Bonny Hills Garden Cafe

DT@Bonny Hills Garden Centre-Bonny Hills

Bonny Hills Garden Centre’s layout is immaculate. Everything is perfectly positioned whereupon rows and rows of pottered plants are geometrically placed to create a enticing plant shopping environment. Tucked away at the back of this Zen garden, the Bonny Hills Garden Cafe has it’s own special vibe. The cafe staff are welcoming and genuinely happy to be here. Why wouldn’t you be? Mid coast living is so relaxing compared to the faster pace in the city. Just by looking at the big fluffy scones, you know they are going to be good. The only pitfall however, is that they are a tad crusty about the edges, but nothing a sprinkling of icing sugar won’t disguise. The strawberry jam is your typical ordinary cafe stock, but the well-presented dish of firm and chilled slightly sweet cream is superb. Take a bit of the Zen garden vibe home with you.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An eclectic but small (considering the range of teas available from this company) range of loose-leaf teas from local business, World ParTea.

Price: $$

Overall: A relaxed vibe (it must be the garden layout) with friendly staff.

Location: Bonny Hills Garden Centre, 1055 Ocean Dr, Bonny Hills NSW 2445
Ph: 02 6585 4836 bonnyhillsgardencentre.com.au

Reviewed June 2019

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Common Grounds

DT@Common Grounds-Morpeth

A few years ago I had a superb Devonshire Tea in the very feminine Le Beau Cafe. I’m not sure whether the cafe had a makeover to become what is now Common Grounds, as there is no sign on Google of any cafe closure. The cafe layout is pretty much the same, the large semi-enclosed deck out the back is still a sun catcher, but gone is anything alluding France. Even the former pale blue colour scheme has been neutralised. What hasn’t changed are the scones, they are still melt-in-your-mouth light and fluffy. The raspberry jam is better than most, although they need to double up on the amount. There’s enough fresh cream but its quite light, dispensed from a cream canister. Although the quality of the scones and tea is high, the overall cost of the spread reflects this and is higher than in other cafes in regional Australia.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Tea: Not a bad range of loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: Lovely dining on the back deck, however a bit overpriced.

Location: 4/142 Swan St, Morpeth NSW 2321 Ph: 0499 342 002 m.facebook.com

Reviewed June 2019

Antz Pantz Cafe

DT@Antz Pantz Cafe - Golden Glance Nursery Young#

The small but interesting Golden Glance Nursery is not like your typical garden centre. It’s compact and lacks the generic ginormous easy-to-get-lost-in giftware store and endless rows of plants. This place has an old school carousel in a shed and plenty of garden ornaments a well as of course, plants. Antz Pantz Cafe is just t rough the main entrance with lovely garden seating as well as an indoor area for when it’s chilly. The cafe menu stipulates that you’ll get two warm scones with raspberry jam. Yes, the scones are warm, but the jam is definitely strawberry today and pretty ordinary. The cream is just as I like it, thickly whipped. It’s the perfect place to stop if you want to avoid downtown Young.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of Twinning teabags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A lovely garden location with the benefit of being on the main drag in and out of town.

Location: Golden Glance Nursery, 311 Young Rd, Young NSW 2594 Ph: 02 6382 3364

Reviewed May 2019

Lavenders Riverside

DT@Lavender Riverside-Maitland#

If you find yourself at a loose end in Maitland, drop in to Lavenders Riverside and soak up some sun in the outdoor courtyard that overlooks the Hunter River. If the weather is lousy, there’s always the indoor area but the feature here is being outside; under a shady umbrella, or not. It’s well off the pedestrian shopping mall, so any way you arrive, it’s a stroll to get there. The cheap quality jam might be okay for some, but it does nothing for the light and fluffy scone, that thankfully is delightful. I wish I ordered a couple, as they are quite small but perfectly sized for a snack. The double thick cream is a bonus too, so it’s easy to dismiss the jam quality when both the scone and the cream are so good. Only open until 1.30pm on weekends, so don’t dawdle if taking a stroll along the Riverwalk that follows the meandering Hunter River.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A lovely location by the Hunter River walk.

Location: 1/418 High St, Maitland NSW 2320 Ph: 02 4933 8855 lavenders.com.au

Reviewed June 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Araminta’s Tea Room

DT@Araminta's Tea Room-Seymour

About an hour up the Hume Motorway north of Melbourne, Seymour is just a short diversion off the motorway and an ideal town to fuel up in. A former railway town in which a third of the population were employed by the railways, the town now is big enough to offer a range of eateries and all with a splash of history. Seymour sits at the southern end of the Goulburn Valley wine region and is just 10km from Puckapunyal Army Training Camp, and acts as an agricultural hub. Halfway between the centre of town and the motorway exit, Araminta’s Tea Room is housed in one of the town’s preserved buildings. Although very little of the essence of the late 1800s-built structure remains, the exterior still retains a glimpse into Seymour’s past. The cavernous interior is decked out in nondescript modern furnishings with a minor splash of yesteryear. It’s big enough to house groups, with a few intimate seating arrangements for couples. There’s a Devonshire Tea special advertised on a semi-neon board on the wall. Not long out of the oven, the fluffy scones are a fine breakfast alternative. The lightly whipped cream is inconsequential in the bigger scheme of things, as the rich berry jam and quality scones make up for the light whipping. Closed on Tuesdays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good range of Tea Leaves loose-leaf tea served in either a cup or mug, however I asked for a teapot, which was no problem. Odd that they don’t serve loose-leaf teas in a teapot (maybe they were running short?)

Price: $$

Overall: Not quite the cosy tea room, but a good option in Seymour.

Location: 56 Tallarook St, Seymour VIC 3660 Ph: 0418 339 479

Reviewed May 2019

ETC Bakery

DT@ETC Bakery Cafe - Elizabeth Town

If you prefer more low-key locales, you’d probably drive straight by ETC Bakery. The business has commandeered the ginormous building that was once an inn, and has transformed it into a bakery/cafe that can hold a few coach loads at once. The upstairs section has been repurposed as conference rooms, which is not only handy for catering purposes, but for the bright rooms and the views overlooking the surrounding farmland. However, normal clientele are relegated to the spacious downstairs area. Also filled with light, there’s a kind of sunroom that runs the length of the building that is sunnier still. There are plain or date scones available, and I stick with the plain. They punch well above average, which I’m guessing should be the case when buying from a bakery. They are fresh and firm, better than many I have tried. The jam is average, and there are a few sachets of butter thrown on the tray just in case you like a double hit of lubrication on your scone. The cream is impressive; slightly sweet and chilled to be firm. The bakery/cafe is open from 6am until a civilised 6pm. Perfect if heading to Devonport for the departure of the Spirit of Tasmania or if arriving from the mainland.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic variety of Tea Drop pyramid tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A surprisingly good spread for a bakery on the tourist route.

Location: 5783 Bass Hwy, Elizabeth Town TAS 7304 Ph: 03 6368 1350 facebook.com

Reviewed May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murrumbateman Winery

DT@Murrambateman Winery - Murrumbateman

If heading north from the ACT, it’s an easy trip to the cool climate wine-growing region in the Yass Valley. Just a short drive from the hub town of Murrumbateman, I am welcomed at the Murrumbateman Winery cellar door by the vocal kelpie/husky rescue dog, Mollie. I’m the first customer for the day, so it’s pretty quiet in the simply decked out wine tasting room, so Mollie keeps me company while I wait for my scones. It’s too early for wine tasting, but I am told Mollie has a Sauvignon Blanc named after her with the sales of her wine supporting the ACT RSPCA. Cool. At first glance, the scones remind me of those made by CWA ladies, but I’m sorry to say, these taste a whole lot better. The perfection is subtle and they taste like they were baked this morning. Although the chunk of strawberry jam is nothing more than average, the thick whipped cream is slightly sweet and is a lovely addition to the spread. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of Diplomat teabags served in a two-cup teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: An understated vineyard with a chilled vibe and Molly as a welcome mascot.

Location: 131 McIntosh Circuit, Murrumbateman NSW 2582 Ph: 0432 826 454 murrumbatemanwinery.com.au

Reviewed May 2019