s plenty of the lightly whipped airy cream. Top marks for presentation (I came here in 2009 and the scones were served in a basket) and the quirky souvenir spoon.

Scones:

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: The usual selection of tea bag teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A quiet nursery cafe tucked well away from the rush of the Princes Highway.

Location: 38 Tierney Rd Yatte Yattah NSW 2539 Ph: 02 4456 4254 yatteyattahnursery.com


Reviewed in February, 2017

The Train Cafe

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The red rattler that is The Train Cafe looks good for its age, considering it was built in 1926. Renovated in the early 1950s after a rail accident, the red rattler was soon decommissioned in 1956 and somehow found its way to the streets of Cobargo. Transformed into a quirky cafe, the property is far more than the carriage itself. There’s seating in an outdoor courtyard shaded by umbrellas, and more seating indoors on the other side of the carriage. The carriage is far bigger than it looks, however it’s a shame that there are only a couple of booths and the rest is decked out with standard tables and chairs, deflecting from the carriage-y feel. The scone business must be doing well as I am told they have baked three batches of scones today. Very fresh and creamy, I can’t fault them. It’s only until after I leave that I see the sign out the front of the carriage saying that the scones have won first prize at the local Show! The rich homemade raspberry jam is also excellent with the only let down being the cream, which is feather light. Seriously, who cares? The other two components are so good that a serving of ‘too light’ cream has no chance of spoiling top-rate scones. Closed Tuesdays.

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A mismatch of loose-leaf and tea bag teas served in a tea-pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The iconic red rattler meets a revitalised 200-year-old village.

Location: 57A Princes Hwy, Cobargo NSW 2550 Ph: 02 6493 6144

Reviewed in February, 2017

The Whitehouse Cafe

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The quaint seaside village of Shellharbour still offers remnants of its historical past. But don’t be put off by the by plush housing estates that engulf the once acres and acres of lush green pastures that surround the historical heart. There’s actually quite a lot of the old left, however some properties have been revamped beyond recognition. Windradene House, now The White House Cafe, was built in 1871 and leased out as holiday accommodation for tourists by the owners who lived next door. Apart from the necessary modifications to create a cafe, the house retains some sort of resemblance to its former self. Although there are a few dining rooms inside the house, the draw card here is the garden setting. It’s Monday morning and the cafe isn’t long open and staff are still setting up outdoor furniture. The scones are light and fluffy but something tells me they are yesterday’s, as they don’t taste as fresh as they could be, which is a bummer, as it’s easy to tell that they could get top marks. The average strawberry jam is paired with fresh but lightly whipped cream – good enough. It’s a nice place for morning tea, and although you can’t see the sea, you can still watch the relaxed Shellharbour world go by.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A selection of loose-leaf teas in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A slice of local history in a pretty garden setting.

Location: 1/29 Addison St, Shellharbour NSW 2529
Ph: 02 4295 5655 facebook.com/whitehousecafeshellharbour/

Reviewed in February, 2017

Le Café Deli

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With a name like Le Café Deli, I was expecting croissants rather than scones in the cake cabinet. Located on the main drag in Burnt Pines, but on the edge of the commercial centre, the freestanding cafe is convenient if you’re popping up from Emily Bay for lunch. Like many other daytime establishments on the island, it shuts up shop by 2.30pm, making it an ideal morning tea venue. The fumes from the fryer sit heavy when we first walk in, but after ordering, keep heading out to the lovely shady garden where you can easily spend a few lazy hours lingering over a meal. The scones are better than average, but with such stiff competition from other cafes, they need to lift their game. Out of the microwave, my scone has a soggy bottom, and the super light cream and very average strawberry jam have a hard job to improve it. Don’t let the scones put you off as this cafe is worth a visit by the looks of the rest of the food coming out of the kitchen.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of tea bags served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The inviting shady courtyard is a real draw card.

Location: Taylors, Rd Burnt Pine 2899 Ph: +6723 23663

Reviewed in December, 2016