Stockland Balgowlah feels posh. The shops seem to have been carefully chosen with discerning shoppers in mind, and unlike most shopping malls, it feels – relaxed. Essence Cafe, however, is on a busy thoroughfare. It’s the quickest way to Coles from the car park entrance, so while dining in the open-plan cafe you can’t miss the filled grocery trolleys pass by. There are plain and fruit scones and I try one of each. The menu says that they are ‘toasty’. Definitely not toasted (thank goodness), but warm and fairly crusty on the outside. The fruit scone is more flavoursome than the plain, and I would have passed on the plain if I had known. The plain scone is exactly that – plain, but it tastes bland. The menu says that the jam is ‘real’ fruit jam. Yes, that’s true, but essentially it is still a cheap commercial variety rather than a fruity homemade one, and there isn’t enough to go around. The super light cream is from a cream canister and doesn’t help matters. No doubt with better quality jam and cream, this could have been a different experience.
Tea: A small selection of loose-leaf organic teas served in a mid-size teapot.
Overall: A pleasant place for a quick break.
Location: Shop 2, Stockland Balgowlah, 197-215 Condamine St, Balgowlah NSW 2093
Ph: 0449 979 849
Reviewed in July, 2017