Cafe Bear & Scoobs

DT@Cafe Bear & Scoobs - North Geelong#

On the way to Cafe Bear & Scoobs I pass a Sphinx with a bottle shop underneath:  unusual to say the least, but an interesting gimmick for a pub. This part of town feels slightly ‘light industrial’ and I am surprised to find a cafe with giant teddy bears sitting at either side of the entrance in this part of town. I wonder what the guys in hi-vis clothing think? It doesn’t seem to bother them, because by the look of all the food coming out of the kitchen, and all the yummy cakes in the cabinet, I understand why. It’s a motley bunch of customers: with groups of women in exercise wear chatting over coffees and solo diners reading the paper. All I can say is that whoever owns the cafe knows a thing or two about how a Devonshire Tea should be. The scones are incredibly fresh, creamy and absolutely delicious. The organic strawberry jam is tart and absolutely fabulous, and a long way from the sickly sweet strawberry jams that are often on offer in cafes. The lashings of double thick cream is a nice addition and really tops off an already superb spread. The teddy biscuits with the tea are a nice touch.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

Tea: A selection of Tea Forte pyramid tea bags served with a huge tea cup of hot water and beautifully presented on it’s own tray.

Price: $$

Overall: A huge space with a delectable scone, jam and cream spread.

Location: 18 Thompson Rd, North Geelong VIC 3215 Ph: 0408 290 298 cafebearandscoobs.com.au

Reviewed in November, 2019

Port of Call

DT@Port of Call - Portland#

Not as enticing as many of the other towns along Victoria’s coastline, Portland perched on the southwest coast is undeniably a working port town. The site of Victoria’s first permanent European settlement is reminiscent of a British seaside town; cool and blustery with an old fishing port vibe. Port of Call cafe feels like an old- fashioned fish and chip/hamburger place that has been transformed into a cafe with a chippie on the side. It’s quite cavernous inside with long refectory style tables lining the footpath out front. In cooler weather, grab a table in one of the two dining areas or a seat along the window counter for a view of the port. There is a mound of plain and date scones sitting on the counter. I try a plain scone, which is small and a bit dry. I must admit that it is late in the day and perhaps if I were here this morning it may have been a different story. The strawberry jam is ordinary but good enough, and the dollop of double cream is rich and rewarding. Wander about town, as there are some lovely old heritage buildings and remnants of the whaling station it once was.

Scones:  

Jam:

Cream:  

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

Price: $$

Overall: A great location overlooking the port and the park.

Location: 73 Bentinck St, Portland VIC 3305 Ph: 03 5548 4768 facebook.com

Reviewed in November, 2019

Java Cafe

DT@Java Cafe-Millicent#2

Millicent, a small town inland from South Australia’s Limestone Coast, is probably not a huge drawcard for travellers even though its in driving distance from beaches and limestone caves. Along the main shopping street are several cafes, and luckily I find scones at Java Cafe. With shady footpath seating, a deck out the back and a variety of tables from solo seating along the window to large groups, the cafe offers a space for all. The presentation of the Devonshire Tea is impressive, but not so is the tea bag in the cup. Apparently there are teapots but I am not offered one. The two creamy and fluffy scones are delectable and very more-ish if you haven’t had lunch. There is strawberry and apricot jam on offer, and as always I make use of the apricot jam. It’s better than the average cafe variety, but to me, apricot jam always tastes better! The chilled whipped cream is slightly sweet and a perfect accompaniment with the scones and jam.

Scones:  

Jam:  

Cream:  

Tea: A basic range of tea bags served in a mug, although a teapot is on offer.

Price: $$

Overall: An excellent spread in a quiet country town.

Location: 77a George St, Millicent SA 5280 Ph: 08 8733 2288

Reviewed in November, 2019

Mamor Chocolates & High Tea Szalon

DT@MAmor Chocolates and High Teas#Collingwood#

I don’t expect to be sipping tea and eating scones in Melbourne’s hip Collingwood. However, Mamor Chocolates and High Tea Szalon fits right in. The interior design is exquisitely lavish, emitting a true Moulin Rouge vibe. Rich red velvet furnishings, fine antique china and silverware, and all the extra trimmings make this an enviable place to want to hang out with the girls. All goodies are handcrafted in house, with of course artisan chocolates, Tea Leaves tea and jam for sale. The Devonshire Tea is a kind of hybrid High Tea. Along with the two lemonade scones, there’s also a cookie and a macaroon. The scones are literally bite-size, but super fresh and straight from the oven. There’s tart house made plum or strawberry jam to choose from, which is accompanied with thickly whipped cream. Although there are plenty of both, we are offered refills. What we really need refills of are the scones. The above image is for two people, and although the whole is experience is special, it comes in at $40. I won’t lie, but we feel a tad ripped off. The Devonshire Tea is available on weekdays only and bookings are essential. The venue also hosts interesting events like High TEAs, which includes cocktails and Burlesque. Definitely call before going. I trusted Google, and when we arrived at 11am, the place said it didn’t open until 2pm, but luckily there were some staff doing prep in the kitchen.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Endless cups of English Breakfast loose-leaf tea is served as part of the Devonshire Tea package, otherwise offer to pay extra and ask to see the Tea Leave loose-leaf tea menu.

Price: $$$$

Overall: A lavish tea salon that’s ideal for a catch up with the girls or to host a girlie event.

Location: 153 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066 Ph: 03 9419 3869 mamorchocolates.com

Reviewed November 2019

 

 

 

 

 

The Teahouse

DT@The Teahouse - Geelomng Botaical Gardens

The first time I try to visit The Teahouse, it’s 37 degrees with easterly winds so strong that they close the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Ten days later, I try again when it’s 12 degrees and wet, but luckily all is open. Established in 1851, the Geelong Botanic Gardens are the fourth oldest botanic garden in Australia! Located in a fenced off area in the expansive Eastern Park in East Geelong, the Geelong Botanic Gardens is a quiet escape from whatever is going on on the other side of the fence. The simple teahouse sits in a shady spot with shaded outdoor seating. There is very little room in the actual teahouse for much seating, so it’s ideal in fine weather. Tea and scones is the only way to finish off a stroll through the gardens. At first glance, the scone looks very sad, and although it tastes fresh and creamy, it’s hard to have a really good look as the scone arrives already dressed. The cafe is very generous with the whipped cream, which is lathered over the average strawberry jam. The whole thing tastes better than it looks but I think $10 is a couple of dollars too much for what you get. The little cookie on the cup is a nice touch.

Scones:  

Jam:  

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Tea: A range of Tea Drop pyramid teabags served in a small teapot and with a proper China cup.

Price: $$

Overall: A beautiful public garden with a simple tea house, suitable in fine weather.

Location: Geelong Botanic Gardens, Botanic Pl, East Geelong VIC 3219 Ph: 0413 706 535 friendsgbg.org.au

Reviewed in November, 2019

Glen Derwent Tea Rooms

DT@Glen Derwent Tea Rooms-New Norfolk#4

On entering the property, Glen Derwent Heritage Retreat can be seen beyond the ancient trees that line the driveway. The place is steeped in so much history, that there isn’t enough room on this page to go into it. However, the website has a well-articulated timeline that begins in 1807. If you want to stay overnight, there are cottages and rooms available, including the repurposed stable. The Glen Derwent Tea Rooms are located in a few rooms in a corner of the main house, including a glorious glass conservatory. In summer, you can dine on the verandas and lawns overlooking the croquet lawn, and when the weather cools down, the fire in the conservatory is lit or you can snuggle in the drawing or dining room. The three small fresh-from-the-oven scones are slightly crispy and still warm. My only gripe is that they are so small! The raspberry/black current jam from Derwent Valley berries is rich and fruity and a delicious accompaniment to the thickly whipped cream. Glen Derwent Tea Rooms are available for high teas, lunches and group functions.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A few kinds of loose-leaf teas and some tea bag varieties served in a good-sized teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A tea room embedded in a property rich with colonial history.

Location:  Ph: 0427 480 057 glenderwent.com

Reviewed September 2019

The Lighthouse Tea Rooms

DT@The Lighthouse Tea Rooms#2

Along with my Devonshire Tea fetish, I must admit I have a penchant for lighthouses, and when I can combine the two I’m like a kid in a candy store. Not as isolated as Cape Otway Lightstation further along the Great Ocean Road, Split Point Lighthouse has high visitation due to its proximity to Melbourne. The lighthouse is visible from the highway and only a few minute deviation. After parking in the nearby car park, approach the lighthouse on foot passing the former lighthouse stables, which is now The Lighthouse Tea Rooms. With friendly staff, a cosy indoor eating space and plenty of refectory-style benches in a lovely garden, it’s ideal for watching the endless trail of visitors traipsing up to the lighthouse. It’s late in the day when I visit and I get in just before closing time. According to the sign out front, the Tea Rooms are famous for their scones. The scones are small, a perfect size for a snack rather than a meal, but are a tad bit microwaved. A shame I’m not here at opening time to grab a super fresh one. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity and the cream is thickly whipped. All in all it’s pretty good. Combine your visit with a 45-minute tour of the lighthouse or wander along the dramatic Great Ocean Road coastline.

Scones:  

Jam:  

Cream:  

Tea: An interesting range of loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: The ideal location for tea and scones.

Location: Split Point Lighthouse, 7 Federal St, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231 Ph: 0444 530 399

Reviewed in November, 2019

Hahne’s Kitchen

DT@Hahne's Kitchen - Wangaratta#3

After cycling part of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail into a strong head wind, I’m ready for a Devonshire Tea. Slipping in to downtown Wangaratta’s Hahne’s Kitchen is easy as there is plenty of parking nearby even though the town is bustling. The cafe interior is simple and the shady outdoor area on the footpath is pleasant in fine weather. The scones sitting on the counter look scrumptious. They are fresh (even at 3pm) and have a creamy texture. There’s are a choice of apricot or mixed berry homemade jam so I choose the apricot, which reminds me of the apricot jam I make at home. The cream is whipped thick, which makes the whole combination delicious. If you have time, it’s worthy of a diversion from the Hume Freeway.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A simple cafe in downtown Wangaratta serving killer scones.

Location:  Ph: 03 5721 4026

Reviewed November 2019

The Fig Tree Coffee House

DT@The Fig Coffee House-Kenthurst

I’ve always loved Mother Earth Nursery. It’s on the quirky side in comparison to other plant nurseries in north-western Sydney, as it feels like the place is more dedicated to The Fig Tree Coffee House than the selling of plants and accessories. The main entrance through the rondavel with the lovely roof water feature is a standout. The indoor seating spills out from the rondavel into an extensive leafy courtyard, which is a green haven for mother earth lovers. Although on the day we visit the food is below par, the service is very good. The fresh scones look like small baps. There is noting particularly extraordinary about them but they are better than average. The homemade mixed berry jam is tart rather than sweet and is served with a strawberry garnish, which is kind of unnecessary considering the whipped cream is also served with a strawberry and blueberry garnish. It does make the presentation of the spread very enticing, however, maybe just stick to sprucing up the cream. Looking at the above image, the scone, jam and cream look delicious. However, I want to mention that along with the quality of the meal we had just had, the quality and flavour needs some improvement.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A better than average scone and tea spread set in a beautiful garden setting.

Location: Mother Earth Nursery, 1A Annangrove Rd, Kenthurst NSW 2156
Ph: 02 9654 1423 fig-coffee-house.business.site

Reviewed November 2019

Trappers Bakery

DT@Trappers bakery-Goulburn#

Trappers Bakery is a licence to print money. Visit on the weekend and you’ll be lucky to get a table. The place is spacious, which is handy considering how many people stop by. It’s popularity makes sense. Its a quick diversion off the freeway, the bakery has a range of food, there’s ample parking and the staff are really friendly. Although I have passed by Trappers Bakery on a number of occasions, I never thought about trying the place for scones. Silly, as overall, the spread is quite good. The scones are fresh and have a creamy texture, and the big mound of firm bakery-style cream is chilled. On the other hand, the two portion-controlled strawberry jams are a disgrace and is the weakest link. A real knife rather than a plastic one would be good, considering I am dining in.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of Temple Tea Co pyramid tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A convenient rest stop in Goulburn, without having to go in to town.

Location: 4 Sowerby St, Goulburn NSW 2580 Ph: 02 4821 4477 trappersbakery.com.au

Reviewed November 2019