The Barracks

DT@The Barracks-Lanyon Homestead

The restored 1850s Lanyon Homestead on the outskirts of the ACT is surrounded by a superb series of convict-era outbuildings and well-established gardens. The homestead is presently a house museum managed by the ACT Historic Places. It still retains its homestead feel overlooking pastures and The Brindabellas. The original barracks have been transformed into a cafe and aptly named The Barracks. The place is popular for weddings and there’s a huge marquee set up out the back of the cafe ready for the upcoming weekend. There’s a cosy indoor area but it lacks much natural light, so if it’s warm out, there’s plenty of seating with views. I know this sounds silly, but the scones taste very colonial; simple and floury. The strawberry jam is average but the whipped cream is lovely and thick. Guided or self-guided tours of the Homestead are available. Closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of Twinnings loose-leaf teas served in a two-cup pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A quaint and relaxing country experience not far from the city.

Location: Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa Dr, Tharwa ACT 2620 Ph: 02 6237 6500 historicplaces.com.au

Reviewed May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brassiere

DT@Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie-Yarralumla

The Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brassiere is nestled in a leafy section in Western Parklands just of the cycle path and spitting distance from the Heritage Nursery. The Yarralumla Gallery commandeers the little cottage rooms with art and jewellery, while the Oaks Brassiere spills out into the gardens surrounding the cottage. It’s Saturday when I visit, so after placing my order inside at the counter, there’s a bit of a wait for the scones to arrive. The ‘Devonshire Tea Special’ is on the menu and a daily occurrence. The two small lemon scones are dense rather than light and fluffy, and flecked with lemon zest. Where it gets ‘special’ (I think) is in the jam and cream. A major disappointment is the two small Kraft sachets of raspberry jam, and the two huge dollops of freshly whipped cream are unnecessary. It would make sense to replace a dollop of cream with a dollop of jam, and ditch the sachets. Who am I to say? But the whole thing is imbalanced.  If you are after some new plants for the garden, be sure to pop into the Heritage Nursery, which was established over 100 years ago. The cafe and gallery are closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: Perfect in fine weather as most of the seating is scattered out in the gardens.

Location: Western Parklands,Cottage 1 Weston Park Rd, Yarralumla ACT 2600
Ph: 02 6260 5253 ygob.com.au

Reviewed May 2019

Sansko Cafe

DT@Sansko Cafe-Merriwa#

Merriwa is a good place to take a break when travelling on the Golden Highway. There are a few cafes and a bakery to feed and water passing motorists with Sansko Cafe offering scones. The cafe has a ‘bare to the bones’ feel about it, and to me, feels like it was a former takeaway fish ‘n’ chip/hamburger joint. That’s just the feeling I get. There are a couple tables out on the footpath, a comfy lounge section in front of the window plus a few standard dining tables. The homemade scones are slightly crispy on the outside, and probably the highlight of this spread. The strawberry jam is below average in quality, and although the whipped cream is fresh, it’s too light for my liking. If it’s open, check out the small museum a few doors away.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Twinnings teabags served in either a small or large teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Not a bad choice if this is your only stop.

Location: 112 Bettington St, Merriwa NSW 2329 Ph: 02 6516 7710

Reviewed April 2019

 

 

 

Cafe on Queen

DT@Cafe on Queens-Binalong#2

Binalong is not on the way to many places, so you’ll probably have to make a diversion to visit. The small village north of the Hume Highway has a cluster of businesses, with the lovely Cafe on Queen one of them. Don’t be fooled by the cafe’s size (like I was), as there is a whole garden to spread out in, plus few sculptures to check out. I nab the last of the scones – lucky. They have a lot of potential, and to me, they don’t taste like they were baked today (hence the lower score). They are quite flat but kind of creamy as well, and as I said, if they were fresh from the oven, I think they would have been pretty good. I know jam is meant to be sweet, but this one tastes super sweet. The cream could do with a bit more whipping or refrigeration as it collapses when spooned onto the scone, but it’s still better than most. Love, love, love the teacup and of course the garden setting. Homemade goodies such as chutneys and jams are for sale. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of teabags served in a cute teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: If you are passing through, it’s a nice place to take a break.

Location: 13 Queen St, Binalong NSW 2584 facebook.com/cafeonqueenbinalong/

Reviewed May 2019

Canon Food, Bar and Espresso

DT@Cannons-Warners Bay

Just across the road from Lake Macquarie, the popular Canon Food, Bar and Espresso spills out onto the footpath along Warners Bay’s cafe strip. The venue is large and attracts the crowds, offering something for everyone; food, booze and coffee. It’s a small diversion (across the road) from the walking/jogging/cycling path that encircles Lake Macquarie, so a handy spot to factor in a break. My scone spread arrives looking cool on a breadboard and with a dusting of icing sugar. Sadly, the scones are a bit soggy on the bottom – too much time in the microwave perhaps? There’s barely enough of the ordinary strawberry jam and the light cream from a canister to cover the two generous scones. Probably fine for those who like a skerrick of toppings, but annoying for those who actually like to taste the jam and cream on their scones! The location is a bonus.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: An interesting but modest range of loose-leaf teas served in a large transparent teapot. No points for the lousy coffee cup.

Price: $$

Overall: A large buzzy cafe.

Location: 460 The Esplanade, Warners Bay NSW 2282 Ph: 02 4948 0049 canonfoodbarespresso.com.au

Reviewed April 2019

Sass@Bowers

DT@Sass at Bowers - Taree#2

‘Fresh Scones’ – don’t you just love a sign like that when road tripping through the country? Located between Taree and Wingham, Sass@Bowers overlooks cow-studded meadows. Thanks to the floor to ceiling bifold windows that invites the country inside, it’s light and bright in the dining room. For those who prefer the outdoors, there’s a lovely rustic seating area under leafy trees in the garden. Order as many scones as you like as there is no set ‘Devonshire Tea’ on the menu. If you aren’t particularly hungry or have lunch/dinner plans, order just the one scone, as they are huge. It’s definitely baked today, and although it’s creamy good, the scone crumbles easily every time I try to take a bite. The strawberry jam is nothing more than average, and the fresh cream is served from a cream canister, but doesn’t seem as light as some. Open Wednesday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Origin Tea silk pyramid tea bags served in a huge teapot. Although I was asked whether I wanted a cup or teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely spot overlooking green meadows.

Location: 461 Kolodong Rd, Taree NSW 2430 Ph: 02 5591 8814 facebook.com

Reviewed April 2019

Beehive Cafe Restaurant

DT@The Beehive Cafe-Beecroft

On the outside, the Beehive Cafe Restaurant looks pretty ordinary. The bland 80s brick building doesn’t do the cafe any favours, but once in the folds of the welcoming staff, that blandness disappears. What emerges is a warm and friendly vibe, which will draw you back time and again. The large outdoor dining area is cool for summer days, but the two indoor sections are better for chilly days. The scones are baked daily on the premises and are served lightly dusted with icing sugar. They have a creamy texture, and with every bite, melt in your mouth. The mixed berry jam is homemade and tart rather than overpoweringly sweet, as jam can be. Unfortunately, the fresh cream is dispensed from a cream canister and is too light for me. Wander around and explore Beecroft village before you leave, and there’s a cool toy store next door to the cafe.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A range of basic teabags served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A super friendly and accommodating cafe with yummy chef-made desserts.

Location: 4/1A Wongala Cres, Beecroft NSW 2119 Ph: 02 9980 7853 beehivecafe.com.au

Reviewed February 2019