Saltshaker Restaurant

DT@Saltshaker Restaurant-Swansea#2

There are a pair of chooks here, two kiwis there, some seals and just an ordinary set of blue and white on my own table. Named Saltshaker Restaurant for a reason, as each table showcases its own unique set of salt and pepper shakers. Cool, huh? If that doesn’t do it for you then the spectacular views across Great Oyster Bay to Freycinet National Park will. Enclosed in glass, you aren’t penalised for sitting indoors when the weather turns chilly. This is certainly the place for prime viewing of the unmistakable jagged peaks of the Freycinet Peninsula beyond. The cake stand containing the scones is steaming. Is that a good sign? I’m not sure. Although the scones are fresh, the tops are quite dry and resemble more day old scones than steaming fresh ones from the oven. Saying that, they are still pretty good; soft and fluffy. The house made raspberry jam is on the runny side and such a treat, but the fresh aerated cream from a cream-whipping canister is super light.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of Tea Drop tea bags served in a tea pot.

Price: $$

Overall: If the gorgeous views of the Freycinet Peninsula don’t get you there, the salt and pepper shakers will.

Location: 11A Franklin St, Swansea TAS 7190 Ph: 03 6257 8488 saltshakerrestaurant.com.au

Reviewed in May, 2017

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Coffee Lounge

DT@Coffee Lounge-Campbell Town#

Winter comes sooner to Australia’s southern states, so a toasty warm and cosy fire heated space is always a welcome. The Coffee Lounge, adjacent to Tasmanian Handcrafts on High, is filled with comfy lounges and coffee tables. There are a few tables on the footpath, and I think a small courtyard out the back, but it’s definitely more inviting inside. Located in a heritage building little can be done to the structure, so the owners have cleverly put up a huge picture on the front wall, so passersby can see what it looks like inside. The menu is reasonably priced attracting a steady flow of take away clientele. The scones, this time round, are the weakest link. Microwaved for far too long, with tough bottoms, I have the sneaky suspicion that they are frozen. On the other hand the rich raspberry jam and thickly whipped cream are spot on. While you wait, peruse the knitted winter woollies, jewellery, and handcrafted timber items such as clocks, cheeseboards, fruit bowls and furniture – conveniently located just through the door. Coeliacs are catered for with gluten free scones.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A better-than-usual variety of loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lounge style cafe loaded with heritage.

Location: Tasmanian Handcrafts on High, 102-104 High St, Campbell Town TAS 7210
Ph: 03 6381 1673 tasmanianhandcrafts.com.au

Reviewed in May, 2017

The Bank Tea House

DT@The Bank Tea House#2The streets of St Marys at the top of the pass of the same name are so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. I’ve been through the town a couple of times, both in summer and in autumn, and both times have been the same – very quiet. Open the door to The Bank Tea House, and it’s a different story. The grill is sizzling and the slow combustion stove is keeping the place toasty. While I wait I poke around the Man Cave (yes it is the name of the room), which houses a range of second hand goods and collectibles for sale. Although cosy inside, the sun is shining and the Tea House is blessed with a sunny courtyard and sunny nooks and crannies where tables and chairs have been strategically set up out on the footpath. The single scone is light and fluffy with just enough crispness on the outside to give it a lovely texture. Unfortunately the accompaniments aren’t up to par; the strawberry jam is average and the cream is a sweet sickly concoction straight from a can. Brownie points for the proper teacup and saucer!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3

Tea: A vast range of tea bags for all tastes, served in an adequate sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Feels like the hub of the village.

Location: 26 Main St, St Marys TAS 7215 Ph: 03 6372 2578 amanscave.com.au

Reviewed in May, 2017

 

Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe

DT@Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe#

Scottsdale has become more than just a service hub for surrounding farms. A pleasant pit stop halfway between Launceston and St Helens, with pretty Bridport on Bass Strait and vineyards to the north, mountain bike hub, Derby, just down the road, and a Rail Trail passing through town. Scottsdale Art Gallery is easy to find on the main drag and shares the space with a cafe. Essentially it is a cafe surrounded by paintings, sculptures, pottery and jewellery perfectly poised in a light bright space. I’m gobsmacked by the scones; fluffy and super creamy – there’s definitely a secret ingredient, as they taste incredible. The scones are accompanied with a tart homemade raspberry jam, which, to be honest can be doubled in quantity. It’s a pain to be only able to have a thin scrape of jam, but at least the scones are exceptionally tasty. What a bummer about the cream, it’s just way too light and flavourless. The gallery and café are open daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good range, with a few interesting choices of loose-leaf teas served in an adequate sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Top scones in a chilled out gallery.

Location: 42 King St, Scottsdale TAS 7260 Ph: 03 6352 4388 scottsdaleartgallery.com.au


Reviewed in May, 2017

 

Neil Pitt’s Coffee Shop

DT@Neil Pitt' Coffee Shop-Launceston#2

A hundred years ago, the Majestic Theatre in central Launceston was once a buzzing entertainment hub with a Tea Room for refreshments. The former cinema still has a majestic and intact façade, but in 1970 the interior was transformed and in moved Neil Pitt’s Menswear. Not a newcomer to Launceston, the menswear store has been going since 1949 and moved into these digs in 1970. Neil Pitt’s Coffee Shop is perched on the mezzanine level, allowing a birds-eye view over the trousers. The store reminds me of David Jones in the 70s and 80s and it’s definitely something I haven’t seen for a while. What I love most about Neil Pitt’s is the fact that a cafe in an old-school menswear store is renowned for their Devonshire Teas, and most of all, men are ploughing through them. This is a revelation, and my partner is neither impressed nor amused. The cafe is integrated into the store and is very masculine with wood panelled walls depicting coates of arms of British towns. Scones are served at room temperature and although fresh and very CWA-like, a bit of heat in my scones may have bumped up the teapot score. The strawberry jam is average and the whipped cream is super light, looking as though it’s out of a whipping cream canister. Overall, this place is a classic, and a must for those interested in heritage and like to see proof that blokes do actually like to eat scones! Open 9am – 2pm, Monday to Friday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small range of Twinning tea bags served in a classic large aluminium teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Only in Tassie are Devonshire Teas served in a menswear store.

Location: 76 Brisbane St, Launceston TAS 7250 Ph: 03 6331 3711 neilpitts.com.au

Reviewed in May, 2017

Harlequin’s Cakes

DT@Harlequin' Cakes

I’ve been passing Harlequin’s Cakes in Balgowlah for years now, and finally decided to make the Devonshire Tea call. Easily located on the road to Manly, the place is part bakery/part cafe, and specialises in cakes for all occasions. It’s a compact set up, with only three tables in a tastefully designed cafe area. There’s a coffee machine, a cake cabinet filled with favourites, and pies for those who prefer savoury to sweet. There’s even a sign especially for Devonshire Teas, and scones sit where everyone can see them; right on the counter. I’m early so the scone tray is bare as they are still cooling off out the back – fresh from the oven. I have a choice of plain, sultana and date, and try a plain and a sultana. They taste like a bakery scone rather than a creamy and fluffy nanna-style baked scone. Don’t get me wrong; they are still good, fresh but a bit more bread-like.  The cream is chilled, firm, and slightly sweet, your typical cake filling cream (if that makes sense?). Unfortunately the strawberry jam is a bit below average, which is a shame, as it is the weakest link.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Four choices of teabag tea served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Surprisingly good for a bakery and a comfy cafe to boot.

Location: 363 Sydney Rd, Balgowlah NSW 2093 Ph: 02 9948 7741
Reviewed in April, 2017