The Pancake and Crepe Shop

DT@The Crepe and Pancake Shop-Oatlands With a name like The Pancake and Crepe Shop, it’s quite obvious that the cafe specialises in the above, but one can’t miss the big sign out the front for Devonshire Teas. Located in another heritage-choked town along the Convict Trail, Oatlands is hard to miss with Australia’s third oldest mill dominating the skyline. Carrington Mill is now open to visitors after a recent restoration, and is conveniently located across from The Pancake and Crepe Shop. It’s cold out so the two small dining rooms are tight and we are lucky to squeeze in to a corner table. A shame about the weather as the row of tables out the front surrounded by window boxes of spring flowers would be lovely if it actually were spring weather. I love the bright fun tea ware and serving spoons as it creates a sense of excitement of what’s ahead. I normally wouldn’t complain, especially if the scones are sensational and the jam and cream superb. But why three large-ish scones? It’s rather excessive considering there’s not a great deal of tea to wash them down with and the super duper light cream is lousy. The homemade berry compote style jam has chunks of berries that would be perfect on a Pavlova. Just call me old fashioned, but I prefer a spreadable jam on my scones. To top it off, the scones are a bit overdone and are dry on top. Coupled with an inadequate amount of jam and cream, my excitement quickly moves to disappointment. Once again, I have to remember not to judge a book by its cover! Open Wednesday to Sunday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A range of teabags served in a small teapot/cup duo.

Price: $$

Overall: An adorable gingerbread house style restaurant with a couple of cosy dining rooms.

Location:  Ph: 03 6254 0070

Reviewed September 2019

Ashmore on Bridge Street

DT@Ashmore on Bridge Street-Richmond

I haven’t visited Richmond since 2011, and I can’t remember it being so touristy. A convenient day jaunt from Hobart (even for Tasmanians), it’s only about 30 minutes, the gorgeous village has plenty to keep visitors occupied. The convict-built town was established as a military and convict post, strategic in linking Hobart and Port Arthur. What’s left and well-preserved are a cluster of Georgian style buildings housing all manner of interests for visitors; think galleries, museums, boutiques and of course tea shops. The first cafe I see is Ashmore on Bridge Street, which on the exterior is a restored Georgian-styled corner building and on the inside is light, bright and modern. The scones I believe are freshly baked (says so on the menu), but mine are slightly chewy and moist, a tell-tale sign that they’ve overstayed their welcome in the microwave. There’s a selection of strawberry, raspberry and apricot jam available. The apricot jam is housemade (says so on the menu), and is more sweet than tart. It’s a shame there’s not enough of it, and the fresh cream is from a canister, which is super light and aerated. Before you leave, tour the spooky Richmond Gaol and explore more of the Coal River Valley.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$$

Overall: A modern vibe in a very historic town.

Location: 34 Bridge St, Richmond TAS 7025 Ph: 03 6260 2238 ashmoreonbridge.com.au

Reviewed September 2019

Bakery31

DT@Bakery 31 - Ross

Back when Tasmania was known as Van Diemans Land, the Apple Isle was dissected into two counties. From 1804 until 1812, you could either be in the northern county of Cornwall or the southern county of Buckinghamshire, and the 42 parallel was used as the dividing line. The 42 parallel runs just north of the historic town of Ross, but you can read all about it in town. Part of Tasmania’s Convict Trail that runs north to south, Ross is a pleasant town to pull into for a wander. With a few cafes to choose from, Bakery31 is the only one offering scones on the day that I visit. Home to the famous Tasmanian Scallop Pie Company, Bakery31’s location in an old timber home with a cosy indoor cafe and plenty of outdoor seating is a good choice. The scones are nothing extraordinary, but good enough to create a decent spread. The strawberry jam is basic but the slightly sweet cream is thick and firm, and there’s plenty of it. The bakery sells Convict Jam that is prepared at the bakery. The jam served in the Devonshire Tea doesn’t taste like it should be winning awards, so I doubt it is the same stuff that they sell. Also for sale is Convict Coffee, handmade lollies called Devils Bites, Caramelised Balsamic dressings, honey from Tas Bees and Jasper Chocolates. So pretty much something for everyone if you are looking to buy gifts.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A country bakery/cafe in a cute town.

Location: 31 Church St, Ross TAS 7209 Ph: 03 6381 5422 bakery31.com.au

Reviewed September 2019

Cafe Squire

DT@Cafe Squire-Devonport

Cafe Squire is a morning place. The imposing 1886-built former parsonage for Methodist ministers is hard to miss when coming off the Spirit of Tasmania red-eye. The car park across the road fills up with bleary-eyed early risers arriving from the mainland, and soon after, those readying themselves for a day on Bass Strait. The timber building is a beauty, and the interior cosy with a couple of large but separate dining areas. There are tables on the wrap around verandah, handy if you have a pooch along for the ride. I don’t normally eat scones for breakfast, but I make an exception. The large lemonade scone tastes like it is fresh out of the freezer, and popped in to the microwave to thaw out. Although it’s a good size, there is nothing light and fluffy about it, but instead, it’s rather damp. There’s a choice of strawberry, raspberry and apricot jam. Apricot is my favourite and is rarely on offer so I jump at the chance, and it doesn’t disappoint! It’s fruit-rich and tart, perfect. Alongside the thickly whipped cream, the jam is the best part of this spread, and of course the rambling old house that the cafe inhabits.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A Vintage Tea silk tea bag in a large mug that’s not much more than three-quarters filled.

Price: $$

Overall: An attractive heritage building with a slightly over-priced menu.

Location:  Ph: 0419 351 994 cafesquire.com

Reviewed September 2019

Jumping Jumbuck Restaurant

DT@Jumping Jumbuck-Euroa

The Hume Freeway is a double-edged sword. While it whizzes along at 110km/hr connecting overland Sydney to Melbourne travellers with as least hassle as possible, it also bypasses the cute and character-filled towns along the way. Euroa, just one of many Victorian towns in bushranger country, is a delight for weary travellers. It’s pretty parks with meandering waterways are perfect for leg stretching, and if you are more interested in history there are a few heritage-listed sites and monuments, and the infamous National Back that was robbed by Ned Kelly in 1878. In the northern part of town, Jumping Jumbuck Restaurant is a height of activity this Sunday morning. If it is warmer weather I’d sit out the front at one of the tables on the grassed area, otherwise there are a few rooms to choose from inside. One large already dressed scone arrives at my table. It’s definitely fresh, but the jam and cream make it a bit difficult to really decide on its full merits. The two massive dollops of thickly whipped cream are more than enough for coverage. Actually there is such an over-abundance of cream that it’s hard to notice the strawberry jam at all. It’s the average cafe kind: good enough for most things except scones! In saying that, at least there is enough jam to cover both sides.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A good range of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A lovely Devonshire Tea and well-worth the diversion off the Hume freeway for a touch of swagmen and bushrangers.

Location:  Ph: 03 5795 1181

Reviewed September 2019

Gundagai Bakehouse

DT@The Gundagai Bakehouse-Gundagai

If you can tear yourself away from the Dog on the Tuckerbox and the roadside fast food outlets that surround it, motor on in to the main drag of Gundagai and check out some of the town’s history. After checking out the old bridge and generally wandering down the main street, stop at the historic Gundagai Bakehouse. It’s been around since 1864 when a German immigrant and baker, William Bibo, built and opened the bakery. The history books say it is the oldest working bakery in Australia – so they must be doing something right! You have to remember this is a bakery and the scones, jam and cream reflect this. The scones are good; fresh, although a little overcooked on top. The jam is a weird syrupy concoction, which I guess is used in bakery cakes like cream buns etc. The cream too is the typical bakery kind: but I like it. It’s firm and chilled (although has a glutinous texture), and is better than the featherlight ones served in many cafes. There are a few simple tables indoors, but try the ones on the footpath out the front.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic choice of Sir Thomas Lipton teabags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A simple country bakery on the main drag of Gundagai.

Location:  Ph: 02 6944 1192

Reviewed September 2019

 

Elephant Boy Cafe

DT@The Elephant Boy-Bowral#2

I’ve always wanted to go to the Elephant Boy Cafe in Bowral, as it looks intriguing through the window – all those books! Feeling like a library with a cafe embedded within, it has a definite den-like masculine vibe, cosy even. What it has in ambience certainly doesn’t transpire in the Devonshire Tea. The one large scone is more like a bread roll, but what it has going for it is that it’s fresh, light and fluffy. The sachet of Zoosh strawberry jam is not only appalling that it is a sachet, but also that there is only one. Ridiculous considering that the scone is so big. The whipped cream is quite runny and again, not particularly appealing. Although the teapot is a good size, the cup and saucer is more basic than what most cafes have these days. It goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: The range of loose-leaf teas are more varied than at most cafes

Price: $$

Overall: An atmospheric cafe, but forget the scones.

Location: 329 Bong Bong St, Bowral NSW 2576 Ph: 02 4855 2921

Reviewed August 2019

The Roses Cafe

DT@The Roses Cafe-Mittagong

In the old Gilberts Cafe space, The Roses Cafe forms the trio of businesses trading under the same name and who have venues in Yass and Goulburn. It’s a large space, and it’s a big job to create a cosy ambience. Also, considering the saturated Mittagong cafe scene, it’s considerably busy. The deli set up looks the same as the other The Roses Cafes. Today, the scones are very average, dry with a slight aftertaste. They look good, but that doesn’t always mean much. The strawberry jam is the standard cafe variety and the whipped fresh cream is a plus but isn’t particularly thick, lacking any body. As always the fresh strawberry garnish is a lovely touch.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of The Wood Roaster silk teabags served in a small chipped teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A spacious venue that has the same offerings as the other The Roses Cafes.

Location: 86/88 Main St, Mittagong NSW 2575 Ph: 02 4871 3668 therosescafe.com.au

Reviewed August 2019

 

Burrawang General Store

DT@Burrawang General Store

In small villages, the general store is often the central hub for locals and visitors alike, and Burrawang General Store is no different. Tucked away from mainstream Southern Highlands, Burrawang is a cute mellow settlement just a short diversion off the Moss Vale/Robertson road. The 1867 built and rather overly spacious (think cavernous interior) general store feels more stark than cosy. There are some bits ‘n’ pieces to interest visitors, including some local products, and although restored, you get a good feel of the stores’ earlier years. I love the deck out the front, as it is a wonderful place to chill and suck up the Burrawang charm. We are the last patrons of the day and the scones are still hanging in there. Although not as fresh as we had hoped, they still retain a quality that’s well deserving of the accompanying jam and cream. The homestyle strawberry jam is tart rather than sweet, and is matched perfectly with the double thick cream. As always, the tea cosy covered teapot is a kitschy hit!

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A variety of Tea Corporation loose-leaf teas served in a pot for one or two and kept warm with a tea cosy.

Price: $$

Overall: A chilled place to hang out and watch village life.

Location: 11 Hoddle St, Burrawang NSW 2577 Ph: 02 4886 4496 bgsc.com.au

Reviewed August 2019

The Little Hand Stirred Jam Shop

DT@The Little Hand Stirred Jam Shop-Berrima

The Little Hand Stirred Jam Shop is definitely more than just a jam shop! There are an enormous choice of jams, including the savoury kind, as well as chutneys, pickles, honey, relishes – the list goes on and on.  I can’t even begin to list the jams that are available in the shop, but just a few include apricot, fig and ginger, cinnaberry, blackberry and blackcurrant, plus many more. These jams are made onsite and are seasonal. There is a separate dining section as well as some tables imbedded within the shop. The menu is simple but fresh and interesting. The two very small crusty scones are straight from the oven. The scones and the whole experience are so good; I wish the scones were bigger so we could stay longer and savour the experience. There’s a choice of jam but I bypass them, as lemon curd is hard to resist as an alternative to jam. Rich, smooth and silky, this lemon curd is one of the best I have ever tasted. No pesky lemon rind, just perfection. I even take a jar home! To compliment the lemon curd, double thick cream is served. This Devonshire Tea is definitely one of the best in the Southern Highlands.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of the south-coast’s The Berry Tea Shop loose-leaf teas, served in a pot for one or two. Some unlikely teas include the South Coast Breakfast and Australian Billy Tea.

Price: $$

Overall: Excellent! The cute shop where you can dine amongst the jars of jams and condiments.

Location: 1/9 Old Hume Hwy, Berrima NSW 2577 Ph: 02 4877 1404 handstirred.com.au

Reviewed August 2019