Daughters at Hall

DT@Daughter of Hall-Hall ACT
Teetering on the ACT/NSW border, the historic village of Hall remains hidden away from the city lights. Proclaimed a village in 1882, settlers had moved in long before then,  stablishing a store, post office, cottages and homesteads. Considering its close proximity to Canberra, the place has managed to maintain a village atmosphere, attracting visitors to its monthly Hall Markets, the various cafes, and even beer, wine and cider tastings at Hops and Vine. Daughters at Hall, the general-store-turned-café, is run by a couple of chicks whose family first settled in the area in the early 1800s. The building has passed its centenary quite a few years ago, but still retains a facade from yesteryear. Huge picture windows light up the large space while tables are set up outside in fine weather. A serving of scones includes just one small scone that’s already dressed with a dollop of cafe-standard strawberry jam topped with thickly whipped cream. The scone isn’t particularly impressive; the tough base and its small size doesn’t lend itself to providing a soft and fluffy scone. Points go to the lovely presentation though.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A cute historic village not far from Canberra’s action.

Location: 5 Victoria St, Hall ACT 2618 Ph: 02 6230 2457 halldaughters.com.au

Reviewed May 2018

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Armadillos Cafe

DT@Armadillos cafe-Gold Creek ACT

Dig around in one of the small clusters of businesses at Gold Creek Village and you’ll stumble upon Armadillos Cafe. Read any literature and it will tell you Gold Creek Village is for Canberrans and visitors alike. I visit with my sister who has lived in Canberra for 35 years, and I think she may have visited once – maybe. It’s a strange place. I get the feeling that once upon a time it had high hopes, but now feels forgotten. The day I visit Armadillos Cafe offers a choice of plain, ginger, or date scones. I try a plain and a ginger scone for something different, and to be honest, can’t tell the difference. Either the ginger is very subtle, or the heat from the microwave has neutralised any flavour, but they are definitely made on the premises as opposed to bought-in. The rich and fruity raspberry jam pairs well with the double thick cream. Once done sconing it up, there are enough shops to meander through, more cafes to try, as well as the National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra Walk In Aviary, and Canberra Reptile Zoo.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An unusual array of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Friendly and welcoming.

Location: Gold Creek, 7 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls ACT 2913 Ph: 0422 076 313

Reviewed May 2018

Poppy’s Cafe

DT@Poppys cafe-War Memorial ACT

Visit the Australian War Memorial late in the day and be sure to stay for the Last Post Ceremony. It kicks off when the Memorial closes at 5pm and begins with the Australian national anthem followed by the piper’s lament. Every day a different name is chosen from the Roll of Honour and their story is shared. The ceremony takes place around the Pool of Reflection, and after a few speeches, wreath laying and the sounding of the Last Post, you’d be one tough cookie not to feel moved. Literally a minute’s walk from the Memorial, the proximity of Poppy’s Cafe is a treat. Not just any old cafe, it’s part museum and part memorial, and feels more or less an extension of the Memorial. When ordering scones, what you’ll get is one well-sized scone that doesn’t look particularly appetising. However, when dissected and dressed, it’s fluffy centre hits the spot. The strawberry jam is rather ordinary but the slightly sweetened chilled whipped cream makes up for it.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A very small range of Tea Drop silk teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Light and bright; it feels like a quirky gallery belonging to the War Memorial.

Location: Australian War Memorial, 5 Treloar Cres, Campbell ACT 2612
Ph: 02 6262 7380 awm.gov.au

Reviewed May, 2018

Busbys Cafe and Restaurant

DT@Busbys Cafe and Restaurant - Wisemans Ferry#

The deck of Busbys Cafe and Restaurant looks towards dramatic cliffs that tower over the Hawkesbury River and the quaint village of Wisemans Ferry. It’s quite a sight and creates an ethereal vibe, which I guess makes this north-western edge of Sydney so special. Access to Busbys is through a carpark off the main street behind the cluster of shops containing the General Store. Warm and cosy inside, diners have a choice of either timbered interiors or out on the covered verandah. Three oven fresh scones are served with a dish of whipped butter, double thick cream and chunky housemade strawberry jam. Crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside, for one person the three scones is quite a meal. I ditch the butter (not before almost mistaking it for cream), and although the super-duper chunky strawberry jam is a treat, there needs to be a bit more, as strawberry chunks don’t spread well.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A very small range of Tea Drop silk teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$$

Overall: Great views but pricey.

Location: 12/5557 Old Northern Rd, Wisemans Ferry NSW 2775 Ph: 02 4566 4787 busbyscaferestaurant.com.au

Reviewed April, 2018

Meridian Cafe

DT@Meridian Cafe - Marulan#

Veer off the Hume Motorway and spend some time in historic Marulan. Since my first visit several years ago, the town has expanded its visitor options beyond the service centre hulks on the roadside. There’s an antique shop, a gentrified general store that does a bit of everything, a bakehouse, a pharmacy, and a handful of other businesses, and enough historic buildings to keep the history buffs occupied while stretching legs. What’s interesting is what the Meridian Cafe is up to. Most walls in the main dining area are covered with framed pictures of pooches with the odd cat, guinea pig and chook. Donate $20, along with a picture of your pet, and the cafe will frame and hang it, with all proceeds going to the Hearts for Makamba charity. What a great idea! Order a scone or two – they are light and fluffy – while perusing the pictures. The jam is average and the cream just a tad too light, but the whole ensemble comes together well.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A good selection of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Heaven for pet lovers.

Location: 85 George St, Marulan NSW 2579 Ph: 02 4841 1126 meridiancafe.com.au

Reviewed May, 2018

Seasons of Kurrajong

DT@Seasons of Kurrajong-Kurrajong#2

It’s a warm day when I visit Seasons of Kurrajong, and I wish I’d chosen a table out in the courtyard. Instead, I sit and gaze at the expansive views of Sydney’s western sprawl, feeling stifled behind the floor to ceiling glass. It’s cosy inside (perfect for winter days) with more dining in the courtyard and out the front on the footpath. I don’t see the scones on display even though I’d called ahead to check, so they must be hidden somewhere in the kitchen. Worth the diversion, the scones are feather light and up there with the best of them. A big lump of jellied strawberry jam seems almost too robust for such delicate scones, and the particularly small dish of double thick cream needs to be at least double in size. The fresh blueberries are a nice touch.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Cosy interiors with smashing views.

Location: Ph: 02 4573 1797 facebook.com

Reviewed March, 2018

Feeding Frenze Cafe

DT@Feeding Frenzy Cafe-Kurrajong#2

It’s a tough choice deciding where to have a Devonshire Tea in Kurrajong village. There are three cafes literally side-by-side offering this delight, so which one to choose? I say go where you feel most comfortable and where the DTs are good (but that’s subjective). Feeding Frenzy Cafe differs from its neighbours in that it has a deck out the back, which is open sided in the warmer months but can be enclosed in inclement weather. There are also lots of tables indoors and some out the front on the footpath. There are no expansive views from the deck but it’s light and bright indoors thereby creating a cosy nook. The cafe attracts a lot of drop ins for takeaway coffees, so it can get busy at lunchtime. My two scones are dry on top and taste more yesterdays’ than freshly baked. The jam is better than most cafe jams and the thickly whipped cream has a hint of vanilla. Both have generous servings so you can load up the scones. Wherever you end up in Kurrajong, you can’t go wrong – the village has a lovely serene ambience overlooking the Sydney sprawl in the distance.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A simple comfy cafe with deck dining out the back.

Location: 79 Old Bells Line of Rd, Kurrajong NSW 2758 Ph: 0402 209 665
feeding-frenze-cafe.business.site

Reviewed March, 2018