Norfolk Island

‘Hilli Restaurant & Cafe’

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The Cyclorama, part of the Hilli Restaurant complex is a wrought. Overpriced and underwhelming, the painting along the curved walls that is the Cyclorama endeavours to tell the Pitcairn’s story and how they came to be on Norfolk Island. I heard one visitor exclaim that it is the best exhibition she’s ever seen. Perhaps this is the first time she has left her house? Back in the balmy Norfolk Island air, we sit under oversized umbrellas, enjoying the shady courtyard, while others sit inside or out on the timber deck. My scone, jam and cream arrive looking like an artistic masterpiece. Who said a flower here, a sprig of mint leaves there, a strategically placed sliced banana, and a sprinkle of icing sugar doesn’t make a pretty picture? You can’t fault the presentation; it warrants some time for ogling the food rather than eating it. But eat I do. The good-sized scone is slightly crispy and freshly baked. There’s oodles of thickly whipped cream and more than enough jam that is far superior than the average supermarket quality jam. Be sure to wander through the Queen Victoria Gardens and peruse the art in the adjoining gallery. For a more informative interpretation of Norfolk Island history, head down to Kingston, buy a four- museum pass, and explore.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic variety of Dilmah teabags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Popular cafe with attractions to pull in the thin Norfolk Island crowds.

Location: Queen Elizabeth Ave, 2899 Ph: +6723 24270 hillirestaurant.com
Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Le Café Deli’

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With a name like Le Café Deli, I was expecting croissants rather than scones in the cake cabinet. Located on the main drag in Burnt Pines, but on the edge of the commercial centre, the freestanding cafe is convenient if you’re popping up from Emily Bay for lunch. Like many other daytime establishments on the island, it shuts up shop by 2.30pm, making it an ideal morning tea venue. The fumes from the fryer sit heavy when we first walk in, but after ordering, keep heading out to the lovely shady garden where you can easily spend a few lazy hours lingering over a meal. The scones are better than average, but with such stiff competition from other cafes, they need to lift their game. Out of the microwave, my scone has a soggy bottom, and the super light cream and very average strawberry jam have a hard job to improve it. Don’t let the scones put you off as this cafe is worth a visit by the looks of the rest of the food coming out of the kitchen.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of tea bags served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The inviting shady courtyard is a real draw card.

Location: Taylors, Rd Burnt Pine 2899 Ph: +6723 23663

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Rumours Bar & Cafe’

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It must be the extensive lawns and subtropical flora that makes me feel like I am in a British colonial outpost somewhere in the tropics. Not that I have been to one before, but Rumours Bar & Cafe could be that place. No surprises there as Norfolk Island was settled by the British just a few months after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove. It’s also in the middle of nowhere: 1,000km due east of Byron Bay and somewhere in between New Zealand and New Caledonia. Since it’s summer, the action at Rumours is outside under the shady verandah overlooking the garden. The interior design in the old house might be described as ‘no-nonsense’, which is probably due to the attraction of being outdoors in the balmy weather admiring the well-manicured lawns and garden. Order as many as the fresh scones as you like, as there is no set Devonshire Tea. I order one scone, which is fresh but robust i.e., not light and fluffy. Choose from boysenberry, raspberry or plum jam. The boysenberry is better than average, but still tastes like a commercial grade jam. The cream tastes as though it’s been squirted from a can and is light and doesn’t add substance to the overall taste of the scone.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A huge variety but predominantly of tea in tea bags, and a few loose-leaf varieties served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Enjoy the fresh air sitting out in the garden.

Location: Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine 2899 Ph: +6723 23777
facebook.com/RumoursNorfolkIsland/timeline

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘The Golden Orb Bookshop & Cafe’

dtgolden-orb-cafe-bookshop-norfolk-isNamed after the Golden Orb spiders that can be found in the owners’ garden, the Golden Orb Bookshop and Cafe feels so far removed from the rest of Burnt Pine. Tucked up in its own tropical cocoon, at first it almost feels a little intimidating making your way down the leafy path and not knowing what to expect at the other end. The dark timber cafe is surprisingly large, and the ‘book’ in ‘bookshop’, a little exaggerated. Perched along one wall there are some books and cards for sale, but they definitely are not the drawcard to this enclave. The scones are piled high on a tray on top of the counter. Freshly baked and large enough to cover for two scones, the scone is light and crispy on the outside, and robust (heavy rather than fluffy) on the inside. The jam is better than average i.e., thicker rather than a transparent sweet coloured gel. The whipped cream is thick, just as it should be, and there’s plenty of it and the jam to cover the scone liberally. The scones do run out, so make it there for morning tea. Closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An interesting array of all the favourites plus herbal and specialty loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$

Overall: A hideaway cafe that surprises the unsuspected.

Location: Taylors Rd, opposite tourist information office, Burnt Pine Ph: +6723 24295

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘The Olive’

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Although off (just) the main street of Burnt Pines, you can’t miss the pointed roof of The Olive. The cafe certainly does stand out, and the lovely lawn is covered with umbrella-covered tables if you prefer alfresco dining to the welcoming indoor area. It’s another popular breakfast/lunch hangout, but don’t leave it too late as the umbrellas get packed away by 3pm. I’m distracted by the menu, but get back to my main aim – the scones. They don’t disappoint; fresh and fluffy, and probably the best on the island (although most of the others on offer do come close). I can’t put my finger on it, but these babies have a delicate creamy taste with just the right balance of everything – absolutely delicious! They are so good that the lightly whipped (I like it thick, thick, thick) cream doesn’t bother me too much. The jam is above average and does the job. When the scones are top-notch, not even average condiments can bring them down.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A vast choice of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a small pot with extra hot water on the side.

Price: $$

Overall: A central location and did I already mention they have the best scones on the island?

Location: Burnt Pine 2899 Ph: +6723 24406 facebook.com/theolivenorfolkisland/

Reviewed in December, 2016


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