Wild Dragonfly Cafe

DT@Wild Dragonfly Cafe-Mt Annan#

Mt Annan Flower Power delivers the same vast range of garden centre goodies as its sister outlets including an onsite cafe. The Wild Dragonfly Cafe sounds exotic, but there’s nothing exotic about a cafe that services a popular kiddies playground. The morning I visit there’s a birthday party going on, but fortunately they are holed up in a shady corner filled with tables. The rest of the cafe is more subdued and looks over rows of greenery for sale and towards the gift shop. I don’t see any scones but they are definitely on the menu. Order however many you like as there is no set ‘Devonshire Tea’. My scone arrives pre-sliced and although it tastes fresh, the heating process has made the scone gluggy and devoid of its former self. The condiments aren’t particularly impressive with average strawberry jam served alongside a dish of super light cream that is so light that it dissolves once it hits my warm scone.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

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

Price: $$

Overall: A buzzing cafe that’s popular with families.

Location: Flower Power Garden Centre, 320 Narellan Rd, Mount Annan NSW 2567
Ph: 02 4647 3788 flowerpower.com.au

Reviewed May 2018

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Blackheath General Store & Cafe

DT@Blackheath General Store and Cafe#2

With a name like Blackheath General Store & Cafe, I don’t think to check their menu for scones. A haven of calm and quiet, with pastel finishes that create a mellow vibe; it’s more cafe than store. Perched right on the Great Western Highway, so if sitting outside, expect to get rumbled by a passing semi-trailer, but inside it’s all relaxed around the refectory dining table that dominates the room. Devonshire Teas come with either one or two scones, and my advice is, arrive on an empty stomach and order two scones. These superb scones are my favourite type; large, fluffy and creamy – you can’t get better than this combination – excellent! The homemade blackberry compote is fresh and tasty, but double of the amount would be better. The whipped cream is chilled and is decorated with a pretty chocolate garnish. The whole presentation is fresh and feels very Hamptons. Closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: A chic cafe serving excellent scones.

Location: 249 Great Western Hwy, Blackheath NSW 2785 Ph: 02 4787 5082 facebook.com

Reviewed May 2018

The Tea Lounge

DT@The Tea Lounge- Hyat Hotel ACT#2

The Tea Lounge in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel Canberra is an institution for lovers of afternoon tea. I’ve been here many times over the years for weekend High Teas and the occasional Devonshire Tea. On this visit I’m here with a critical eye. As far as five-star hotels are concerned, this heritage hotel is pretty low-key. With a hint of 1920s and doormen that look like they belong on a golf course rather than in a hotel, the Hyatt Canberra is suitable for both business and leisure travellers. If you are staying at the hotel you’ll inevitably end up in the Tea Lounge, which is more open-plan-space than intimate lounge. There are three scones per serve, which is generous, and if you include the mini friand served with the tea, it’s almost a full meal! The blueberry Beerenberg jam in petite jars is better than most generic jams found in cafes, but the pot of firm chilled cream rounds out this spread.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Around 30 choices of loose-leaf teas and tisanes served in a large teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A Canberran afternoon tea institution.

Location: Hyatt Hotel Canberra, 120 Commonwealth Ave, Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: 02 6269 8815 canberra.park.hyatt.com

Reviewed May 2018

Indulge Tea Garden

DT@Indulge Tea Gardens-Gold Creek ACT#

This quintessential tea house is the ideal location for a High Tea extravaganza. It has all the bells and whistles: a massive tea selection to keep whistles wet for lots of nattering, an elegant dining area with chairs that have the shape of a teapot cut out of the back rest, and it’s a specific function venue for the huge groups. The day I visit, O’Hanlon Place looks windswept and bleak, but perhaps in finer Canberra weather it’s a pretty place for a special event. The venue is certainly large enough for it, but can be kept small and cosy for quieter days. The oven-fresh scones are the best bit of this spread, but that’s if you don’t include the phenomenal choice of teas. The scones do have a sweet aftertaste like they are made from a pre-prepared scone mix, or perhaps there’s too much vanilla in them to my taste? The sweetness is overkill as the cheap quality jam and the synthetic cream from an aerosol can are super sweet. The spread is well-presented, the goods delivered on a serving board with a dollop of berry compote, a strawberry sliver and a sprig of mint. A great presentation and decent scones still can’t rescue what essentially is an expensive and slightly disappointing Devonshire Tea. For $15 or so dollars, I do expect top-notch jam and cream.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: The tea selection is out of this world with almost 100 varieties of loose-leaf teas served in a clear teapot kept warm by a tea light.

Price: $$$

Overall: An elegant tea house for those who take tea seriously.

Location: Gold Creek Village, Shop 6/18 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls ACT 2913 Ph: 02 5105 9741
indulgetea.com.au

Reviewed May 2018

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

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