East Coast

‘Just Desserts Cafe’


It feels like everyone travelling up through Swansea to Freycinet National Park or back the other way, visits Kate’s Berry Farm. After we arrive, a convoy of oversized fancy campervans tries to manoeuver into limited parking spots, and more visitors than available tables descend on the free jam tasting samples and Kate’s specialties. Although the berry farm isn’t on the highway, the visitors keep arriving. Located up a quiet country lane, high enough to allow sweeping views over rows of ripening berries, and down towards Great Oyster Bay and the magnificent Freycinet Peninsula beyond. The aptly named Just Desserts Cafe is just that, predominantly for those with a sweet tooth, although there are a few savoury items such as pot pies available. The scones are near perfect. They have a crispy outer shell and are soft and buttery within, tasting as though this batch is just out of the oven. My only gripe is they taste a tad salty – but that’s just me. I’m at a loss as to which jam to choose, as every berry is represented, and then some. I go with the blackcurrant, which is everything you could hope for in a jam; rich, tart, thick and fruity, and served with ample cream that’s whipped thick. Quality doesn’t come cheap; this spread is on the expensive side at $17.50 including the pot of tea.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$$

Overall: Touristy, busy and expensive – but expect good quality and a killer view.

Location: 12 Addison St, Swansea TAS 7190 Ph: 03 6257 8428 katesberryfarm.com

Reviewed in December, 2016

‘The Lifebouy Cafe & Quail Street Emporium’


Sleepy St Helens on the north-east coast of Tassie is as pretty as a picture. An expansive bay that takes in a few smaller hamlets, is serviced by a town that closed up by 6pm, and where eating the seafood is a must. The place is more happening during the day, and The Lifebouy Cafe & Quail Street Emporium feels like central city. It’s hard to know where the cafe starts and finishes; the tables are so well disguised poised amongst the collectables, antiques, and nautical stuff for salty sea dogs. On a rainy day it’s the place to be as travellers empty out of campervans and set up around tables to play cards. I go for a single scone, and have a choice of plain or date, and there is cheese and chives for savoury tastes. I try the plain, which is light and fluffy, and even though it’s microwaved until steaming, it’s still better than average. The condiments don’t fare too well, as the raspberry jam is very average and the superlight cream dissolves before it gets anywhere near the scone. Nonetheless, the place is an interesting diversion, especially if you are into selective preloved stuff. Closed Sundays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: Three choices of loose-leaf tea, and herbal tea bags served in a small tea pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Quirky eatery where you can admire collectables while you eat.

Location: 29 Quail St, St Helens TAS 7216 Ph: 0439 761 371

Reviewed in December, 2016

‘The Pondering Frog’


It’s still early when we arrive at The Pondering Frog so the visitors heading to Freycinat National Park haven’t yet arrived for their pancakes, ice cream and scones. Not really anywhere near Bicheno town, it’s about five to minutes out of town if heading south, and  just south of the turn off to the world-famous Wineglass Bay. With a carpark big enough to park a few semi trailers, The Pondering Frog cafe is all about being outdoors. The outdoor seating has semi permanent roll down (or up) walls, and heaters and blankets for cool weather. Inside the building where food orders are taken, are shelves adorned with frog figurines striking all sorts of poses, while other shelves are stocked with jars of jams. The scone is bigger than usual and makes up for a two-scone Devonshire Tea. It’s melt-in-your-mouth fluffy and is paired well with the rich and tart raspberry jam. For those not a fan of raspberry jam there’s strawberry jam on offer as well. The cream is fresh but very light. I love the little chocolate frog, such a lovely addition and only reinforces the fact that it’s all about the frog.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A large range of Dilmah tea (tea bags), served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A welcoming roadside cafe selling lots of jams and frog figurines.

Location: 16494 Tasman Hwy, Bicheno TAS 7215  Ph: 0412 631 299 ponderingfrog.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016