Bridestowe Cafe

DT@Bridestowe Lavender Estate#It’s truly amazing how versatile lavender is. Bridestowe Lavender Estate in Tassie’s northeast does amazing things with it. The Estate specialises in French lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia, as it’s suitable for both perfume and culinary use. Check out the on site distillery and watch how pure lavender oil is produced. Farm tours are available or otherwise just hang out. To get to the cafe you must enter (and exit) via the gift shop, so shopperholics beware! I’m not sure whether it’s my imagination, but the range of edibles like lavender infused jams, teas and chocolates to teaware, toys and scented lavender pouches for sprucing up stale smelling drawers and cupboards, seem to emit a lavender hue. Once finally at the café, there’s a choice to sit in the large dining area or out on the much smaller verandah. The cafe menu is obviously ‘lavender themed’ – we’d be disappointed if it wasn’t! The lavender scones are the perfect size and are robust rather than creamy and fluffy. Todays’ jam is rhubarb and lavender jelly, which is smooth in texture and not particularly sweet – the perfect accompaniment to the scones. The double thick creams tops of this lovely spread. Make sure to wander around the property, especially between December to February when the lavender is in bloom.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A brilliant range of lavender infused loose-leaf teas served in a pot for one, two or three. The specialty touch is a nice touch and the teas are sold in the gift shop.

Price: $$

Overall: Can get busy as it’s on the tourist trail, but lovely all the same.

Location: Bridestowe Lavender Estate, 296 Gillespies Rd, Nabowla TAS 7260
Ph: 03 6352 8182 bridestowelavender.com.au

Reviewed October, 2017

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St Helens Books

 

DT@St Helen's Books-St Helens#2Second hand bookstores are becoming few and far between, so its surprising to find one in the back streets of St Helens. The easily seen ‘blue house’ is stacked floor to ceiling with shelves of pre-loved reading material for all genres; it’s amazing what you can find. When the weather warms there is picnic table style benches on the front lawn, otherwise cosy on up amongst the books. There’s a cluster of timber tables and chairs, and when I was there a table of gentlemen were playing cards. I am told scones are baked on Saturdays, and are snap frozen for the rest of the week. It doesn’t sound appealing, right? But this is where I am wrong – the large, creamy and slightly crispy scone is exquisite! The scone is heated up in the oven rather than microwaved, which makes all of the difference. The jam is fruit rich homemade raspberry jam – it doesn’t get better than this. To top it off the fresh cream is thickly whipped, and there are generous portions of both the jam and cream.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A huge variety of different brand tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Quiet and cosy, it’s the quintessential Tassie hidey-hole for when the weather is too bad to be outdoors, which for this mainlander, is often!

Location: 15 Pendrigh Pl, St Helens TAS 7216 Ph: 03 6376 2811

Reviewed November, 2017

Gorge Kiosk

DT@The Basin Kiosk - Cataract Gorge Launceston#2

Only a 15-minute walk from Launceston’s city centre, Cataract Gorge is a patch of bushland, cliffs, and a 36-metre deep natural swimming hole fed by the Esk River. There’s so much to do, it’s hard to know where to start! In summer swim in the free 50-metre swimming pool, hike upriver to the ruins of the power station at Duck Reach or take a ride on the world’s longest single span chairlift. Explore the Cliff Grounds, a beautiful landscaped Victorian garden containing ferns and exotic plants and more peacocks than you can poke a stick at. Don’t forget a stroll along the 1940s built suspension bridge. Once that’s done, take a break at the Gorge Kiosk, attached to the Gorge Restaurant. It’s very much a kiosk, and to me, there’s something unappealing about paying the same money for food that is served on plastic plates. A Devonshire Tea deserves better – teaware thank you very much! The tough scones served at room temperature aren’t particularly appealing; they simply don’t taste good, and are more dry than moist. There are a couple of Yarra Valley jam sachets (a raspberry and a strawberry), and a massive dollop of thick cream that tastes more like Nestle reduced cream from a can, as opposed to double thick dollop cream.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A Twinings tea bag served in either a regular or large takeaway cup.

Price: $$

Overall: Enjoy kiosk food alongside a plethora of wandering peacocks.

Location: Gorge Restaurant, 74 Gorge Rd, Trevallyn TAS 7250 Ph: 03 6331 3330 launcestoncataractgorge.com.au

Reviewed October, 2017

Peter’s of Kensington

DT@Peter's of Kensington-Kensington

Peters of Kensington’s flagship store is oh so la-de-da! It reminds me of a paired back and very compact David Jones. It’s windowless like a casino, which means it’s very easy to lose track of time whilst wandering the floors and looking at stuff you don’t particularly need. The kitchenware department is very popular, and if you can’t find it here, then it probably doesn’t exist! Sharing the same floor of said kitchenware, the cafe is all subdued tones and clicking of cutlery, and sophisticated in a Harrods kind of way. There’s a very reasonable ‘scone special’ on the menu and means that scones at this cafe are a given. The scone isn’t bad, although it has spent 20 seconds too long in the microwave, therefore has a hint of ‘nuked’. The jam isn’t anything special but it’s better than average, and although the cream is fresh, it’s very light. Overall, I find the cafe quite endearing with a yesteryear vibe.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A range of loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Classic old-school department store cafe.

Location:  Ph: 02 9662 1099 

Reviewed October, 2017

Grandma’s

DT@Grandma's-Alexandria#

Things have certainly changed since my first Devonshire Tea at Grandma’s. Back then it was called Grandma’s Little Bakery, at a different Alexandria location, and the only Grandma’s outlet in Sydney. Nowadays it’s all happening with another Sydney location in Rosebery (sadly they don’t serve scones). Not that it needs any help with drawing in the crowds, Grandma’s is in a prime Alexandria location and offers indoor seating in its cavernous cafe, and limited outdoor picnic table seating alongside the driveway. The scones are slightly crisp on the outside and have a rustic texture, so don’t expect light and fluffy. The balance between taste and texture is spot on and pairs well with the rich raspberry jam and the super thick, almost clotted cream. I’m not a fan of the jam and cream being served in plastic take-away containers; it cheapens the dining experience. Isn’t it already enough that we have to queue to order and than fight for a table? Grandma’s, like the rest of the inner city, is trending. It is incredibly busy in Alexandria on the weekends; the traffic is mostly at a standstill out front and parking spots are scarce. If you can, walk or like we did, ride a bike to Grandma’s. The cafe is popular and the staff stretched, which shows up with us waiting a further 15 minutes (no lie) for our teas after our scones arrive. And one last thing. If only scones were served daily rather than just on weekends, maybe, just maybe, the tea might arrive with the scones.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of T2 silk tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Grandma would be proud at how funky she has become!

Location: 140-142 McEvoy St, Alexandria NSW 2015 Ph: 02 9699 1862 grandmas.com.au

Reviewed October, 2017

The Right Bite Cafe

DT@The Right Bite Cafe-Richmond

There are still a bunch of classic American-style diners dotted around the countryside going by the name of Paragon and Niagara. The Right Bite Cafe is not one of these, although it could be if it still retained its 1954 grace. There are plenty of nostalgic photos lining the walls displaying the good ole days, or you can read about their story in the menu while you wait! When I first arrive at the cafe and enquire about the scones, the barista is quick to point out that they are baked on the premises. Does that mean the other cafes along the Windsor Street strip serve scones that aren’t? The scone arrives way before my weak pot of tea, and I feel a little silly staring into my plate waiting for liquid refreshment. Although, it does give me time to inspect and I find the scone a bit dry and heavy, like it’s made from wholemeal flour. It’s not bad, but not what you would expect from a homemade scone. The corn syrup inspired strawberry jam has a few chunks of fruit, and although the cream is fresh, it’s whipped in a cream canister, which means – super light!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small range of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot with a piece of shortbread on the side.

Price: $$

Overall: The history of the cafe is an interesting read.

Location: 219 Windsor St, Richmond NSW 2753 Ph: 02 4578 2696 business.site

Reviewed October, 2017

Cafe Jam

DT@Cafe Jam - Mosman

The new location for Cafe Jam has done wonders for the business. Not that the business wasn’t booming before, but the much larger, natural-light filled space plus a sunlit atrium has created a warm and welcoming cafe that any shopper to Bridgepoint will find hard to resist. Although I have passed by Cafe Jam at least once a week for several years I have never noticed the scones in the cabinet (maybe they weren’t there!). However, in this new location the bundle of scones are easily spotted from the walkway. The large, fresh and tasty scone is a surprise. A friend who had visited previously doesn’t rate them, but I think the scone is better than average and tastes better, than which it looks. The commercial raspberry jam is better than average, but before the waiter has a chance to put the jam on my table I send him away for more. Whether it’s Bourke or Mosman, surely diners prefer ‘real’ cream with their scone rather than a ‘synthetic’ cream? This one is straight from a can and in one word – terrible. Lastly, this is a small gripe, but a few tea cups would go down a treat, I’m not a fan of the super thick coffee cups for my tea.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3

Tea: A basic selection of Twining tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A bright and cheery cafe on the quieter top level of the shopping centre.

Location: Bridgepoint Shopping Centre,  
Ph: 02 9960 1442 bridgepointmosman.com

Reviewed October, 2017