Heritage Gardens Cafe

DT@The Heritage Gardens Cafe-Ashtonfield#3

The Heritage Gardens Nursery looks like any other garden centre from the carpark. The gift shop is part garden and homeware shop, and is the point of entry and exit. The grounds are quite lovely, with lush lawns and the nursery itself in its own section. You have to look hard for the Heritage Gardens Cafe as it’s nicely hidden in the garden centre. Walk past rows of shrubs, herbs, flowers and trees, and through those lush lawns before entering the cafe. The cafe is shaded by foliage, which is ideal on summer days. There’s indoor and outdoor dining in the main building, plus umbrella shaded tables in the courtyard. The two large lemon scented scones are fresh and have a creamy texture. They are served cool rather than warm, but that’s okay as it’s hot when I visit. The mixed berry jam is housemade and pairs well with the rich double thick cream. The cafe closes at 3.30pm, so don’t linger too long over the azaleas.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A handful of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: It doesn’t feel like you are in a cafe in a garden centre.

Location: Heritage Gardens Nursery, 9 Four Mile Creek Rd, Ashtonfield NSW 2323
Ph: 02 4966 5233 heritagegardens.com.au

Reviewed February 2019

Tommy’s Cafe

DT@Tommys Cafe-East Gosfor

Tommy’s Cafe looks pretty and sits not too far from the foreshore of Brisbane Waters on NSW’s Central Coast. It looks very Hampton’s; fresh and inviting, with lots of outdoor seating both on the deck and the footpath, and it’s far enough from the main road as to not to be bothered by the traffic. The menu looks interesting and it’s the kind of place you could spend a lazy hour or two. But, not all pretty places serve good scones. To be honest, the Devonshire Tea is lousy. The scone is like a bread roll, is dry, and arrives already cut in half. The strawberry jam is below average in quality, and although the cream is fresh, it is super light and airy. There’s a small gallery/shop that is worth checking out for some unusual pieces.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely cafe but disappointing scones.

Location: 1a Gertrude Pl, Gosford NSW 2250 Ph: 02 4321 1141 tommyscafegosford.com

Reviewed September 2018

H2O Cafe Restaurant

DT@H2O Cafe - Narabeen#2

Without a doubt, H2O Cafe Restaurant‘s shore side location on Narrabeen Lakes must be the envy of the town. That is, to all the unfortunate enough not to have stunning lake views and a pole position for people watching. Perched on the edge of the walking track that circumnavigates the lake, the cafe spills out onto the lawn, keeping all eyes from buzzing Pittwater Road. Indoors, the space exudes a beachyvibe with great views of the lake. For fresh air and sunshine, grab a table under one of the umbrellas in summer or soak up the sun in the cooler months. The scones are the highlight of this spread. Actually if not for the scone’s creamy freshness, I’d say, “walk on by”. These chunky scones deserve quality accompaniments rather than the ordinary sweet strawberry jam and the super light cream it’s served with. To be fair, the cream is fresh, but is dispensed from a cream canister – hence the lightness.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: Great location, but overpriced.

Location: 3/1431 Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen NSW 2101 Ph: 02 9913 1360 h2ocafe.com.au

Reviewed October 2018

Three Trees Cafe

DT@Three Trees Cafe- Gosford#

On the outside Three Trees Cafe looks like a small warehouse or factory, and the small asphalt carpark out the front doesn’t help. However, once inside, it’s a different story. It’s funky, bright and airy with one wall that literally opens up to let in the natural air and light. There are some small tables out the front, perfect if you have a pooch in tow. The scones are good, so I suggest ordering a couple. A civilised size, they are creamy and fluffy, although slightly too nuked on this occasion. They are served with a healthy serving of rich mixed berry jam and double thick cream. The slate plate makes for an impressive presentation.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of loose-leaf teas served in a two-cup teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Definitely do not judge the exterior of the building to what lies within.

Location: 16 Laycock St, North Gosford NSW 2250 Ph: 02 4339 3713 threetreescafe.com

Reviewed September 2018

Willows Lounge Grill & Cafe

DT@Willows Lounge Grill-Tradies Gymea

Of the three Tradies establishments in the southern reaches of Sydney, Tradies Gymea is the second location I have visited for scones. It’s the south Sydney answer to an RSL and with all the usual; restaurants, gambling, kids play areas, and even an Endota Spa! Willows Lounge Grill & Bar is your typical ‘club-style’ eatery. Cavernous and generic, the cafe is open throughout the day. However, outside of the main dining hours, it feels more comfortable to sit in the more slightly ‘cafe-style’ section that’s outside of the main dining room. This section overlooks reception and has glimpses of daylight from outside. It’s a basic spread with the large scone more bread roll than scone. The strawberry jam is passable, and the whipped cream from a canister, feather light.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small selection Sir Thomas Lipton’s teabags served in either a cup or a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Only if you must.

Location: Tradies Gymea, 57 Manchester Rd, Gymea NSW 2227 Ph: 02 9540 1933  

Reviewed October 2018

 

Cornerstone Courtyard Cafe

DT@Cornerstone Courtyard Cafe#2

Don’t know why, but on approach, the Cornerstone Bookshop looks like a funeral parlour. Once inside it’s a massive Christian book and giftware shop, with an attached cafe. It’s as quiet as a church, so keep all conversations to a whisper while perusing the latest religious editions. There are also some non-churchy giftware such as tea ware, toys and cards available. Either sit inside, or outside in the courtyard. Surrounded by gardens, there’s a prominent fountain that creates a pleasant backdrop for the hushed conversations. Order as many scones as you like, because you may not want to stop at one. The lemon scented scones are fresh and crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. They are served with a skerrick of raspberry jam (there really isn’t enough), and thickly whipped cream. The jam is better than average and you may want to ask for a top up.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An unusual choice of Tea Tonic loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A mellow hangout with a Christian vibe.

Location: 1 Chetwynd Rd, Erina NSW 2250 Ph: 02 4365 6225 cornerstonebooks.com.au

Reviewed September 2018

Caffe Jam

DT@Caffe Jam-East Gosford#

Away from commercial Gosford, East Gosford is where you can enjoy the water views without going too far from the biggest town on the Central Coast. East Gosford also has a strip of businesses located in the back streets a few minutes from the water. Caffe Jam has such an impressive cabinet of goodies on display I forget that I am here for a scone. The cafe is light and bright, with both indoor and outdoor seating, with street rather than water views. It’s nothing fancy, but feels like a hub for locals. The fresh housemade scones are crispy on the outside with a hint of vanilla. The fresh cream is whipped thick and firm, and is definitely a match for the quality scones. The weakest link is the berry compote style of jam. It’s more liquid than fruit and there’s barely enough for the large scone. Maybe next time I’ll ask for a refill.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A pleasant cafe with good quality food.

Location: 4/103 Victoria St, East Gosford NSW 2250 Ph: 02 4324 8708 facebook.com

Reviewed September 2018