The Beach Hut Cafe

DT@The Beach Hut Cafe-Hastings#2

It’s an odd thing to name a cafe in the middle of town and nowhere near a beach, The Beach Hut Cafe. A few minutes drive from Western Port Marina where walking tracks wind along the foreshore, the cafe is more shoppers’ lunch spot than a place to fuel up during a day of sun and surf. A compact town, Hastings has none of the touristy vibe like other parts of the Peninsula, with most of the coastline here comprising of mudflats. There’s also nothing beachy about the cafe, although its ample seating, including alfresco dining on the footpath, is light, bright and inviting. My very fresh and creamy scone is delightful. It’s a shame that the jam is nothing more than average and the super aerated cream, although fresh, is siphoned from a cream canister.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small variety of T2 pyramid tea bags served in small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A simple down-to-earth cafe in the middle of town.

Location: 55 High St, Hastings VIC 3915Ph: 03 5979 1071

Reviewed in September, 2017

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High Tea in Paris

DT@HIgh Tea in Paris - Mornington#2

High Tea in Paris is tucked away down a side street from Mornington’s main drag. The cafe is located in a relatively small corner space with two walls of floor to ceiling windows to maximise natural lighting, with enough room for a few intimate tables and few more for large groups and parties. The Parisian style furnishings are perhaps where the ‘Paris’ comes into the cafe name, and the cute crockery creates a tea party vibe. Today the other diners are all tucking into High Teas, but scones, jam and cream are also on the menu alongside a few other sweet treats. There’s a bit of a wait as all scones are baked to order, and you can’t get much fresher than these babies. The two small scones are a perfect size for a snack and are accompanied by rich raspberry jam and double thick cream. The scone’s fluffy texture within blends perfectly with the crispness of the outer layer. Coupled with quality condiments it’s a sure-fire winner. Opening hours vary, so check the website.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A range of Tea Drop loose-leaf teas in a shabby (hairline cracks, stained) teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A pretty place ideal for small parties and female gatherings.

Location: Ph: 03 5915 2787 highteainparis.com.au

Reviewed in September, 2017

 

Peninsula Galleries

DT@Peninula Galleries-Red Hill#

Peninsula Galleries is located in the heart of the farming precinct of the Mornington Peninsula. Housed in a rustic timber cottage, Peninsula Galleries showcase art, collectibles, and jewellery, and a cosy cafe spills out onto a sun-filled deck overlooking lush farmland. The cafe has not long opened so the scones are just about out of the oven when we order. In the meantime we peruse the gallery, as there’s quite a lot to look at and tempt, if you are in the mood for shopping. We settle in a cosy corner of the cafe indoors with a view of the garden and neighbouring farms. The scone is quite large, and one is the perfect serving size. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, I can’t fault the scone. The slightly sweet thickly whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment, and even the ordinary strawberry jam can’t put a damper on the experience. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Where food, wine and art meet in homely surrounds with farmland views.

Location: 1175 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Red Hill VIC 3937 Ph: 03 5989 2203 peninsulagalleries.com.au

Reviewed in September, 2017

Heronswood Restaurant

DT@Heronswood House-Dromana#2

Home to The Diggers Club, Heronswood Gardens, Nursery and Restaurant, Heronswood is a one-stop shop for lovers of gardens, gardening and garden-to-plate style dining. Although only a few minutes from the coastline favouring crowds, Heronswood is an idyllic location where you can lose yourself in the well-kept and ever-changing gardens on the estate. Those with a green thumb will appreciate the nursery, which showcases the best flowers and plants for Australian conditions, and the well-stocked garden shop has all sorts of gardening related tools. The Heronswood restaurant is located within the historic 1871 built Heronswood House, and uses vegetables and fruit grown in the gardens and local Peninsula produce. It’s only fitting that such a property serve scones. They are warm and fresh, the kind that are joined together and need to be ripped apart. There’s a generous serving of both the strawberry jam and double thick cream, and although the jam is quite ordinary, the quality of the scones and cream and the generous serving of the condiments, make this a lovely experience. Added to this are the surrounds. Dining in one of the gorgeous rooms with original (or close to) fittings, or in the garden in fine weather, you can’t miss a Devonshire Tea at Heronswood. Diggers Club members are free to enter and non-members pay a $10 entrance fee, regardless whether dining or perusing the gardens.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A sensational property with distant views towards Port Phillip Bay.

Location: 105 Latrobe Parade, Dromana VIC 3936 Ph: 03 5984 7318
diggers.com.au

Reviewed in September, 2017

Dessert Cafe

DT@Sunnyridge Strawberry Farm#

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm is heaving with visitors and the small buses just keep coming. The shop sells the usual strawberry themed things like jams and syrups, berry ice-cream, and freeze-dried strawberries either au naturel or rolled in white, dark or milk chocolate. Of course you can buy a punnet of strawberries for $7 (from somewhere else), while a fruit barn further down on the Peninsula has them for 89 cents. Get your hands dirty and pick your own 500gm punnet with Upick, which is available during strawberry picking season. The Dessert Cafe has a range of decadent sweets based – you guessed it – on strawberries. They all look irresistible, but I stay with the Devonshire Tea. The scones are way too big for a snack, so they are best shared or alternatively, go on an empty stomach. Robust like a damper, the scones are super fresh and considerably light. Seeing as though it’s a strawberry farm and there is jam galore for sale in the shop, this jam is runny and not particularly good. It is better than the corn syrup sweetened cheap varieties though – but still. You can’t fault the double thick cream. For 50 cents, grab extra jam and cream, as you need at least three times the amount of the runny jam to make a dent in the scones. Check the website for opening times as they vary throughout the year.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A selection of Sir Lipton tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Crowded and popular shop/cafe, ideal for super sweet treats.

Location: Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, 244 Shands Rd, Main Ridge VIC 3928
Ph: 03 5989 4500 sunnyridge.com.au

Reviewed in September, 2017

The Boulevard Cafe

DT@The Boulevarde Cafe- Poyntons Nursery - Essendon#2

Apparently Poyntons Nursery was established 80 years ago. I can only imagine back then, the Maribyrnong Valley was a lot less built up as it is today. Nowadays houses sit cheek by jowl and the nursery feels compressed onto a corner block, although I am told this block covers 3.5 acres. The space is used well with plants and flowers of all descriptions and a range of homewares, gifts and furniture. Situated on the second floor above the homeware shops, Poyntons Outdoor Living and Poyntons Interiors, the Boulevard Cafe has a prime position. Floor to ceiling windows creates a bright and cheerful space, with the seats by the window especially viable for the lovely view over the Maribyrnong River. It’s close to closing time when we rock up, and the plain scones still taste fresh, and are not only visually appealing but are light and creamy. Those who prefer ‘stuff’ in their scones can opt for the date scones. The average jam is the only downfall here, and the double thick cream a real winner.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A suburban nursery cafe with water views.

Location: Poyntons Nursery, 98 Vida St, Essendon VIC 3040 Ph: 03 9337 8111 poyntonsnursery.com.au

Reviewed in September, 2017

The Old Oak Tea Rooms

DT@Oak Tea Room-Ballam Houe-Frankston#

Ballam Park Homestead on the edge of Ballam Park is the head office for the Frankston Historical Society. The French-style country farmhouse was built in 1854, and along with the gardens, museum and the Old Oak Tea Rooms, is maintained by a posse of volunteers. Take a guided tour, visit the on site museum, or take tea in the Tea Room – but only on Sundays. There are more than just scones on the menu, and all made by volunteers. Choose from plain or date scones, but we stick with the plain, which are a bit overcooked and on the dry side. We know for a fact that they were baked the previous day, and are given a verbal list of the ingredients. There are two of us, so the portions of jam and cream reflect this; there’s more than enough. Unfortunately the jam bottled by the volunteers that is for sale, is not the jam served with the scones. We’re enthusiastically told that it’s too expensive to use the homemade jam, so we’re stuck with the very average nondescript strawberry jam. No corners are cut with the cream though; it’s thickly whipped and delightful. Open Sundays from 1-5pm (but not the 5th Sunday).

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A pleasant place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Location: Ballam Park Homestead 260R, Cranbourne Rd, Frankston VIC 3199
Ph: 03 9789 3116 frankstonhs.org.au

Reviewed in September, 2017