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‘Botanic Gardens Restaurant’

dtbotanic-gardens-cafe

I was hoping the Botanic Gardens Restaurant served scones but unfortunately I find myself downstairs at the cafe instead. I am told that they have recently installed a screened wall to keep the pesky birds out and away from the food. I look longingly out to the tables under umbrellas and a canopy of trees, but remember the birds and visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie comes to mind. Smack bang in the middle of the Botanic Gardens and far enough away so you don’t hear the city traffic, the gardens are an idyllic place to escape the CBD across Macquarie street if it starts getting to you. It’s a very casual affair where you order and pay at the counter and even clear your own table (probably because of the birds). The scones are mammoth crusty obscurely shaped lumps in either plain or raisin. The plate is far too small and I end up eating it half off the table as it’s really crumbly and there’s also an odd sweetness to it. Two tiny portion controlled jams, which is ridiculous considering the size of the scone, are served and the cream arrives in an espresso coffee cup. The cream is fresh but needs to be whipped rather than dispensed from a bottle, as its way too light. I’d say enjoy the gardens and get some scones somewhere else when you emerge.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A variety of tea (teabags) in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Lacks charm unlike the restaurant above it.

Location:  The Royal Botanic Garden & Domain, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9241 2419 rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed in November, 2012


‘Cafe at the Gallery’

DT@Cafe at the Gallery -NSW Art Gallery#

Whether visiting the Art Gallery of NSW’s vast and varied collection or one of the many constantly changing exhibitions, you could say that there is something for everyone here. Although a constant flow of visitors pass through the doors, the hushed tones akin to library visits make this a pleasant escape from city streets. Feeling peckish? Then head down to the Cafe at the Gallery on level one, which is one of two eateries at the gallery. A large light-filled cafe with an outdoor dining space, the hubbub from the diners feels loud and hectic after the semi-silent crowds in the galleries. Scones are served singularly. My scone is large; soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s served with chilled whipped cream alongside standard strawberry jam – delicious! Cafe on Gallery is open late for Art After Hours on Wednesdays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A superb art collection matched with an inviting cafe.

Location: Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9225 1700 artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed in May, 2017


‘Cafe Cino’

DT @ The Hilton #4

A great central location in Sydney’s CBD, Caffe Cino is your typical generic lobby style cafe in a busy five-star hotel. The public spaces at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel are lovely and light filled and the lobby is a hive of activity. Short on ambience, the cafe serves an average Devonshire Tea with small scones heated in the microwave. The airy whipped cream is non-eventful but the best thing is the Beerenberg jam that is served in its own jar. Maybe try something else on the menu.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: Good sized pot with a limited selection of loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$$

Overall: Light, airy and open.

Location: The Lobby, The Hilton Hotel, 488 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9266 2000 hiltonsydney.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2011


‘Caffe Contessa’

DT@Cafe Contessa-Westfield Sydney#

You may not notice Caffe Contessa, especially if you are making a beeline for The Tea Salon, which incidentally is only a hop, step and a jump away on the same floor. The cafe offers High Teas among other things as well as date scones. When I ask how they are served, I am told with butter and jam – cream one dollar extra. I was already committed to the date scones, but little did I know that they were served toasted. Not a fan of toasted scones, it’s hard to get past the sweetness of the dates, the inferior quality jam and the can cream all together. It’s a pleasant corner in Westfield for a cuppa nonetheless.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of Tea Drop pyramid bag teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Visit if you like toasted scones.

Location: Westfield Sydney, Level 4, Pitt Ln, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 8072 8003

Reviewed August, 2014


‘Cafe Victoria’

IMG_3295

In the Myers department store in Sydney’s CBD, I find the location of Cafe Victoria quite peculiar. In my mind the feminine touches, classical music and promises of High Tea would be more suitable to a clientele more predisposed to gowns and intimates rather than suits and shirts? Maybe it’s for weary girlfriends, partners and wives who are waiting for their other half to make a decision on whether to take the handkerchief or a tie to wear with their suit? The cafe in the corner of the menswear department has a cosy design but the pièce de résistance is the bar and stools running along the picture windows. I do love a view, and this city view looks straight across George and Market streets to the Queen Victoria Building and the busy intersection below. It’s obviously my lucky day as this is the first time I have seen scones available at this cafe. My sultana scone is, politely put, average, and quite hard on the outside. The small serving of ultra sweet jam and cream from a can is rather disappointing. The only worthy mention goes to the Tea Tonic tea and that city view!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A selection of Tea Tonic loose-leaf teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Take advantage of the windows and view, especially if you have been indoors for too long.

Location: Myers Department Store, Level 3, 436 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9238 9560

Reviewed August, 2014


‘City Extra’

DT@City Extra-Circular Quay#

Franchise and 24/7 cafe/restaurants in highly trafficked tourist areas in major cities are not the kind of places I have scored decent scones. So it is with very low expectations that I slide in to a seat at City Extra, Circular Quay. Fortunately it’s not overly busy this particular Saturday afternoon and we nab an outdoor table overlooking the busy Circular Quay thoroughfare filled with ferry commuters, and locals and visitors ambling along enjoying the winter sun and all that the busy hub offers. The inside booths and array of pancakes on the menu makes City Extra feel very American, and back when it opened in 1986, it did feel just that. I don’t expect to find scones on the menu, so I have never bothered to stop by, which is a shame as the scones are crispy and fresh out of the oven, no soggy microwaved scones here. They do taste a bit salty to me, but my partner doesn’t pick it up. I do notice on the busy menu, it’s designed to look like a folded newspaper, that all items are made on the premises. Call me cynical, but I don’t always believe what I read. However, in the scone case, I think they are right! The jam is average, and the fresh cream is from a whipping siphon and is particularly light. But with scones this good, the jam and cream don’t spoil the spread. The Circular Quay venue has extended trading hours but City Extra Parramatta is open 24/7.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of Twinings tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A handy location with extended trading hours right at Circular Quay.

Location: E4 East Podium Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9241 1422 cityextra.com.au

Reviewed May, 2015


‘Crossroads Bar’

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Tucked away high above Market Street in Sydney’s CBD, you’d be forgiven for not knowing where the Swissotel Sydney is. Pass through the easily missed door at street level and ride the escalator to the eighth floor and a whole big open hotel world awaits. The Crossroads Bar, in front of the hotel reception, is the main hub and acts as a bar and all day dining venue. It’s open and bright, helped by a sizeable chunk of floor to ceiling windows that overlook Market Street. The tables by the window are very popular and if you miss out on one of these there are also several intimate pods (the modern day booths) to sit at. It’s Monday afternoon and very busy with many customers enjoying High Tea, so I have a more than expected wait for both service and my scones. I can’t help but notice that my Devonshire Tea looks more Oriental than English and I am half expecting a set of chopsticks to be presented. The plain and sultana scones are both small, and exceptionally crusty on the outside with not much on the inside. There is also an aftertaste that reminds me of pancakes made from premixed batter. The jam is a little runny and the cream, said to be ‘Sydney organic honey cream’, although lovely, I can’t quite taste the difference to plain whipped cream.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A variety of Sir Thomas Lipton loose-leaf teas served in a heavy pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A respite from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD.

Location: Swissotel Sydney, 68 Market St Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9238 8888 swissotel.com/hotels/sydney/

Reviewed in August, 2013


 ‘D’ough Espresso’

IMG_3639

Another scone offering in Sydney’s CBD is D’ough Espresso in The Galleries opposite Sydney’s QVB. Date and plain scones are listed on the breakfast menu but when I turn up mid afternoon there is only one plain scone left. Ordering a tea and scone, I ask how they are served having learned my lesson in ordering scones in city cafes. I ask them not to toast my scone and to ditch the butter and replace it with cream. None of this is a problem and I take a seat. My tea arrives in a mug that is three-quarters full, and after perusing the menu I realise that you can get a pot, but I am not even asked by the cashier. The scone arrives cut in half but luckily not toasted. The cream is from a can and extremely light and the Beerenberg jam is in portion controlled packets.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3

Tea: A small selection of T2 tea bag teas served in a mug or teapot.

Price: $$

Overall:  It’s not the best CBD option, but if you are short of time.

Location: The Galleries, Lower Ground, 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9265 6888

Reviewed October, 2014


‘Dovetail Cafe’

DT@Dovetail-World Square, Sydney

Located in the heart of the bustling shopping precinct that is World Square in Sydney’s CBD, Dovetail Cafe is strategically positioned to receive a heavy flow of passing pedestrian traffic. Not sure whether it’s named after the pseudo dovetail joints on display on the outer walls of the cafe, or the silhouettes of doves (as in birds) positioned around the place. The interior of the cafe maintains the random dove theme, and sticks with a bright, modern cafe look. The scones aren’t on the menu but are a reliable staple. They’re mediocre – neither good nor bad – and will suffice if you’re really hankering for one and don’t want to traipse up town. The one lousy strawberry sachet of jam is a disappointment and doesn’t meet my jam requirements, so I ask for another. The cream tastes like a synthetic whipped cream from a can, which is super light. Probably not the best choice of DT in the City.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a teapot, plus some ‘hand picked fine Chinese teas’.

Price: $$

Overall: A buzzy cafe easily located in bustling World Square.

Location: World Square, 9/644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 8387 6257 dovetailcafe.com.au

Reviewed in September, 2017


‘Expresso Bar @ David Jones Foodhall’

DT@Expresso Bar @ David Jones Foodhall, Sydney#

Finding a cafe that serves scones is like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. With time to spare between appointments I decide to try to sniff out some scones in the David Jones Foodhall in Market Street. After pinning for London over tins of Harrods and Fortnum & Mason teas, I locate what I’m looking for at Expresso Bar, a European style coffee bar opposite a cake shop with cabinets loaded with decadent cakes and pastries. Although outside, the mercury is nudging the mid 30s, I’m as cool as a cucumber and late enough to miss the lunchtime crowds. There is no set ‘Devonshire Tea’ on the menu but rather, you can order as many scones as you like at $3.00 a pop and that includes the cream and jam, plus add a tea, or coffee for that matter, after all it is an ‘Expresso Bar’. With plain and sultana scones to choose from, I go with the plain, and although not mind-blowing, it’s light and tasty – just the right texture without making you feel like you’ve eaten a horse. The miniature jar of Beerenberg raspberry jam is the perfect amount for one scone, but the cream tastes like it’s straight from the can, too light, too airy and not enough by a long shot – unless you’re on a diet that is.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A choice of a bunch of Twining’s tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A busy thoroughfare with great people watching possibilities.

Location: David Jones, 65-77 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9266 5544 
davidjones.com.au/Store-Services/Food/Food-hall

Reviewed in October, 2013


 ‘Foodoo Coffee Lounge’

DT@Foodoo Coffee Lounge - Myers George St

Tucked amongst the bed, bath and kitchen ware on level 5 of Myers Sydney City is relaxed Foodoo Coffee Lounge, which is an oasis for shoppers who need a break from chasing after Christmas sales. I’ve been past the cafe before, checking for scones at different times of the year, but this is the first time I have seen the cafe’s cabinets so well stocked. Maybe it’s due to the busy Christmas period, I’m not sure, but I find scones wedged in the corner. Impressive are the 15 choices of Tea Tonic loose-leaf teas – a shame the teapots aren’t a tad bigger though. You can order as many scones as you like, so I try one and it arrives with one portion of jam, which is definitely not enough, and a big squirt of cream from a can. The scone isn’t bad at all and would punch above average if served with better quality jam and cream. When I asked, there was no problem getting more jam for the other half of the scone.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A surprisingly great choice of Tea Tonic loose-leaf teas and some tea bag varieties.

Price: $$

Overall: A nice spot for a cup of Tea Tonic tea, but skip the scone.

Location: Level 5, 436 George St, Sydney 2000 NSW Ph: 02 9238 9111

Reviewed in December, 2013


‘Hyde Park Barracks Cafe’

DT@Hyde Park Barracks#2

Built in 1819 by the convict architect Francis Greenway, the World Heritage Listed Hyde Park Barracks, now a museum, started its life housing convicts. From 1848 it became an Immigration Depot for single female immigrants and then a female asylum from 1862 to 1886. The government moved in and used some of the buildings as law courts up until as late as 1979. The wonderful heritage barracks and buildings as well as its spacious courtyard, that is more reminiscent of army parades than convicts have had a colourful life and now operates as a museum. After an interesting poke around the museum, take tea and scones in a building that acted as former solitary confinement cells, and then later as a court room. On the mezzanine level be sure to look up and witness the only remaining original dome-like ceiling. Sit in or outside and enjoy the historical ambience that feels a world away from the hectic pace of the CBD. The scones are on the brunch menu and are baked to order, so they ask for 10 minutes preparation time. The scones are large and of course fresh from the oven, but taste more muffin/cake than a traditional scone. The tart rather than sweet strawberry jam is house made and don’t be put off by the dark red hue, it’s the real deal. The cream is definitely freshly whipped, but not the way I like it – the old-fashioned way with an electric mixer. Instead it’s very light and I suppose out of a whipping cream siphon. Scones are available from 9.00 – 11.45am daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of Tea Craft loose-leaf teas served in an Asian inspired teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: Sophisticated and relaxed dining a stones throw from the city centre.

Location: Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9222 1815 hydeparkbarrackscafe.com.au

Reviewed in May, 2015


‘La Rose Café’

DT@La Rose Cafe-Myers mezzanine

Over the years I have kept an eye out for the likelihood of scones being served at La Rose Cafe in Myers Sydney City. The café looks over the beauty department on the ground floor and shares the Mezzanine level with women’s lingerie and sleepwear. Since it’s all about women, you would think that scones are available, but this is the first time I see them (it is the middle of winter). However, I don’t know why they have bothered, as these forlorn little buggers, individually wrapped in plastic, look very unappealing. And even more unappealing is the one small sachet of Kraft strawberry jam and the small squirt of super sweet can cream they are served with. The highlight of the overpriced endeavour is the pot of Tea Tonic tea, although the coffee cup and small teapot doesn’t do my coconut tea justice. When I visit there is a special – ‘scone and coffee for $7.50’ but I have to pay a bit extra to have the Tea Tonic tea.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapothalf

Tea: A surprisingly extensive selection of Tea Tonic loose-leaf teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: An ideal location if you need a quiet break from the women’s lingerie department but skip the scone special.

Location: Myer, Mezzanine Level, 436 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9238 9111 myer.com.au

Reviewed July, 2015


‘Met2 Cafeteria’

DT@Met2 Cafe-Woolies Town Hall#3

Met2 Cafeteria on the top-level of the iconic Woolworths at Town Hall Station, is not only a rare find but also a blast from the retro past. It reminds me of my childhood in the 1970’s when I ate salty crinkled cut hot chips in a bucket that I put on a plastic tray and slid along the cold stainless steel rungs to the cashier in the yellow uniform. That was at the Coles/K Mart in Waratah, Newcastle, and I wonder if it’s still there? Like American diners, supermarket cafeterias are nostalgic bolt holes and Met2 is the only one in existence that I know of. Sitting serenely atop the busiest Woolies in Australia – well, definitely Sydney – the café shares a floor with a photo lab and a kind of Internet café and whatever Woolies is trying to spruik that week. Not many people know about it, as most don’t make it past the ground floor. There are booths and a menu that reads like RSL restaurant menus, think chicken vol-an-vont, fish Mornay and all types of steaks, and I love it. If only the staff dressed in pastel coloured uniforms that were so popular in the 70s and 80s, which would really top it off! The scone on the other hand is far from enticing; more sweet bread roll than light fluffy scone. The jam is at the better end of the average spectrum but the cream is the star, fresh and thick. Go for the fun of it!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of tea bag teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Location: Woolworths Town Hall, Level 4, Cnr Park & George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9264 1927

Reviewed September, 2015


‘New York Metro Cafe’

DT@New York Metro-Town Hall #2

The New York Metro Cafe sits conveniently near one of the entrance/exit gates to Town Hall train station. Whenever I pass, it’s always in a rush, but I never fail to notice the feature wall in the courtyard and how pleasant the cascading water looks. I finally scan the outside menu and discover they do scones for afternoon tea, so I step out of the fast flow of human traffic, and although you can sit in booths (another favourite of mine) indoors, I take a seat by that same water feature. I sit down in a near empty cafe just before 4pm, and within 10 minutes the place is almost half full. To be honest, I don’t expect great things, it’s just a gut instinct that’s usually right and it didn’t let me down this time round either. The large scones look burnt and dry and I almost ask the friendly Japanese waitress for more jam but think better of it. The jam is watery and has a syrupy sweetness that only cheap jam tends to have and the cream is ultra runny as well. Overall, not a great find.

Scones: teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of black and herbal teabags served in small pots.

Price: $$

Overall: A good cafe for a break, but avoid the scones suggested on the outside menu.

Location: Town Hall Square, Shop 15-16, Cnr George St & Druitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9264 7198

Reviewed in November, 2012


‘Old Viennese Coffee House’

DT@Old Vienna Coffee House-QVB

What impress me are the windows. I just love the massive top to bottom original windows on Level 1 of the QVB. As I sip tea and chat, they allow a birds-eye view of the Westfield Tower wedged in amongst the high-rise buildings. The opera music competes with the murmur of the diners and is pleasant rather than offensive, even if you’re not a fan. It’s just hit lunchtime when I visit, but the service is swift and efficient, a Viennese trait perhaps, and we’re not waiting long before we’re munching on scones. I’m not keen on yellow plates, I don’t now why but they just don’t suit, they remind me of 1970s Formica laminated kitchen bench tops. Overall, the presentation, quality and taste is pretty average. The scones are neither good nor bad, and the cream is very light. My friend and I can’t decide whether it’s from a can or from a cream whipping canister, but after much debate we decide on the latter as it does taste fresh but very light. The jam is my favourite part of the spread, not too syrupy, but tasty nonetheless.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of Twinnings tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Efficient service but don’t expect to be transported to Vienna, Austria.

Location: The Albert Walk, Shop 2, Level 1, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9267 5746
 oldviennacoffeehouse.com.au

Reviewed May, 2014


‘The Bakers Oven Café’

DT@The Bakers Oven Cafe - The Rocks

Nothing beats a stroll through Sydney’s historic heartland, The Rocks, filled with cobbled walkways, classic pubs and shops geared to tourists. There are a multitude of eateries, which in the most part are overpriced and geared to the tourist market. The Bakers Oven Cafe’s large shop window stacked with cakes and pastries has been wooing passersby for longer than I can remember. Recently I noticed their stack of scones so decide to give it a try. The cafe has been spruced up and now has footpath seating out the front and quite a large area spilling on to the Nurses Walk out the back. The wholemeal and sultana scones are served with jam and butter, so I ask for cream and am quickly told it’s an extra $2.50. There really isn’t a choice in the matter, there has to be scones, jam and cream, so I order away. You can sense a tourist cafe a mile off, and I have my misgivings. The large single scone arrives cut and toasted, with sachets of butter, one sachet of jam (I ask for one more) and a bowl of cream. The scone is disappointing, more fruit bread with an aftertaste than soft fluffy scone, and my $2.50 bowl of spray can cream is melting at such a fast rate I need a straw. My underwhelming, I am being polite here, Devonshire Tea ends up coming in at $13.50, which is a rip off considering the quality and quantity.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3

Tea: A handful of Lipton tea bag choices.

Price: $$$

Overall: Overpriced and underwhelming.

Location: 121 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9247 9978

Reviewed in November, 2013


‘The Devonshire Tea Community Café’

DT@Surrey Hills Library & Community Centre#2

Open on Surry Hills Market days (1st Saturday of the month) between 10am and 3pm, this superb city secret doesn’t disappoint. Situated on level 1 of the architecturally award-winning library and community centre, the open kitchen bustling with beaming welcoming faces churn out a serious amount of scones. The incredibly fresh scones are slightly crusty with no nasty after taste, and the whipped cream is real i.e. not from a can. Run by a few volunteers and paid staff, I can’t believe that a $6 Devonshire Tea can exist amongst the expensive trendy cafes in the area. Check for other goodies like a bargain $5 bowl of homemade soup with bread roll while you’re there.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Stock standard Tetley teabag.

Price: $$

Overall: Lovely community atmosphere.

Location: Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, Level 1, 405 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010 Ph: 02 9356 4977 shnc.org

Reviewed in June, 2012


‘The Gallery Tea Lounge’

DT@The Gallery Tea Lounge, Sheraton on the Park, Sydney#

With views across the road to Hyde Park, the Gallery Tea Lounge at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park Hotel is an easy place to slip in to for a quiet bite to eat. The casual atmosphere and book-lined wall gives the open space a reading room vibe so outside of main dining times it’s a pleasant place to hang out. The service is far too efficient or is it that my companion and I are too slow in opening the menus? Our large pots of tea arrive promptly and just before the plate of four smallish scones accompanied with three juicy strawberries. The raisin and plain scones are crispy on the outside and are good but nothing remarkable. What impresses me is the clotted cream; thick, rich and almost like butter. It’s definitely the highlight. To me all five-star hotel scones tend to taste the same: bland, but I am hoping to be proved wrong some day.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A great range of Twinings and Penelope Sach herbal loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$$$

Overall: Pricey for what you get.

Location: Lobby Level, Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9286 6000
 sheratonontheparksydney.com/thegallerytealounge

Reviewed in September, 2013


‘The Palace Tea Room’

IMG_2790

A visit to The Palace Tea Room needs to be shared with at least one friend rather than going solo. Why? Because it’s just so damn good. It’s the kind of place where you can escape hectic Sydney, especially the lower thoroughfare levels of the QVB and nestle in for a few hours for a good ‘catch up’. Set in the upper echelons of the historical Queen Victoria Building, The Palace Tea Room is essentially a Tea Room serving all manner of afternoon teas plus more substantial meals. The space is filled with natural light and chandeliers hang from the ceiling to give the place an air of decadence. It feels a bit empty when we arrive but the vibe amps up a notch as tables fill and the clink of teacup to saucer and the chatter of satisfied customers fills the air. There’s seating in the main part of the restaurant with ample tables lining the banister outside for a more QVB appreciation experience. We’re impressed with the Wedgewood tea ware that’s all floral and shades of pink. The scones arrive fresh from the oven. One plain and one raisin, and I’ve got to say that they are superb! Crispy on the outside with delicate folds of scone heaven on the inside. To top it off, the cream is double thick and the housemade strawberry jam is tart rather than sickly sweet, which personally I love. There’s not a lot of jam and cream, considering there are four good-sized scones, but there’s no problem getting a top up. I visit on a weekday, but you may want to book a table on the weekends as I can only assume it would be a popular place. Quality doesn’t come cheap, but when you try as many scones as I do, it’s easy to recognise a stand out one – and this is one of them.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A diverse range of loose-leaf teas served in classic Wedgewood teapots.

Price: $$$$

Overall: Understated top quality elegance with professional and friendly service.

Location: Queen Victoria Building, Shop L1 20-22, L1, George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9283 2222
 thepalacetearooms.com.au

Reviewed May, 2014


‘The Sconery’

DT@The Sconery-Chippendale#4

With a name like The Sconery, you know there’s going to be scones on the menu. Well, there are scones, but you won’t find them on the menu. Instead, the plain, raisin, and white chocolate and cranberry scones are stacked high on a cake plate, so there’s no mistaking them, even on approach. Tucked away in Chippendale, in between busy City Road, Cleveland Street and Broadway, The Sconery doesn’t attract passing traffic, unless it’s a local – or someone in the know, like myself (a friend told me about it). Adjacent to a leafy park, it has tables spilling out into a front courtyard, which is lovely if you don’t want to sit indoors. I go traditional and order a plain scone, which is a good size and dense. I am told that a lot of people ask for scone toast, which is basically the scone cut in half and both sides are put in a toaster press, mmm, odd. The Brtish owner, Jason, is a pastry chef and runs scone and cupcake baking classes on the premises and tells me he makes the clotted cream and the strawberry/raspberry jam. The clotted cream is definitely a nice touch – impressive.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A few choices of loose-leaf tea.

Price: $$

Overall: A hidden spot away from the mayhem.

Location: 71/65 Myrtle St, Chippendale NSW 2008 Ph: 02 9319 7728 thesconery.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2013


‘The Tea Cosy’

DT@The Tea Cosy

I’ve been to The Tea Cosy in The Rocks many times, and if I wasn’t in the habit of sniffing out new places to have scones, I would be visiting a lot more often. This time round, I take a gluten-free friend who is literally gagging for a scone fix to try The Teas Cosy’s gluten-free offering. It is important however to pre-order as there isn’t always a batch of gluten-free in the oven. The place is literally pumping out scones to a full house, and even though there are a couple of parties upstairs, we nab the last table for two downstairs. There are four flavours today including one savoury. I go with a currant and an apple crumble scone, which are not long out of the oven; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. There are nine flavours of jam to choose from and have the bloodplum, which is rich and fruity and goes perfectly with the fresh scones and double thick cream. My gluten-free buddy is lost for words, but manages a “the best scones I’ve ever had.” So as a gluten gal, I suppose she means that they don’t taste like cardboard and are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside – just like mine but gluten-free.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: 19 varieties of loose-leaf teas served in a tea cosy covered pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: For tea, tradition and tea cosies – where else is there?

Location: 33 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9247 4955 theteacosy.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2014


‘The Tea Salon’

DT@The Tea Salon-Sydney#3

Stroll past high-end designer stores on level four of the swanky Westfield Sydney and you’ll stumble upon The Tea Salon. It’s all very pink and white, with splashes of purple and green creating a truly feminine feel. There’s quite a menu; 10 scone varieties, both sweet and savoury, including a gluten-free option. If a glass of Moet is more your thing then there’s a selection of champagne and other alcoholic beverages to choose from. This is my second visit in two years. During my first visit I tried a cinnamon/raisin scone served with strawberry jam and thick cream, however it was dry with a nasty after taste. My friend ordered the date/orange scone, served with thick cream and a burnt marmalade jam, and wasn’t impressed for much the same reasons as myself. Normally I’m not a fan of marmalade but I actually liked this, as it wasn’t too ‘breakfast marmalade-ish’. Due to recent positive scone reports I decided on a second visit, but this time to taste the plain scones. Not so plain as I taste a hint of lemon or orange zest. The strawberry jam isn’t bad and the double thick cream gives it a fine finish. Love the dainty teacups and teapots and if any of the flavoured scones takes your fancy, you can buy take home packs.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A selection of loose-leaf teas including a few herbal varieties.

Price: $$$

Overall: A chick magnate kinda place.

Location: Westfield Sydney, Level 4 (Designer Gallery), Cnr Pitt St Mall & Market St, Sydney NSW 2000
 Ph: 02 9357 4488 theteasalon.com.au

Reviewed in March, 2014


‘The White Rabbit Gallery Tea House’

DT@The White Rabbit Gallery-Chippendale

Hidden within the narrow streets of Chippendale, The White Rabbit Gallery and it’s Tea House is a welcome retreat from city life and traffic heavy thoroughfares that surround the compact inner city suburb. The gallery’s collection is one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art, and to top it off, it’s privately owned!  Before settling in for tea, peruse the collection that is exhibited over three floors, otherwise there’s a small gift shop selling an array of typical art gallery gifts. The simple design of the Tea House creates tranquility but the crème de la crème of the space are the mishmash of empty birdcages suspended from the ceiling. Scones are sold singularly rather than as pairs, and only one batch are baked per day. I suggest calling ahead if going specifically for scones, as the first time I turned up they hadn’t baked them due to an event the evening before. On the day I visit, my scone is slightly burnt on the bottom, but otherwise it has a lovely robust texture and tell-tale signs of crispness when straight from the oven. The jam is especially sweet, even for jam, and is neither good nor bad. The lightly whipped cream is more than likely from a cream canister. Closed Monday and Tuesday, and for two-week blocks throughout the year for exhibition changes.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: An extensive range of Chinese and Taiwanese loose-leaf teas served in a teapot and a thimble-sized cup. Choose from white, oolong, and green teas, as well as flower teas such as chrysanthemum. Have as many hot water refills as you and your tea will take.

Price: $$

Overall: A slice of culture and tranquility in the hectic inner city.

Location: 30 Balfour St, Chippendale NSW 2008 Ph: 02 8399 2867 

Reviewed September, 2017


‘Café Birkenhead’

DT@Cafe Birkenhead-Birkenhead Point

What makes shopping at Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre bearable is it’s harbourside location and light filled space. Even the restaurants and cafes are pleasant, boasting water views. Far away from the hectic Food Court, Cafe Birkenhead is more sedate even though the large industrial style space seems very popular. There’s enough room and water views for everyone, even during the Christmas shopping period. After an impressive lunch, I am shocked when my scones arrive – they look ridiculous. The two huge steaming lumps are more akin to bread rolls than delicate scones, and are accompanied by two tiny packets of Kraft jam, and a bowl of Dairy Whip cream that is quickly dissolving. The scones (?) are slightly sweet and are at least fresh, but taste nothing like scones. The waitress is back with more packets of low quality jam within moments of asking, and the cream? Super light and melting rapidly. But at least it’s 97 per cent ‘real’ cream. This spread is embarrassing considering the cafe offers decent food, with generous servings and at good prices.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of Madura tea bags served in a small tea pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A light industrial space with delicate touches including a bonza view.

Location: Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre, 70a/19 Roseby St Drummoyne NSW 2047
Ph: 02 9181 4339 cafebirkenhead.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016 


‘Ciao Thyme’

DT@Ciao Thyme-Balmain

I’m no baker, but this doesn’t look like a lemonade scone – well, not one that I have had before. And actually, it doesn’t really taste like a scone either, tasting more like a square muffin or loaf. But this is what a lemonade scone served with jam and cream looks like at Ciao Thyme in Balmain. A cute corner cafe situated a few blocks towards the eastern end of Darling Street and far enough away from the busy-ness of Balmain, it feels positively relaxing. In this part of town, it’s hard not to notice the heritage that’s evident in the plethora of sandstone buildings and cute terraces and cottages dating back to Sydney’s early years. I am having such a pleasant experience that I don’t mind that my scone is a little weird, as my strawberry jam is better than your average and the Chantilly cream is just about right.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good selection of loose-leaf teas served in handle free plunger pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute, chilled out and airy cafe in the quiet part of town.

Location: 212 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041 Ph: 02 9555 5455

Reviewed January, 2015


‘Garden House Cafe’

DT@Garden House Cafe-Flower Power Enfield#2

Tucked away in suburbia, The Flower Power Garden Centre in Enfield is part of a larger complex, including a fruit and veg shop, and pet care supplies, that are all accessed via the one car park. Once in the garden centre shop, the garden world is your oyster. As well as pesticides, gardening tools and potting mix, buy scented candles, terrariums and cushions – an endless supply of gift ideas. Then there are the plants and the garden furniture; it’s difficult to leave empty-handed. The cafe is buzzing, and although the sun is shining, everyone seems crammed indoors rather than the sunny courtyard. Date or plain scones are available, but I stick with the plain. The scone is light, and you may want to order two if hungry. The raspberry compote, which is neither tart nor sweet, provides a change from standard jams, however a bigger portion wouldn’t go astray. The double thick dollop cream is a nice touch, and there’s more than enough to go around.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of unusual Calmer Sutra loose leaf tea blends served in a tea pot. Choose from blends with names such as Peppermyrtle, Black Velvet, Emerald Bloom, Floral Field, Lady Melba, and Evermore.

Price: $$

Overall: A buzzy vibe with plenty of garden centre-style shopping.

Location: Flower Power Garden Centre, 27 Mitchell St, Enfield NSW 2136
Ph: 02 9747 5555 gardenhousecafe.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2017


‘Grandma’s’

DT@Grandma's-Alexandria#

Things have certainly changed since my first Devonshire Tea at Grandma’s. Back then it was called Grandma’s Little Bakery, at a different Alexandria location, and the only Grandma’s outlet in Sydney. Nowadays it’s all happening with another Sydney location in Rosebery (sadly they don’t serve scones). Not that it needs any help with drawing in the crowds, Grandma’s is in a prime Alexandria location and offers indoor seating in its cavernous cafe, and limited outdoor picnic table seating alongside the driveway. The scones are slightly crisp on the outside and have a rustic texture, so don’t expect light and fluffy. The balance between taste and texture is spot on and pairs well with the rich raspberry jam and the super thick, almost clotted cream. I’m not a fan of the jam and cream being served in plastic take-away containers; it cheapens the dining experience. Isn’t it already enough that we have to queue to order and than fight for a table? Grandma’s, like the rest of the inner city, is trending. It is incredibly busy in Alexandria on the weekends; the traffic is mostly at a standstill out front and parking spots are scarce. If you can, walk or like we did, ride a bike to Grandma’s. The cafe is popular and the staff stretched, which shows up with us waiting a further 15 minutes (no lie) for our teas after our scones arrive. And one last thing. If only scones were served daily rather than just on weekends, maybe, just maybe, the tea might arrive with the scones.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of T2 silk tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Grandma would be proud at how funky she has become!

Location: 140-142 McEvoy St, Alexandria NSW 2015 Ph: 02 9699 1862 grandmas.com.au

Reviewed October, 2017


‘Sideways Deli Café’

DT@Sideways Deli Cafe - Dulwich Hill

It’s always nice to come across feeding holes popular with the locals. I promise I’m not eavesdropping but it seems as though Dulwich Hill folks have no qualms about sharing, which makes me feel as though Sideways Deli Cafe is a meeting spot to catch up on the gossip. There’s lots of seating in the cafe’s airy and bright interior, but I choose one of the many outdoor tables on the footpath. Perched on a roundabout, it feels like it offers easy access as proven by today’s buzzy atmosphere. There are lots of tasty looking treats on the counter, including a plate full of freshly baked scones. I will be so bold as to say that they are fresh, because they taste sensational. So light and fluffy with a creamy taste, I wish I ordered two and not just one. The strawberry jam is tart and not sickly sweet and reminds me of a homemade variety rather than a commercially bought one, but I could be wrong. Nonetheless, it gets my tick of approval. The cream however, although fresh, is too light for me. This spread would really shine with a thicker whipped cream – but that’s just me.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good variety of Tea Craft loose-leaf teas served in a decent sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A popular hidden gem in the quiet streets of suburban Dulwich Hill.

Location: 37 Constitution Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203 Ph: 02 9560 1425 sidewaysdelicafe.com.au

Reviewed January, 2015


‘The Café Sienna’

DT@The Cafe Sienna-Annandale#

The only reason I had heard of The Cafe Sienna in Annandale is because of the High Tea deal I saw on one of the cheap coupon websites. When I called to ask whether I could order scones on their own, I couldn’t quite get my message across so I decided to just pop in anyway. Located on a quiet leafy street corner in lovely Annandale, the beautifully restored corner store with sky-high ceilings and large picture windows is a pleasant place to hang out in or outside. I slide in next to a table that is reserved and set for high tea with a dainty tea cup and saucer, which causes me great disappointment when I end up with a thick rimmed coffee cup instead. It’s not just me that has been duped; the lady outside gets the same cup with her pot of T2 tea. Although I ask at the counter about the scones, a menu is still shoved into my hand even though there are no scones listed. I tell the waitress what I want, and guessing its part of a high tea wrongly assume the scones will be bite size. Instead my two scones arrive the size of dinner rolls, so I send one back. The bread roll looking scone is steaming hot (from the microwave) with a dry top. They are neither ravingly good nor scathingly bad, just average, which is a real shame as the chilled thickly whipped cream is sensational. The cherry jam is plentiful and different but it is mostly sickly sweet syrup than rich fruit. A place to linger with free Wi-Fi on offer.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: 18 choices of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A sneaky cafe tucked away in the mellow Annandale streets.

Location: 61 Annandale St, Annandale NSW 2038 Ph: 02 9560 2698 thecafesienna.com.au

Reviewed June, 2014


‘The Coffee Emporium’

DT@The Coffee Emporium - Westfield Burwood#2

No matter how stylish and appealing you try to make a franchise café or restaurant look or sound on their website, if you can’t deliver decent quality goods, even if it is just scones, jam and cream, then how can you expect repeat customers? It’s one of my pet hates of eating in shopping malls – almost every eatery is a franchise. Located on Level One at Westfield Shopping Mall in Burwood, The Coffee Emporium is one of a few choices I find for scones. I’m sorry to say but these are some of the worst scones I have ever had. Dry and basically stale, they arrive cut in half and spruced up with a sprinkle of icing sugar. The half of scone I manage to eat leaves a bad taste in my mouth, which is often associated with scones that are baked to sit for days on end in a cake cabinet and taste like it’s made from a packet mix. The jam is average and the sweet faux cream is from a can. The whole lot tastes sickly sweet and synthetic. If you insist on giving them a try yourself, other Coffee Emporium franchises are located in Westfield and other shopping malls in Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: The usual variety of teas. Listed on the menu as plunger tea, but when it arrives it is actually loose-leaf tea in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A typical franchise serving up a lousy Devonshire Tea.

Location: Level 1 Westfield Burwood, 100 Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134
Ph: 02 8084 0946 thecoffeeemporium.com.au

Reviewed March, 2015


‘The Cove & Co Dining’

DT@Prato cafe & Diner#2

As soon as we see The Cove Dining Co my friend and I ‘ooh and ah’ as we walk across the lawn and through the luscious garden. The old historic building started out as an ornamental Pavilion on a waterfront estate back in the early 1900s, then became a weekend recreational playground used by Grace Bros employees (think bowling greens, tennis courts, cricket pitches and a small golf course). In 1917 until 1991, the Swiss chocolate giant, Nestle, built a chocolate factory adjacent to the building and used it as offices then a recreational clubhouse for factory employees. Since then, the building has been brought back to its former glory but unfortunately is hemmed in on two sides by residential apartments, a tennis court and swimming pool. Nonetheless, it’s a great find in – if you aren’t from the area – a secret Sydney suburb. There’s lot to keep you occupied as you wait for your meal. Ovvio organic teas and Princess Pantry jams/relishes to browse through plus a general sticky beak around the high ceiling open plan property. My scones arrive times three – nice – and are homemade, fresh and creamy. The waitress tells me the jam is Granny Smith apple and strawberry but I would never have picked it. The cream is freshly whipped, and thick enough but melts in the morning heat and girlie conversation.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of organic loose-leaf teas by Ovvio served in a small pot

Price: $$

Overall: A tucked away secret slice of history.

Location: 378 Great North Rd, Abbotsford NSW 2046 Ph: 02 9712 5638 thecovediningco.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2014 


‘Armory Wharf Café’

DT@Armory Wharf Cafe-Sydney Olympic Park#2

Technically its still winter, but it’s hitting 28 degrees in Sydney’s west. Sydney Olympic Park is huge, I’d forgotten how huge as I haven’t driven around it for years. Skirting the edge of the Silverwater Correctional Complex, I head down to Blaxland River Park that hugs the edge of the Parramatta River and sits adjacent to the Newington Armory. If you visit on the weekend, you can explore the 100 or so heritage buildings that were part of the former Royal Australian Naval Armament Depot (RANAD) for a century. The Armory Wharf Cafe sits right on the river out the front of the main gatehouse. It’s built to blend in to the landscape rather than stand out, and the shade cover of the outdoors sitting area gives it a military feel. I order the scone, which is really two in one. It’s soft and dense, but a little rubbery on the outside. It’s served with a very small amount of ultra light cream and mixed berry compote. Personally, I would prefer it served with some rich jam as it is difficult to get the compote on to a piece of the ginormous scone. Every so often the Rivercat rumbles by, but never stops at the wharf, so check the timetable if you’re thinking of incorporating a visit with a ride on the Rivercat. Parents will love the nearby playground that’s filled with stuff to keep kids occupied for hours.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

 Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Several varieties of loose-leaf teas including a few unusual herbal blends.

Price: $$

Overall: Great spot by the Parramatta River.

Location: Blaxland Riverside Park, Jamieson St Newington NSW 2127 Ph: 02 9714 7513 armorywharfcafe.com

Reviewed in August, 2013 


‘@ Noah’s Café’

DT@ @Noah's Cafe-DFO Homebush#

DFOs aren’t what they used to be. These days they are no different from Westfield in the fact that they have become slick shopping malls, where you can often, but not always, snap up a bargain. DFO Homebush is much more user-friendly these days – the extra car parking helps, but the high-end shops are way beyond my budget. Although that section of the mall is lovely and quiet! Tucked away in a light and quiet corner (not in the high-end shopping area) is @ Noah’s Cafe. It’s not an in-your-face-eatery, like most there, which is a nice change. Weekends are hectic, so any quietish corner where you can catch your breath is welcome. The seating is ample and roomy and for natural light and glimpses to green pastures, sit in the outside area of the café. Surprisingly the scones are okay. I’m always dubious when at cafes in shopping malls, as you never do know how long the scones/cakes have been in the cabinet. They aren’t the homemade kind, but fresh and tasty enough if you have a scone craving. The let down is the less than average strawberry jam and the sweet and highly processed cream sprayed straight out of a can; disappointing.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of SereniTea tea bags served in a cool teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Tucked away far enough for a rest from the shopping circuit.

Location: DFO Homebush, 3-5 Underwood Rd, Homebush NSW 2140 Ph: 02 9748 9800 dfo.com.au/Homebush/

Reviewed May, 2015 


City Extra’

DT@City Extra - Parramatta#

Just one of two City Extra outlets in Sydney, this one in Parramatta is subdued compared to the Circular Quay location. It’s virtually empty at lunchtime on Saturday. Located on the Church Street restaurant strip, City Extra is perfectly placed in the middle of the action and remains open 24/7 for late night munchies. The menu claims that all food is baked fresh on the premises daily, and that includes the scones. Really, how hard is it to bake scones to order? You don’t heat up pancakes? This spread is identical to the one I had in Circular Quay, which says something about City Extra’s consistency. The scones are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and although they’re probably made from a commercial scone mix (I don’t know – just saying), the scones rank up there as some of the better one’s I’ve eaten. But what can make or break a Devonshire Tea worth eating is the quality of the jam and cream. Here the jam and the fresh light cream are adequate, but not a stand out feature. But bravo for the freshly baked scones!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic selection of Twinnings tea bags served in a standard tea pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The ‘go to’ place for an after hours scone craving.

Location: 301 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150 Ph: 02 9633 1188 cityextra.com.au

Reviewed in April, 2016


‘CWA Tea Room’

DT@CWA Tea Room-Royal Easter Show#2

Everyone has to visit Sydney’s Royal Easter Show at least once in their lives. I’m proud to say that finally I take the plunge in 2014, and as they say, better late than never. There’s something for everyone: thrilling carnival rides, ridiculously huge farm animals, shopping, entertainment, competitions, lots and lots of different types of food to try, and then there’s the CWA Tea Room. Manned by volunteers, the Tea Room pumped out a phenomenal 40,000 scones at the 2013 show over 14 days. Those numbers are insane and it just goes to show that a lot of people love a good homemade scone! Serving this many scones means that things are kept simple. The jam is served in portion-controlled packs, but at least the Beerenberg jam is a rung up from the usual Kraft variety. The cream is delectable: thickly whipped, chilled, with a hint of sweetness. For the ultimate piping hot scones straight out of the oven, keep your eyes peeled on the sign that lets you know when the scones will be ready. Otherwise, whilst waiting to be devoured (which isn’t long), the scones are kept under a cloth to keep in the freshness. If you want to take home the secrets to the CWA success and make your own award-winning scones, pick up the CWA Recipe Book ($22) and a jar of homemade jam. The annual Easter Show is held for 14 days over the NSW school holidays and the Tea Room operates from 9.30am to 6pm daily over the whole duration.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A choice of Premium Blend, English Breakfast and Green Madura tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: An Easter Show institution, what is the Show without the CWA ladies?

Location: Hall 2, P5, The Royal Easter Show, Olympic Park, Homebush NSW 2140 eastershow.com.au


Reviewed April, 2014


‘Elizabeth Farm Tearooms’

DT@Elizabeth Farm-Rosehill #3

I was a little surprised with the Elizabeth Farm Tearooms as I didn’t expect it to be in a modern purpose-built cafe as it doesn’t quite capture the 1830s charm of the rest of the property. Nonetheless with such delectable fresh scones, it’s easy to overlook the sterile cafe.  I visited on a winter’s day, so possibly in warmer weather it would be much more pleasant seated in the courtyard. With large pots of tea to quench your thirst and good jam and cream, this delicious Devonshire Tea is worthy of a try. Wander through historic Elizabeth Farm House, former residence of John and Elizabeth Macarthur of wool pioneer fame, which is open from Friday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Selection of black and herbal loose leaf teas served in large pots.

Price: $$

Overall: Well worth a visit.

Location: 70 Alice St, Rosehill NSW 2142 Ph: 028239 2442 hht.net.au

Reviewed in May, 2012


‘Elm Tree Cafe’

DT @ Elm Tree Cafe -Camden #2

The cafe is tucked away in a quiet courtyard off a side street so not easy to find. On the day that I visit there is a choice of plain and date scones. I go for the date scones, which are tasty but microwaved to an inch of their life. What a shame, as I am liking the relaxed courtyard and the polka dot crockery and proper teacup and saucer. The small amount and lack of quality of the cream is disgraceful, way too light. The jam is passable and not really enough of it. Impressed with the presentation though.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A variety of loose-leaf teas served in a cute pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Love the cute crockery.

Location: 7/39 John St, Camden NSW 2570 Ph: 02 4655 6767

Reviewed in November, 2011


‘Gatehouse Tea Room’

DT@Gatehouse Tea Rooms#2

Residents of Parramatta not only have a gorgeous park to run, cycle or meander through, but two historic locations to enjoy scones that are in spitting distance of each other (see review of Lachlan’s Cafe in Old Government House). The UNESCO World Heritage Listed Gatehouse was built in 1887 during Parramatta’s colonial heyday, and now houses the Gatehouse Tea Rooms that have been in operation since October 2013. It’s a gorgeous property with seating in a couple of restored rooms, along the verandah and in the garden in good weather. It’s a popular venue for High Teas, but also specialises in morning and afternoon teas including a pricey Devonshire Tea. Some scone fans sitting at the next table are raving about the scones, saying they are tasty and with no aftertaste. However for me, these ‘American style’ scones (so says the cafe owner) are not my favourite kind. They are baked in a tray and sliced in squares, more cake-like than traditional scone. They are also slightly toasted, which to me, changes the scone and disguises things that I contribute to a good scone: fluffiness etc. The cafe owner says that they changed to a traditional scone recipe but received so many complaints that they changed back to this style. The jam is very average, but the freshly whipped cream is lovely and thick, and to me is the stand out of this spread. The dainty teacup and saucer and thick white tablecloth and napkin make the experience feel special, however I feel it is quite expensive at $19. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good selection of black, green and herbal loose-leaf teas served in a pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: The perfect setting for a relaxed morning or afternoon tea.

Location: Macquarie St Gatehouse, Corner of Pitt St & Macquarie St, Parramatta Park NSW 2150 Ph: 02 9635 1515
 gatehousetearooms.com.au

Reviewed September, 2014


‘Kelly’s Café’

DT@Kelly's Cafe-Panthers Penrith

Not one to hang out in any kind of ‘club’ restaurant or cafe, I was inspired to make a detour from the M4 and explore the mighty Penrith Panthers entertainment complex. A complex it is – there’s even a hotel next door! From the outside, the imposing building looks more office complex than entertainment domain, with larger-than-life statues of black panthers guarding the entrance. The multi-levels house restaurants, showrooms and gaming rooms, bars and clubs, and offices, which at 10am are quiet. If Kelly’s Cafe is deserted, as it is during my visit, the large open dining area feels more cafeteria than cosy cafe. The bright Vegas-style lights of the cavernous gaming room that’s adjacent to the cafe pulse and ping, and if you aren’t that way inclined can be a bit much. The scones are neither good nor bad, and don’t taste particularly fresh. The two sachets of jam are a copout (I ask for a few more), and the cream, although tastes like real cream, is lightly whipped and aerated. I appreciate the two biscuits with my cuppa, and it adds a nice touch.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of Pickwick tea bags and several T2 loose-leaf teas (although not in T2 cannisters) served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: The cafe you go to when you don’t want to be too far from the gaming tables.

Location: Penrith Panthers, 123 Mulgoa Rd, Penrith NSW 2750 Ph: 02 4720 5529 penrith.panthers.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2016


‘King Henry’s Court’

DT@KIng Henry Court Cafe-Penrith#2

It’s all happening at King Henry’s Court. Operating out of an original church dating back to the 1860’s, the café/restaurant/function space/gift shop is a hive of entrepreneurial activity. Today there are no Hen’s, Birthday or Anniversary Parties happening, but there’s a steady stream of locals heading through the front door for lunch. On the left hand side upon first entering the historic church, there’s a section devoted to inexpensive trinkets and giftware. Actually, it’s hard to know where the gift shop ends and the restaurant begins. Trinkets hang from and cover every available surface throughout the building – or are they part of the decorations? I don’t linger long enough (I’m on my way to the restrooms) to find out – my loitering might upset the full house of diners. It’s officially one of the last few days of winter and I pull up a chair in the front courtyard, leaving the majority of the diners to their trinkets, and soak up the sun. The scones are a bit dry and don’t taste particularly fresh even though it’s just pushing noon. The strawberry jam is average – super sweet – and although the whipped cream could be thicker, is the standout for me. The service is outstanding. I watch super friendly and efficient staff effortlessly assist elderly patrons and mothers with prams, especially as they tackle the front steps.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Dilmah tea bags served in a very small Japanese iron teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A popular and centrally located local hangout.

Location: 74 Henry St, Penrith NSW 2750 Ph: 02 4721 1155 kinghenryscourt.com.au

Reviewed August, 2015


‘Lachlan’s Cafe in Old Government House’

DT @ Lachlan Cafe, Old Government House, Parramatta #4

It’s not fashionable to turn up too early or without a booking for a Devonshire Tea at the Old Government House. I find out the hard way that they are served after 3pm on the weekends as the cafe is busy with lunch. Fortunately, the staff are kind and friendly and I promise not to flaunt the fact that I am eating the most delectable scones! Lachlan Cafe is a little gem in the middle of beautiful Parramatta Park, a long way from the Saturday traffic grind. The cafe is superbly set on the long verandah and in some separate dining rooms in the old garrison barracks tucked away behind National Trust’s Old Government House. The scones are light, fluffy and almost creamy – straight out of the oven I am told. There’s ample jam and cream to smother the scones with but a shame they don’t have loose-leaf tea to compliment such a high quality serve of scones. Take a tour of the House before or after taking tea.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A teabag is served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A must try!

Location: Old Government House, Parramatta Park, Parramatta NSW 2124
Ph:1300 596 286
 lachlans.com.au

Reviewed in June, 2012


‘Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Café’

DT@Oliver Brown Rhodes

There are a bunch of Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafes scattered throughout Sydney serving chocolate fondues and all manner of chocoholic delights. Predominantly attached to shopping centres, the Oliver Brown franchise is designed for those with a sweet tooth. When I pop in to check whether they have scones, I don’t expect to see a jar of them on the counter. Normally the scones are served with butter and a Kraft packet of tasteless strawberry jam, but I ask about cream and for an extra dollar I am given a bowl of whipped sweet cream, the kind that’s found on your hot or iced chocolate. The scone isn’t half bad, although quite sweet. It’s the lousy jam and cream that actually really let’s it down. Come for the chocolate fountains instead. The Oliver Brown franchise started in Sydney so are most prolific here, but they have expanded to the ACT, Queensland and there’s even one in China!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: It is a chocolate cafe after all.

Location: Shop 51, Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre, 1 Rider Blvd, Rhodes NSW 2138 Ph: 02 8757 3655 oliverbrown.com.au

Reviewed May, 2014


‘Melaleuca House’

DT@Melaleuca House-Mt Annan Botanic Garden#2

As a first time visitor to the Australian Botanic Garden in Mt Annan, several things impress me. Firstly, it’s a pleasant day trip from the city (outside of the hot summer months) and the area is home to some unusual things. From the higher points in the Gardens, Sydney’s CBD looms on the horizon and in the opposite direction are the Blue Mountains. Close by you look over pockets of suburbia as Sydney expands ever further towards Canberra. This is Sydney’s southwest, and if you keep your head down, i.e. not looking to the horizon, you could be a million miles from anywhere. Set in 416 hectares of hills and lakes, the Australian Botanic Garden displays over 4000 plants and features the odd outdoor sculpture blended in to the landscape. The Human Sun Dial and the Blue Tree as well as pockets of species-specific forests make the Garden an interesting place for a cycle, walk or picnic. Amongst it all and not far from the PlantBank (a research laboratory) is Melaleuca House, which acts as a cafe, restaurant and function centre. It’s built for all temperatures in mind: comfortable and cosy inside, covered seating on the deck and a relaxed and shady courtyard so parents can keep an eye on kids in the nearby playground. The jumbo scone makes up for a double serving and is surprisingly soft and fluffy, tasting, as it should rather than how it looks (like a bread roll). Although the jam is sweet and sickly, the thickly whipped cream is a bonus and helps boost the overall quality of the spread.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Several choices of pyramid tea bag tea served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A surprisingly pleasant urban escape.

Location: The Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan Dr, Narellan NSW 2567
Ph: 02 4648 3318
 melaleucahouse.com.au

Reviewed in July, 2017


‘Peppercorn Cafe’

DT@Peppercorn Cafe-Mulgoa#

The Peppercorn Cafe is strategically positioned on Mulgoa road, making it super easy to pull over, park up and dine. Located just south of the village shopping centre, the cute timber house has a lovely wrap around verandah, which is perfect for balmy days. If you like to hear what your dining companion has to say, opt for the verandah; the timber floors indoors aren’t great for acoustics. It’s a shame as I am fond of properties like this that have soul and lived a life. After a quick peruse of the art adorning the walls, we head outside. The scones are on the chewy side, which I can only put down to being in the microwave for longer than necessary. The strawberry jam is good enough, but the cream, although fresh, is on the light side.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small variety of Twinings tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Not the best spread – but if you are passing by.

Location: 1319 Mulgoa Rd, Mulgoa NSW 2745 Ph: 02 4773 9224

Reviewed in July, 2017


‘Squeeze & Grind’

DT@Squeeze & Grind-Camden#2

After placing my order, I find my partner sitting in the ‘Hipsters Corner.’ There are no Hipsters in sight, and my partner definitely doesn’t cut the grade sans bushranger beard and weird haircut, it’s just that the sign says so. As I pull up my Astro Turf covered wire pew and place items that roll off a table placed at an impractical angle for a table, I am told we are staying put, as it’s the sunniest place in the house. And who doesn’t love a bit of winter sun? Squeeze & Grind on Camden’s main drag is a cool looking place, so I am surprised to see a breadboard of scones sitting on the counter. My spread arrives looking very impressive and after I manage to stop it from rolling off the table I take a closer inspection. The whole thing is unnecessarily over sweetened. I know it sounds ridiculous, but sickly sweet chocolate sauce that is more at home on a kiddies sundae should not be served anywhere near a scone – cross-contamination of flavours that do not pair well is inevitable. The jam is super sweet rather than fruity and the sugary cream is straight from a can. The scone isn’t bad, actually with the right accompaniments it would taste great, but the sickly chocolate syrup, jam and cream are overpowering. Diners can sniff and choose their tea of choice from the row of loose-leaf teas displayed in small spice jars on the counter.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3

Tea: An interesting range of loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cool hip hang out.

Location: Shop 2/3, 180-186 Argyle St, Camden NSW 2570 Ph: 02 4655 5663 
squeezeandgrind.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2014


‘The Heritage Terrace Cafe’

DT@The Heritage Terrace Cafe-Penrith

On the edge of the Westfield Penrith food court and open to the outside, The Heritage Terrace cafe has a foot in both camps. There’s an entrance from the shopping centre, but the floor to ceiling glass walls and the open plan provides a view to the outside world. It has a typical Westfield cafe feel to it, but just goes under a different name. Order a serving to share if you aren’t famished. The two large dinner roll type scones aren’t bad, but are more bread than scone-like. The average strawberry jam and way-too-light-for-my-liking cream are served in eggcups – an interesting concept.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic selection of tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A handy location if shopping up a storm at Westfield Penrith.

Location: Westfield Penrith, 585 High St, Penrith NSW 2750 Ph: 02 4721 8142 theheritageterrace.com.au

Reviewed in July, 2017


‘Village Coffee Shop & Restaurant’

DT@Village Coffee Shop & Restaurant

It’s nice to visit a cafe that retains a homely vibe rather than try to be like all the other cafes – hip and trendy. While most cafes are renovating and revamping, will those that remain as they have done when they first opened their doors decades before, become ‘the’ place to go? Village Coffee Shop & Restaurant is that sort of place. Without having a local’s knowledge, would I be wrong in saying that the whole family works in this cafe? It’s very popular, and as it fills I start to feel guilty for taking up a table for four. The scones look homemade, although when I take my first bite are a bit chewy, no doubt from the heating process, but if fresh, have lots of potential. The jam is, how can I say this – unusual. Sickly sweet and thick, reminding me of the jam consistency of my childhood when XL jam arrived in cans. The cream is my favourite; fresh and thickly whipped. So simple, yet so effective.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Eight classic varieties of loose-leaf teas served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Homely and simple.

Location: 168 Argyle St, Camden NSW 2570 Ph: 02 4655 6285

Reviewed in November, 2014


‘Cosmopolitan Cafe’

DT@Cosmopolitan Cafe-Bondi Junction

The Cosmopolitan Cafe has been around since 1985 (according to the menu), but I’ve never noticed it before. It’s not surprising as it’s not in my hood for a start, and I don’t generally hang out in cafes. Today the knowledge that there are scones to be had has drawn me in from the Bondi Junction end of Oxford Street. It feels like stepping back in time with the walls lined with retro booths and the clientele that seem as though they have been coming here for the last 30 years by the familiarity they have with some of the staff. In regards to the Devonshire Tea, I had an idea what I was in for from a photo I saw on a blog post. How else did I know that they had scones? The small scones arrive bearing a sweet smell and become quite dry as soon as they cool down from being microwaved. I leave most of the crumbly remains as the cheap jam and lighter than light spray can cream doesn’t do them justice.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of some loose-leaf tea and teabags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Booths win me over every time.

Location: 203 Oxford St, Bondi Junction NSW 2022 Ph: 02 9387 6011

Reviewed in February, 2014


‘Cousin Jacks Pasty Co.’

DT@Cousin Jacks - Bondi Junction#2

Cousin Jacks Pasty Co. situated on the mall in Bondi Junction is no doubt a popular institution with the Eastern suburb Brits who feel homesick for traditional Cornish pasties, and in this case a Cornish Cream Tea. Delivering award-winning pasties for over a year, Cousin Jacks have only recently added the Cream Tea to their menu, and as it is co-owned by a true blue Brit from Cornwell, expect to get the taste of the county. I try both the plain and sultana scones, which are served with plenty of strawberry jam and double thick dollop cream. The scones aren’t particularly light and fluffy, but more erring to the tough side. Maybe this is how they do scones in Cornwell? What do I know? I only know that I, and my tasting companions agree, we like our scones light, fluffy and creamy.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small selection of teabags served in a large teapot. Try the Cornish tea, Smugglers Brew – all the way from Cornwell.

Price: $$

Overall: Drop by for authentic Cornish fare.

Location: 5/175- 181 Oxford St, Bondi Junction NSW 2022 Ph: 02 8096 4304 cousinjackspastyco.com

Reviewed in February, 2014


‘Dunbar House’

DT@Dunbar House-Watsons Bay#

On a sunny summer’s day, Watson Bay is absolutely gorgeous and feels a million miles from the traffic congestion that I had to tackle to get here. It’s only when you look west towards the Harbour Bridge and the city skyline that you are reminded that indeed, this is Sydney. Perched on Sydney’s south head, Watsons Bay is a magnate for day-trippers from all over the globe. It has the best of both worlds; dramatic ocean views from the cliff tops over the infamous Gap, and the more serene vista of boats bobbing in calm harbour waters – either way, you’re spoilt for choice. For elegance you can’t miss the sophisticated Dunbar House that commands the southern edge of Robertson Park and has views over the bay and the city poking up in the distance. Luckily we arrive mid-morning on a weekday, park easily and nab a table on the verandah. Impressive crockery arrives, and my friend is audibly chuffed with her cute cup and saucer as well as the classy silver teapots. The plain and sultana scones are straight out of the oven and are steamy and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. We can’t place the rich, fruity but tart jam. Thinking it may be plum; we’re told it is made-on-the-premises strawberry. I like it, none of the sweet syrupy synthetic stuff for me! The double thick cream pairs nicely with the ensemble, and I love the jam and cream cups.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good selection of quality loose-leaf teas served in swanky teapots.

Price: $$$

Overall: Superb! It ticks all the right boxes.

Location: 9 Marine Pde, Watsons Bay NSW 2030 Ph: 02 9337 1226 dunbarhouse.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2013


‘Gertrude & Petunias’

DT@Gertrude &Petunia's - Kensington

I catch a glimpse of Gertrude & Petunias as I drive by, and know instantly that this is the kind of place that will serve scones. Luckily for me I am on the mark, and the Devonshire Tea is set up and decorating the cake cabinet fittingly. The cafe exudes vintage Parisian tones, and feels like an antique shop once inhabited the space. Bold wallpaper, an assortment of mirrors, chandeliers and Parisian-style furnishings combine to create a chic space. My only pet peeve is that the tables look stark with not even a salt and peppershaker in sight, like the staff are about to lock the door and go home. A flower vase would do wonders to complete the furnishings and make the already-cosy cafe, even more welcoming. My two buttery scones are tender and melt-in-the-mouth delicious, and the right size for a snack. Is it, or isn’t it clotted cream? It’s so close, and come to think of it, this soft buttery cream might perhaps be a skewed Australian version? Whatever it is, along with the jam, there’s the right amount to slather two scones generously. As always, it’s a treat to sip tea from a proper China cup, and this has a matching plate and vintage-style cutlery. Who said the finer details don’t matter?

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small but interesting range of Ovvio Organic loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A charming corner cafe with vintage overtones.

Location: 61 Todman Ave, Kensington NSW 2033 Ph: 02 9663 0951

Reviewed in September, 2017


‘Peter’s of Kensington’

DT@Peter's of Kensington-Kensington

Peters of Kensington’s flagship store is oh so la-de-da! It reminds me of a paired back and very compact David Jones. It’s windowless like a casino, which means it’s very easy to lose track of time whilst wandering the floors and looking at stuff you don’t particularly need. The kitchenware department is very popular, and if you can’t find it here, then it probably doesn’t exist! Sharing the same floor of said kitchenware, the cafe is all subdued tones and clicking of cutlery, and sophisticated in a Harrods kind of way. There’s a very reasonable ‘scone special’ on the menu and means that scones at this cafe are a given. The scone isn’t bad, although it has spent 20 seconds too long in the microwave, therefore has a hint of ‘nuked’. The jam isn’t anything special but it’s better than average, and although the cream is fresh, it’s very light. Overall, I find the cafe quite endearing with a yesteryear vibe.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: Classic old-school department store cafe.

Location:  Ph: 02 9662 1099 

Reviewed October, 2017


‘Vaucluse House Tearooms’

DT@Vaucluse House Tearoom#

Some say that some things never change, however at the Vaucluse House Tearooms this is certainly not the case. My last visit was four years ago, and comparing the images of the Devonshire Teas is remarkable. What does remain the same is the lovely relaxing ambience of this exquisite property tucked away in Sydney’s exclusive eastern suburbs. The sun-dappled courtyard is a major drawcard at anytime of the day, but it’s a real shame that the scones aren’t up to scratch. Four years ago they scored ‘average’, and today they don’t fair any better. They look great but are very dry. A couple of people in my party barely touch them, deeming them inedible. The three-berry jam is tasty but nothing exceptional and the clotted cream that saved this spread on my last visit has been replaced with double thick cream, or so it tastes like it. My experience with clotted cream has been very different. Surely discerning Brits would ask ‘where’s the clotted cream?’ that the menu clearly promises. Time your visit for a Friday or weekend, and take a tour of the historic Vaucluse House. Devonshire Teas are served until 12pm daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good selection of loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$$

Overall: A beautiful historic establishment in a leafy and gorgeous park.

Location: Wentworth Ave, Vaucluse NSW 2030 Ph: 02 9388 8188  hht.net.au/visiting/cafes/

Reviewed in November, 2014


‘Watsons Bay Tea Gardens’

DT@Watsons Bay Tea Gardens Cafe#3

Sharing the corner waterfront property with the public library, the Watsons Bay Tea Gardens is a lovely relaxed cafe just that little bit further away from the ferry wharf in the quieter direction. Opposite the free public bathing pool, the busy garden cafe offers the same million-dollar Sydney city views as the other eateries in Watsons Bay, with the added bonus of the ease of popping over for a quick swim, or maybe grabbing a book from the onsite library. The scones are okay. I don’t see any in the cake cabinet and they definitely aren’t fresh out of the oven, but more likely heated up in a microwave. The jam is the stock-standard variety, and will do, and the cream is freshly whipped. While you’re there, take a walk to Camp Cove for a swim and further along the path to South Head. Also check out the walking path past The Gap and to Vaucluse Lighthouse – magic.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A few choices of loose-leaf teas served in a plunger pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Simple cafe with killer views.

Location: 8 Marine Pde, Watsons Bay NSW 2030 Ph: 02 9337 6733 teagardenscafe.com

Reviewed in December, 2013 


‘Bud Cafe’

DT@Bud Cafe-Taren Point Flower Power#3

Last year I planted an herb garden, and since then I’ve come to really appreciate garden centres. The good thing here is, garden centres are notoriously famous for having cafes attached to them that serve scones – I’m talking about nine times out of ten! And Flower Power in Taren Point is no exception. It sells all the usual goodies needed to plant and grow a successful garden, and has Bud Cafe, which is open and airy and just a few metres from the front door and carpark. Relaxed and friendly, the cafe is well-priced for good quality fare, and I can see why there is a steady flow of customers. Served with a dusting of icing sugar, the homemade scones are superb: creamy, fresh and totally more-ish. Accompanying them is a dish of chilled and firm Chantilly cream where you can actually taste the vanilla. The only let down are the two sachet’s of jam, which are insufficient and really, should never be served with good quality scones, or any scones for that matter.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small selection of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a standard sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Well-priced and convenient, just what you want after an exhausting shopping expedition.

Location: Flower Power Garden Centre, Cnr Holt Rd & Taren Point Rd, Taren Point NSW 2229 Ph: 0415 283 283 flowerpower.com.au

Reviewed in January, 2016


‘Café Bella Dee’

DT@Cafe Bella Dee#

There’s no doubt about it, flowerpot scones are definitely a quirky way to have scones baked and delivered. At Cafe Bella Dee the potted scones are so popular that they take prime position on their menu. No ‘blackboard special’ or ‘every other day when the chef feels like it’ for these babies. Tucked away in the quiet streets of San Souci, and in walking distance of the pedestrian/cycle path that skirts Port Botany and the mouth of the Georges River, Cafe Bella Dee is a local secret spot ensconced in suburbia. Baked in a terracotta pot that I assume is not your usual garden variety, the scone has a consistency of a dense cake crossed with a scone. On the top, the scone is crispy but down towards the bottom of the pot it becomes soggy. The vanilla infused whipped cream tastes like Chantilly cream and is thick enough but the strawberry jam is average. Considering the size and density of the scone, there are definitely not enough of both. The spread is delivered on a breadboard with a newspaper-type place mat, which is cute and adds to the novelty.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A selection of T2 silk tea bag teas served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A lively suburban café well away from hectic Rocky Point Road.

Location: 36 Tuffy Ave, Sans Souci NSW 2219 Ph: 02 9583 9016

Reviewed June, 2015


‘Lemongrass Express’

DT@Lemongrass Express Cafe - Kingsgrove#2

Unless you live in the area and are working on your garden, Plants Plus in Kingsgrove isn’t like many of the other nurseries around Sydney, namely those around Dural and Terry Hills that feel like a special destination. There’s a big indoor dining area and a sunny deck to suit all weather conditions. I visit on a sunny Saturday and the place is quiet with only a handful of diners in Lemongrass Express Cafe. I phone ahead before I make the schlep out there to see whether they serve scones. Although I have the thumbs up, it isn’t what I expect with a scone, tea or coffee sold as a $5.50 special. One small scone arrives already dressed with jam and cream. Where’s the fun in that? However, surprisingly the scone tastes good, home-baked rather than preserved and packaged, but the average jam and super light cream from an aerosol can doesn’t make an impression.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of Twining and Lipton tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $

Overall: A quiet café in a tired nursery.

Location: Plants Plus Kingsgrove, 58 Moorefields Rd, Kingsgrove NSW 2208 Ph: 02 9554 5811

Reviewed June, 2015


‘The Boatshed at Woronora’

DT@The Boatshed Woronora#2

Weave through Sydney’s southern suburbs, head over the Woronora River, and down to the very tidal Forbes Creek where the distinct blue and white The Boatshed at Woronora sits nestled between waterfront houses. Canoes spill out of the shed and lie in wait of high tide, while kayaks and other craft are stacked inside the shed. With only three tables outside in the sun, its first in, best dressed. The rest of the seating is within the actual boatshed, where diners share the space with life jackets and kayaks. This is a true blue working boatshed, and it’s wonderfully decked out in nautical nick-nacks. The homemade style scones are served at room temperature, and taste creamy and fresh. This in turn, alongside the plentiful thickly whipped cream, makes the mediocre strawberry jam negligible in affecting the overall taste experience.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good range of Twinings tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Combining location and quality scones – this place is a winner.

Location: 131 Prince Edward Park Rd, Woronora NSW 2232 Ph: 02 9545 2584
theboatshedatworonora.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2017


‘The Cronulla Pie Shop’

DT@Cronulla Pie Shop#3

If you don’t count Bundeena village on the southern side of Port Hacking, Cronulla is about as far south as you can go and still be in Sydney. On weekends the beach destination is a hive of activity, and to cater to the hungry crowds, Cronulla has bucket loads of cafes. Take a stroll through the shopping precinct for a smorgasboard of choice. You’ll virtually trip over The Cronulla Pie Shop as it is smack bang in the middle of the pedestrian mall. The all-weather seating area, including heaters in winter, is tarted up with fresh flowers to make it feel more cafe than canvas marquee. If you can get past the fruit pies, the fresh fluffy scones are surprisingly good – it is a pie shop after all. So too is the double thick cream. The weakest link is the jam, which is neither memorable nor bad.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Handy location that’s cosy in winter and cool in summer.

Location: 33 Cronulla St, Cronulla NSW 2230 Ph: 02 9544 4209

Reviewed in August, 2016


‘The Laughing Goat Café’

DT@The Laughing Goat Cafe-Kogarah

Don’t be surprised if you see a goat wearing a shimmering gold coat (or something else) tied up out the front of The Laughing Goat Cafe. Undoubtedly it is the café’s mascot, but I leave my goat introductions until after my scones, and by then the goat is gone, so I am none the wiser. Having a goat around, or even eating at a cafe named after a goat, has to be lucky – it is the Year of the Goat after all, so my timing is impeccable. The Laughing Goat Cafe shares the same roof as Southern Antiques, taking over the space from Beties Cafe that did a pretty good Devonshire Tea. I’m glad they’ve kept the same lovely tea cups and saucers, that’s a plus, but the scones don’t cut the grade. My friend and I both agree they are quite bland and gluey, needless to say my friend has decided not to share. I know it’s all about presentation when it comes to food, but seriously? The cream? It’s straight out of a can, and when I see the waitress grab it off the counter I visually slump in disappointment, and it doesn’t work sprayed on to the plate like that. The jam doesn’t score much better, coming in below average. It looks like a popular hang out, so maybe the rest of the menu is superb!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Along with a few standard loose-leaf teas there are a further seven imaginative organic blends.

Price: $$

Overall: Perfectly located for a combined dining and shopping outing.

Location: 243 Princes Hwy, Kogarah NSW 2217 Ph: 02 8021 0550 thelaughinggoatcafe.com

Reviewed February, 2015


‘The Teahouse Camelia Gardens’

DT @ Camelia Gardens Teahouse-Caringbah #3

When I ask for scones at Camelia Gardens Cafe, only one arrives. Maybe I don’t look hungry or the waitress thinks she is doing my waistline a favour, but it pans out that you can order as many as you like, and you should because they are good! The acoustics aren’t great the day I visit and it’s noisy with several large groups and families, so you can’t hear the sounds of nature from the surrounding gardens. The whole package is great, although the jam isn’t flash, but the scone and thick cream are divine. Wander through the gardens while you’re there.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Loose leaf with a great variety of herbal teas.

Price: $$

Overall: Situated in tranquil gardens.

Location: Cnr President Ave & Kareena Rd, Caringbah NSW 2229 Ph: 02 9540 2018 teahouse.com.au 

Reviewed in August, 2011


‘Bathers Pavilion Cafe’

dtbathers-pavilion-balmoral3

If looking from Sydney Harbour towards Balmoral beach, Balmoral Bathers Pavilion is unmistakable. It reminds me of an old black and white postcard I once bought in Hawaii that depicted a very untouched Waikiki Beach where the Moana Surfrider Hotel looked as though it was the only building along the. Not quite as big or elaborate, Bathers remains part of the very fabric of the harbourside suburb. Perched on the edge of picturesque Balmoral Beach and shaded by ancient Moreton Bay fig trees, the pavilion still stands as it has for nearly 90 years. With modernised bright and airy interiors, the building is divided into a swanky restaurant on one side and a more casual and affordable cafe and kiosk on the other. Spruiking uninterrupted (apart from the constant stream of people walking and jogging past) views of middle harbour towards Sydney heads, I am glad the council splurged and built this old dame as part of the Balmoral Beautification Scheme in 1929. Grab a seat by the window if you can, as the views to Sydney heads are amazing. The chef is savvy and has made the sultana scones just the right size for afternoon tea. Although on the runny side, the house made strawberry jam is pleasantly tart rather than sweet, and the whipped cream has a hint of vanilla, and is thick enough. Scones are available between 3-5pm daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A vast selection of loose-leaf teas served in whatever pot is going. My green tea is served in a plunger, whilst my friend’s English Breakfast is served in a tea pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Superb location at one of Sydney’s popular beaches.

Location: 4 The Esplanade, Balmoral NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9969 5050 batherspavilion.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Bib & Bub Tea Room’

DT@Bib & Bub Tea Room-Neutral Bay#2

Nutcote, the former harbourside home of children’s author and illustrator May Gibbs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie fame, is tucked away in an unassuming Neutral Bay street surrounded by towering apartment blocks of varying eras. The sliver of waterside property has a gorgeous garden and for nine dollars you can watch a 20-minute video and take a tour of the bungalow. The whole place feels otherworldly and it’s hard to believe you are in spitting distance of the city. I must admit, I’ve lived in the area for more than 13 years, and this is the first time I have visited Nutcote and primarily it’s for the Bib & Bub Tea Room. Run by volunteers, Nutcote is only open from Wednesday to Sunday, and at this stage the Tea Room only manages to serve tea, scones and cake on a Wednesday and Thursday due to a volunteer shortage. The setting is the drawcard and the scones, lacked the freshness you’d expect at a volunteer run tearoom. The cream is thickly whipped but the jam is below average. Nonetheless, it’s a superb place to hide out away from the madding Sydney crowds and don’t forget to pick up some great gifts in the little shop at the entrance.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small variety of teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A hidden gem.

Location: 5 Wallaringa Ave, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Ph: o2 9953 4453 nutcote.org

Reviewed in December, 2013


‘Boronia Tea Room’

dtboronia-tea-room-mosman

Built in 1885, the grand Boronia House was originally one of two almost identical mansions built on four acres of land. These days, only one of the mansions remain, and after being used for varying purposes over the last 150 years, was refurbished in 2012 by Mosman Council, preserving a slice of Mosman heritage for the people. Boronia Tea Rooms is the latest reincarnation, and to this the property is well suited. Set in the beautifully and well-maintained Reservoir Park, the rooms are adorned with chandeliers and is bright and airy, with polished timber floors and French doors opening onto alfresco dining on the wrap around verandah. Although the outdoor area is lovely, still there are only about 30 metres of lawn separating you from hectic Military Road and your scones. Although not on the website, scones, jam and cream with a bottomless pot of tea is available. Mosman Catering are the latest outfit in charge (different to when I first visited in 2012), and the ‘Devonshire Tea’ on the menu, seems to be a mini High Tea. If it’s just the scones you are after, don’t hesitate to ask. A friend passing by the property alerted me to the fact they offer a $10 scone special. In saying that, don’t go in hungry. The scones, although fresh and crispy, are literally bite size. The jam is average, neither good nor bad, but this property is deserving of better. The cream is thick and chilled, and far surpasses the jam in quality. The vibe, decor and Cristina Re teacups are a standout.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: An arms long list of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot with refills.

Price: $$

Overall: The historical property and gardens are a perfect location to take tea.

Location: 624 Military Rd, Mosman NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9968 3311 boroniatearoom.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016


‘Burnt Orange’

DT@Burnt Orange - Middle Head#

Since my last visit to Burnt Orange four years ago, the only big change I notice is the recent replacement of the downstairs gift shop with a function room/wedding venue. Shopaholics need not hang their heads though as there is still plenty of shopping to be had upstairs, with at least three rooms of the former Mosman Golf Club’s clubhouse jammed with giftware, clothes, tea ware, Christmas trinkets and a whole room reserved for children’s goodies. The sandstone structure is sensational and is nestled in bushland up the road from Mosman on the picturesque Middle Head. Scones are a firm fixture on the menu with a choice of plain, date, wholemeal and mixed berry. It’s a tough choice so I ask the maitre’d, who recommends the date scone. He also reminds me that they are served at room temperature and since this is the case, I am glad to be here in the morning, as I recall on my last visit the scone being dryish by the afternoon. The single large scone arrives accompanied with relatively thick Chantilly cream and the Burnt Orange housemade raspberry or mixed berry jam. At first the scone seems tough but once I start pulling it apart it’s heavy with dates and spice, and if you are more partial to the light and fluffy scone, you may be disappointed. However, considering the scones have been on the menu for at least four years, I don’t think Mosmanites are bothered one bit!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: An exquisite setting coupled with everything the modern scone loving person needs.

Location: 1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9969 1020 burntorange.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2014


‘Café Crema’

ST@Cafe Creme - Cammeray

Stockland Cammeray Shopping Centre is more apartments and eateries than a ‘shopping centre’. Sporting a ‘European style’ (well, not quite) piazza, it’s a little community of locals dining and picking up a few groceries. Cafe Crema has a prime piece of real estate: on the corner where most pedestrians enter the square. Most of the seating is indoors with enough outside to satisfy alfresco loving diners. As far as scones, jam and cream goes, this one is a complete flop. The fruit scones are completely tasteless and dry, and I’m guessing a few days old. The strawberry jam is the average cafe variety and the diary whip cream is so light I am surprised it doesn’t dissolve sooner. It’s $8 not well spent! A shame, as this is the only café doing scones in Cammeray.

Scones: teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small range of T2 silk tea bags served in a small pot. My tea is very weak.

Price: $$

Overall: Pleasant sunny spot in a prime location on Cammeray Square.

Location: Stockland Cammeray Shopping Centre, Cnr Miller St & Amherst St, Cammeray NSW 2062 Ph: 02 8920 2881

Reviewed in April, 2017  


‘Cafe Jam’
DT@Cafe Jam - Mosman

The new location for Cafe Jam has done wonders for the business. Not that the business wasn’t booming before, but the much larger, natural-light filled space plus a sunlit atrium has created a warm and welcoming cafe that any shopper to Bridgepoint will find hard to resist. Although I have passed by Cafe Jam at least once a week for several years I have never noticed the scones in the cabinet (maybe they weren’t there!). However, in this new location the bundle of scones are easily spotted from the walkway. The large, fresh and tasty scone is a surprise. A friend who had visited previously doesn’t rate them, but I think the scone is better than average and tastes better, than which it looks. The commercial raspberry jam is better than average, but before the waiter has a chance to put the jam on my table I send him away for more. Whether it’s Bourke or Mosman, surely diners prefer ‘real’ cream with their scone rather than a ‘synthetic’ cream? This one is straight from a can and in one word – terrible. Lastly, this is a small gripe, but a few tea cups would go down a treat, I’m not a fan of the super thick coffee cups for my tea.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3

Tea: A basic selection of Twining tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A bright and cheery cafe on the quieter top level of the shopping centre.

Location: Bridgepoint Shopping Centre,  
Ph: 02 9960 1442 bridgepointmosman.com

Reviewed October, 2017


‘Cicco Bar’

DT@Cicco Bar - Chatswood Chase

This is another franchised cafe that is part of the Westfield and shopping centre fabric. Open plan like most of the cafes on the middle section of the floor, Cicco Bar serves the standards; eggs, coffee, cake and sandwiches. It’s calm and the tables are separate enough to allow privacy if you’ve brought your laptop. The plain and date scones make the menu that means they are not going anywhere soon. I try the plain scone, which is warm and gluey. It’s neither good nor bad, but forgettable. It’s served with standard cafe strawberry jam, and cream that tastes synthetic and super light. Actually, the only thing that this cream and real cream have in common, is the colour. Overall, it’s an average spread, which tends to be the norm in these types of franchised cafes.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small range of Chamellia tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Standard franchise café at the top of the Chase.

Location: Chatswood Chase, 345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067 Ph: 02 9419 8400

Reviewed in February, 2017


‘Jamaica Blue’

DT@Jamaica Blue Chatswood Chase#

Serendipitously I find a review on Trip Advisor mentioning that Jamaica Blue serves Devonshire Teas. I’m not a ‘shopping mall kinda gal’, but my weekday visit to the upper levels of Chatswood Chase Shopping Mall in Sydney’s northern suburbs is quite relaxing and pleasant. Although it’s lunchtime, I have a choice of tables so I choose one opposite the swanky Oroton and Marcs shops, actually all the shops on this level are higher end, with Ralph Lauren on the other side. After ordering and paying at the counter, my tea promptly arrives then my warm scones, soon after. The scones are okay, fresh enough, but not quite the same as the enthusiastic reviewer’s description on Trip Advisor. The jam is low quality and the cream is way too light. If the cream and jam were improved it would actually be a good option to share for morning or afternoon tea (it’s a big serving). Jamaica Blue franchises are found all over Australia.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Six varieties of Elmstock loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Not a bad place to rest weary shopped out legs.

Location: Level 1, Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre, Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph: 02 9410 0522 jamaicablue.com.au

Reviewed in August, 2013


‘Kirribilli Village Café’

DT@Kirribilli Village Cafe & Ristorante#

Known for its stunning harbour views, the Prime Minister’s Sydney digs, Luna Park and the best public swimming pool in Sydney (although the latter two are in Milson’s Point), my favourite Sydney suburb, Kirribilli, just got a little bit better. I have discovered a cafe where you can snack on either plain or date scones. The Kirribilli Village Cafe & Ristorante has been a firm fixture as eateries have continued to multiply over the past several years. Unpretentious and welcoming, Kirribilli maintains its village vibe whilst visitors traipse through on their way to snap spectacular night views of the city in lights or to be entertained at Luna Park. But if it’s scones you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. I only try the plain scones and for some odd reason (my friend has the same), both scones are – different. Both are too sweet, but one is denser like damper and the other is fluffy, more like you expect a scone to be. No biggie, but we think it’s weird. As the scones are quite sweet, the jam tastes even sweeter but is better than most. The cream is impressive, not quite, but it’s as good as clotted as you’re going to get Down Under. The monthly Kirribilli Market (held on the last Saturday of the month) is well worth a visit.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A few loose-leaf tea choices and several tea bag choices.

Price: $$

Overall: The corner location is THE place to be to people watch.

Location: Shop 1/3 Broughton St, Kirribilli NSW 2061 Ph: 02 9954 6015

Reviewed March, 2014


‘My Little Cupcake Tea Room’

DT@My Little Cupcake Tearoom

You might say that a Tea Room with a name pertaining to cupcakes can be a little deceiving if you are on the lookout for scones. Don’t let the name dissuade you from stopping by, as there is lots of goodies on offer as well as said cupcakes. Decked out in pastel hues, the tea room is very pretty and unmistakably feminine – and really, it’s how we scone eaters like it. From the collection of souvenir spoons used throughout the spread, the tea cosies and bone China teaware to the floral napkins, it’s the small touches that impress me. Everything looks so lovely that I don’t want to disturb the presentation perfection. The creamy textured scones are lightly dusted with icing sugar and are the ideal size for a light morning or afternoon tea. With thickly whipped cream paired with a well-baked scone, it’s easy to ignore the stock standard quality jam. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small selection of teabags served in tea cosy covered teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A pretty female bolthole.

Location: 62 Ben Boyd Rd, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Ph: 02 9909 3908 

Reviewed in July, 2017


‘Shingle Inn’

DT@Shingle Inn-Westfield Chatswood#2

I stumble across the Shingle Inn franchise by googling ‘scones in Chatswood’. Mall rats may already know the cafe chain, and by looking at the website, it has a strong presence in Queensland and in many Westfields in Sydney, with Chatswood having two! I must say that I struggle to find the cafe tucked in a quiet corner away from the hustle and bustle of the other dining outlets, which is a good sign if you want some peace. The comfy lounge chairs and booths covered in plush velour teemed with dark overtones in the cafe are a welcoming sight. The service is quick and professional, and in no time I am tucking in to my scone, which is basically a sweet bread roll. The strawberry jam is nondescript and the cream, straight out of a can, is light and sweet. The $4.30 for a small pot of Lipton’s tea annoys me. I have better quality tea at home and it’s a shame you only have a choice of supermarket teas at a cafe, especially since you are paying enough for it. Coffee drinkers usually get quality coffees, so why can’t tea drinkers? Anyway, enough said! Shingle Inn franchises can be found throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A variety of tea bags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The dark decor creates a cosy atmosphere.
Location: Westfield Chatswood, Level 3, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph: 02 9411 6946 shingleinn.com

Reviewed in February, 2014


‘Simple Simons Coffee House’

DT@Simple Simons-Balmoral#2

It may not be perched on the water like other Balmoral properties, but Simple Simons Coffee House is just that – simple digs delivering quality goods. Located next door to the fish ‘n’ chip shop on the corner (just look for the crowd and queues in summer), Simple Simons has alfresco dining on the footpath that is enclosed in the cooler months. I stick my head in not expecting to find a scone filled cake container on the counter. The scones are super light and fluffy – and taste exceptional! The rich raspberry jam and double thick cream finish off the ensemble beautifully. For a few extra bucks, there’s an option (verbal) to add fresh strawberries to the spread. Here’s hoping that these babies stick around on the menu.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$$

Overall: Expect big things from a simple place.

Location: 11A The Esplanade, Balmoral NSW 2088 Ph: 02 9960 7222

Reviewed in September, 2017


‘Soiree’

DT@Soiree Events#2

Soiree is foremost a successful cake creating and catering business, before a high-end cake shop and cafe. And we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill cakes either; think decadent special occasion creations for big events like weddings and significant birthdays etc. I stroll past one Sunday, which is serendipitous; it’s the only day the cafe serves scones. Coinciding with ‘High Tea Sunday’, I am told that there are always scones in the house as they are baked for the High Teas. When I finally tear myself away from ogling the delectable sweet sensations on offer, I settle in at one of the indoor tables (there are some in the back garden and out on the footpath), I take in the semi Moulin Rouge decor. My scone is served cold (no heat on this baby), straight from the cake display cabinet that may even be chilled. I prefer my scones slightly warm, but this is how they tend to be served in the UK – at room temperature. Still, the texture is good and tastes like it has been made with quality products. The jam is better than average, although not by much, and the consistency quite thin. The cream tastes synthetic rather than creamy and rich, and is super light. The pretty tea ware is lovely and adds to the pleasure of sipping good quality tea.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: An interesting selection of T Totaler loose-leaf teas and hand-picked herbal varieties purchased in Turkey. The tea is served in a good-sized pot

Price: $$

Overall: The place for cake creations and for feeling decadent.<