Eling Forest Estate Cafe

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Zooming down the Hume Highway you would be forgiven for not noticing Eling Forest Estate. Set on 180 acres in the Southern Highlands, the Estate, consisting of a vineyard, rolling hills and pretty gardens, is a popular wedding and function venue. The cellar door showcases a range of cool climate wines crafted on-site and the cafe is a lovely spot to take refuge from the rush of the highway – although there’s no escaping the rumble of the traffic. A heritage-listed cottage and homestead offer a variety of accommodation if you prefer to stay awhile. I have timed my arrival to coincide with the cafe’s opening time of 8am. My first concern is that I’m too early for scones However, I’m in luck as yesterdays’ scones sit on the counter (they don’t bake every day). I need not have worried, as the two small scones are so fluffy and creamy, they taste as though they were baked this morning. The generous serving of thick whipped cream is more than I need, but the fruit-dense mixed berry compote barely covers the scones. In fine weather, sit out on the verandah and be sure to drop by the cellar door for a tasting.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: The perfect Hume Highway stop to take a break from the bitumen.

Location: Hume Hwy, New Berrima NSW 2577 Ph: 02 4878 9499 elingforest.com.au

Reviewed November, 2017

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Bees Knees Vintage Cafe

DT@Bees Knees Vintage Cafe-Hornsby

Situated on the quiet side of the tracks, Bees Knees Vintage Cafe is definitely a change from the usual franchise eateries found in the Westfield Shopping Mall. The 1970s beach umbrella and outdoor setting (indoors), sets the scene for the overall decor. Secondhand oversized lounge suites set around coffee tables are perfect for groups, while more intimate and sensible dining furniture caters for couples. For outdoors, choose from footpath dining, or the garden out the back, which by the way, does not look inviting in broad daylight. Another semi-separate lounge area sits between the main dining hall and the loo out the back, so there’s something for everyone. I spy the scones on a table of sweets, but it’s not a good sign when the scones are individually wrapped in gladwrap. There’s a date and a plain scone to choose from, so I go for the plain, even though neither look appealing. It’s hard to explain, but the buttery and cake-like ‘scone’ looks nothing like a scone should, and that’s before it’s microwaved to death. The skerrick of el cheapo jam, and sickly sweet synthetic cream from a can don’t help matters either. The whole combo is a disaster and not even the quirky presentation can save it.

Scones: teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A selection of tea bag teas served in a cute cup/teapot duo.

Price: $$

Overall: Funky concept, but steer clear of the scones.

Location: 14 Coronation St, Hornsby NSW 2077 Ph: 02 9482 8012

Reviewed November, 2017

Ingleside Bakery

DT@INgleside Bakery-Evandale#2

Wander the streets of this National Trust classified Georgian village that dates back to 1811 for a taste of Tasmanian history. Not only is this a pretty village but also many of the historic buildings remain well intact. Businesses have settled in nicely to heritage buildings, restoring and reviving them, much like the Ingleside Bakery. Housed in the old Evandale Council Chambers that was built in 1867, the property is quite a sight. The towering walls and sky-high ceilings are a drawcard, as is the pretty flower filled courtyard. The licensed bakery/cafe took over the premises in 1988, and uses some of its space as an art gallery, and sells local Tasmanian gifts and produce, wines and whiskey. In winter the open fire is a welcome, but in warmer weather the courtyard is the winner. I almost have a mild panic attack when I don’t see any scones on the counter or in the cake cabinet, as I’ve had this place on my ‘to-visit’ list for some time. Never fear as they are on the menu and are offered as either a full or half serve. I have high expectations as the bakery is impressive, but my scone tastes more like a sweet dinner roll. Not even the dusting of icing sugar can mask the taste of an inferior scone. There’s just enough jam and cream for the one scone, and I wonder whether you get more with the full serve? The rich raspberry jam is superb and goes excellently with the double thick cream. Be sure to have a wander around the village to appreciate a couple of hundred years of history.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of Art of Tea loose-leaf tea served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A gorgeous heritage building in a gorgeous heritage heavy town.

Location: 4 Russell St, Evandale TAS 7212 Ph: 03 6391 8682 evandaletasmania.com

Reviewed November, 2017