The Lighthouse Tea Rooms

DT@The Lighthouse Tea Rooms#2

Along with my Devonshire Tea fetish, I must admit I have a penchant for lighthouses, and when I can combine the two I’m like a kid in a candy store. Not as isolated as Cape Otway Lightstation further along the Great Ocean Road, Split Point Lighthouse has high visitation due to its proximity to Melbourne. The lighthouse is visible from the highway and only a few minute deviation. After parking in the nearby car park, approach the lighthouse on foot passing the former lighthouse stables, which is now The Lighthouse Tea Rooms. With friendly staff, a cosy indoor eating space and plenty of refectory-style benches in a lovely garden, it’s ideal for watching the endless trail of visitors traipsing up to the lighthouse. It’s late in the day when I visit and I get in just before closing time. According to the sign out front, the Tea Rooms are famous for their scones. The scones are small, a perfect size for a snack rather than a meal, but are a tad bit microwaved. A shame I’m not here at opening time to grab a super fresh one. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity and the cream is thickly whipped. All in all it’s pretty good. Combine your visit with a 45-minute tour of the lighthouse or wander along the dramatic Great Ocean Road coastline.

Scones:  

Jam:  

Cream:  

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

Price: $$

Overall: The ideal location for tea and scones.

Location: Split Point Lighthouse, 7 Federal St, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231 Ph: 0444 530 399

Reviewed in November, 2019

Hahne’s Kitchen

DT@Hahne's Kitchen - Wangaratta#3

After cycling part of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail into a strong head wind, I’m ready for a Devonshire Tea. Slipping in to downtown Wangaratta’s Hahne’s Kitchen is easy as there is plenty of parking nearby even though the town is bustling. The cafe interior is simple and the shady outdoor area on the footpath is pleasant in fine weather. The scones sitting on the counter look scrumptious. They are fresh (even at 3pm) and have a creamy texture. There’s are a choice of apricot or mixed berry homemade jam so I choose the apricot, which reminds me of the apricot jam I make at home. The cream is whipped thick, which makes the whole combination delicious. If you have time, it’s worthy of a diversion from the Hume Freeway.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Madura tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A simple cafe in downtown Wangaratta serving killer scones.

Location:  Ph: 03 5721 4026

Reviewed November 2019

The Fig Tree Coffee House

DT@The Fig Coffee House-Kenthurst

I’ve always loved Mother Earth Nursery. It’s on the quirky side in comparison to other plant nurseries in north-western Sydney, as it feels like the place is more dedicated to The Fig Tree Coffee House than the selling of plants and accessories. The main entrance through the rondavel with the lovely roof water feature is a standout. The indoor seating spills out from the rondavel into an extensive leafy courtyard, which is a green haven for mother earth lovers. Although on the day we visit the food is below par, the service is very good. The fresh scones look like small baps. There is noting particularly extraordinary about them but they are better than average. The homemade mixed berry jam is tart rather than sweet and is served with a strawberry garnish, which is kind of unnecessary considering the whipped cream is also served with a strawberry and blueberry garnish. It does make the presentation of the spread very enticing, however, maybe just stick to sprucing up the cream. Looking at the above image, the scone, jam and cream look delicious. However, I want to mention that along with the quality of the meal we had just had, the quality and flavour needs some improvement.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A better than average scone and tea spread set in a beautiful garden setting.

Location: Mother Earth Nursery, 1A Annangrove Rd, Kenthurst NSW 2156
Ph: 02 9654 1423 fig-coffee-house.business.site

Reviewed November 2019

Trappers Bakery

DT@Trappers bakery-Goulburn#

Trappers Bakery is a licence to print money. Visit on the weekend and you’ll be lucky to get a table. The place is spacious, which is handy considering how many people stop by. It’s popularity makes sense. Its a quick diversion off the freeway, the bakery has a range of food, there’s ample parking and the staff are really friendly. Although I have passed by Trappers Bakery on a number of occasions, I never thought about trying the place for scones. Silly, as overall, the spread is quite good. The scones are fresh and have a creamy texture, and the big mound of firm bakery-style cream is chilled. On the other hand, the two portion-controlled strawberry jams are a disgrace and is the weakest link. A real knife rather than a plastic one would be good, considering I am dining in.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of Temple Tea Co pyramid tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A convenient rest stop in Goulburn, without having to go in to town.

Location: 4 Sowerby St, Goulburn NSW 2580 Ph: 02 4821 4477 trappersbakery.com.au

Reviewed November 2019

The Pancake and Crepe Shop

DT@The Crepe and Pancake Shop-Oatlands With a name like The Pancake and Crepe Shop, it’s quite obvious that the cafe specialises in the above, but one can’t miss the big sign out the front for Devonshire Teas. Located in another heritage-choked town along the Convict Trail, Oatlands is hard to miss with Australia’s third oldest mill dominating the skyline. Carrington Mill is now open to visitors after a recent restoration, and is conveniently located across from The Pancake and Crepe Shop. It’s cold out so the two small dining rooms are tight and we are lucky to squeeze in to a corner table. A shame about the weather as the row of tables out the front surrounded by window boxes of spring flowers would be lovely if it actually were spring weather. I love the bright fun tea ware and serving spoons as it creates a sense of excitement of what’s ahead. I normally wouldn’t complain, especially if the scones are sensational and the jam and cream superb. But why three large-ish scones? It’s rather excessive considering there’s not a great deal of tea to wash them down with and the super duper light cream is lousy. The homemade berry compote style jam has chunks of berries that would be perfect on a Pavlova. Just call me old fashioned, but I prefer a spreadable jam on my scones. To top it off, the scones are a bit overdone and are dry on top. Coupled with an inadequate amount of jam and cream, my excitement quickly moves to disappointment. Once again, I have to remember not to judge a book by its cover! Open Wednesday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A range of teabags served in a small teapot/cup duo.

Price: $$

Overall: An adorable gingerbread house style restaurant with a couple of cosy dining rooms.

Location:  Ph: 03 6254 0070

Reviewed September 2019

Ashmore on Bridge Street

DT@Ashmore on Bridge Street-Richmond

I haven’t visited Richmond since 2011, and I can’t remember it being so touristy. A convenient day jaunt from Hobart (even for Tasmanians), it’s only about 30 minutes, the gorgeous village has plenty to keep visitors occupied. The convict-built town was established as a military and convict post, strategic in linking Hobart and Port Arthur. What’s left and well-preserved are a cluster of Georgian style buildings housing all manner of interests for visitors; think galleries, museums, boutiques and of course tea shops. The first cafe I see is Ashmore on Bridge Street, which on the exterior is a restored Georgian-styled corner building and on the inside is light, bright and modern. The scones I believe are freshly baked (says so on the menu), but mine are slightly chewy and moist, a tell-tale sign that they’ve overstayed their welcome in the microwave. There’s a selection of strawberry, raspberry and apricot jam available. The apricot jam is housemade (says so on the menu), and is more sweet than tart. It’s a shame there’s not enough of it, and the fresh cream is from a canister, which is super light and aerated. Before you leave, tour the spooky Richmond Gaol and explore more of the Coal River Valley.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of loose-leaf tea served in a tiny teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A modern vibe in a very historic town.

Location: 34 Bridge St, Richmond TAS 7025 Ph: 03 6260 2238 ashmoreonbridge.com.au

Reviewed September 2019

Bakery31

DT@Bakery 31 - Ross

Back when Tasmania was known as Van Diemans Land, the Apple Isle was dissected into two counties. From 1804 until 1812, you could either be in the northern county of Cornwall or the southern county of Buckinghamshire, and the 42 parallel was used as the dividing line. The 42 parallel runs just north of the historic town of Ross, but you can read all about it in town. Part of Tasmania’s Convict Trail that runs north to south, Ross is a pleasant town to pull into for a wander. With a few cafes to choose from, Bakery31 is the only one offering scones on the day that I visit. Home to the famous Tasmanian Scallop Pie Company, Bakery31’s location in an old timber home with a cosy indoor cafe and plenty of outdoor seating is a good choice. The scones are nothing extraordinary, but good enough to create a decent spread. The strawberry jam is basic but the slightly sweet cream is thick and firm, and there’s plenty of it. The bakery sells Convict Jam that is prepared at the bakery. The jam served in the Devonshire Tea doesn’t taste like it should be winning awards, so I doubt it is the same stuff that they sell. Also for sale is Convict Coffee, handmade lollies called Devils Bites, Caramelised Balsamic dressings, honey from Tas Bees and Jasper Chocolates. So pretty much something for everyone if you are looking to buy gifts.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A few options of loose-leaf tea served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A country bakery/cafe in a cute town.

Location: 31 Church St, Ross TAS 7209 Ph: 03 6381 5422 bakery31.com.au

Reviewed September 2019

Cafe Squire

DT@Cafe Squire-Devonport

Cafe Squire is a morning place. The imposing 1886-built former parsonage for Methodist ministers is hard to miss when coming off the Spirit of Tasmania red-eye. The car park across the road fills up with bleary-eyed early risers arriving from the mainland, and soon after, those readying themselves for a day on Bass Strait. The timber building is a beauty, and the interior cosy with a couple of large but separate dining areas. There are tables on the wrap around verandah, handy if you have a pooch along for the ride. I don’t normally eat scones for breakfast, but I make an exception. The large lemonade scone tastes like it is fresh out of the freezer, and popped in to the microwave to thaw out. Although it’s a good size, there is nothing light and fluffy about it, but instead, it’s rather damp. There’s a choice of strawberry, raspberry and apricot jam. Apricot is my favourite and is rarely on offer so I jump at the chance, and it doesn’t disappoint! It’s fruit-rich and tart, perfect. Alongside the thickly whipped cream, the jam is the best part of this spread, and of course the rambling old house that the cafe inhabits.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A Vintage Tea silk tea bag in a large mug that’s not much more than three-quarters filled.

Price: $$

Overall: An attractive heritage building with a slightly over-priced menu.

Location:  Ph: 0419 351 994 cafesquire.com

Reviewed September 2019