The Potager

DT@The Potager - Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens#

My first visit to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden was a while ago when both the gardens and the restaurant were going by different names. The cool climate gardens, featuring 5,000 species of plants, are stunning during all seasons, so there’s never a bad time to visit. I’m lucky today as the weather is glorious and the Blue Mountains are framed beautifully by the cobalt sky. The Potager is a classy restaurant with enough floor to ceiling glass so that if you’re sitting inside there is no chance on forgetting your location. The outdoor area that is shaded by wisteria in the summer is my favourite, and offers little luxuries like blankets and heaters in winter. The scones look great but are heavy and gluey – almost raw, like they need a tad more time in the oven. I guess this is better than stale dry scones, but I can’t say that I enjoyed them. A shame, I am hoping this is a one off. The strawberry jam is ordinary but the saviour is the double thick cream, which there is plenty of. Open Wednesday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of Silver Tips loose-leaf tea served in a small pot. I didn’t ask, but a hot water top up would have been good.

Price: $$$

Overall: I am hoping that the gluey scones this day is a one off because in good weather it’s a splendid spot to hang out in.

Location: Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens, Bells Line of Rd, Mount Tomah NSW 2758  Ph: 02 02 4567 2575 potagermounttomah.com.au

Reviewed Aug 2019

Caramels@Cathie

DT@Caramels-Lake Cathie

Nestled between Port Macquarie and Bonny Hills, Lake Cathie is a small seaside settlement that swells when the summer holidays hit. Perched on the exterior of the Lake Cathie Village Centre, Caramels@Cathie won’t win any awards for its location, as it basically looks over the shopping centre’s car park. The plus is that you get to see the sky as all the seating is outdoors (and undercover), but the bitumen is only a stones throw away. Don’t worry, the beach and foreshore, and the promise of a dip isn’t too far away once you’ve had a DT fix. The very fruity scones are huge, so you’ll only need one (unless you are really hungry). The strawberry jam is on the ordinary side, but the chilled and firm whipped cream is a bonus.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of Twinning tea bag teas served in either a cup or a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Not a particularly inspiring location, but it seems popular.

Location: Lake Cathie Village Centre, 8/1613 Ocean Dr, Lake Cathie NSW 2445
Ph: 02 6585 5963

Reviewed June 2019

Take a Break Cafe

DT@Take a Break Cafe-Murrurundi#2

I hadn’t been through Murrurundi for over 10 years, and my, it’s changed! Smack bang on a busy thoroughfare dissecting the Upper Hunter, Murrurundi is perfectly positioned for a well-earned rest if behind the wheel. Take a Break Cafe is aptly named, and it’s practically right next door to the Visitor Information Centre, which is handy. There’s an outdoor area shaded by umbrellas and inside is light from floor to ceiling windows. I order one scone, but order as many as you want. You’ll probably want more than one, as they are light and fluffy and very more-ish. The jam is a typical cafe standard jam, which you can almost forgive as the cream is whipped thick. There’s also plenty of jam and cream to go around, so no skimping here. Take your time and potter about the shops in town before hitting the road again.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of Tea Drop pyramid silk tea bags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: An ideal location next to the Visitor Information Centre to ‘take a break.’

Location: 113 Mayne St, Murrurundi NSW 2338 Ph: 02 6546 6528 

Reviewed June 2019

 

 

 

 

24 Carrot Cafe

DT@24Carrot Cafe - Hill End General Store

The Hill End General Store now goes by the name of 24 Carrot Cafe, a new identity for a new era. The interior has a few minor rearrangements but other than that, it’s still the General Store from way back. As I’ve mentioned in a former post a few years ago when the cafe served scones (for a minute), the former gold mining village of Hill End is the ideal location to take a break with scones and tea. It’s just, well, fitting; a traditional snack in a heritage setting in the country. Sit in, or out in the front courtyard lined by lavender bushes and shaded by large umbrellas in the summer. ‘Mum’s scones’ (as listed on the blackboard) have the potential to be creamy. To me, they don’t taste fresh today, although they have been microwaved to ‘freshen’ them up. The average strawberry jam is acceptable, but the kicker in this spread is the whipped cream, which is super duper thick – lovely. Enjoy the village; visit the Heritage Centre next door and wander past original restored houses from the 1870s Gold Rush.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A small selection of Lipton teabags served in a funky ‘tea for one’ stackable teapot/cup combo.

Price: $$

Overall: A pleasant place to regroup before more exploring.

Location: 3 Beyers Ave, Hill End NSW 2850 Ph: 02 6337 8111 hillendgeneralstoreandcafe.com.au

Reviewed June 2019

 

 

 

 

 

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

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