Margaret & Agnes

DT@MArgaret & Agnes - Portland

I’m in town with another 4,000 hungry cyclists, and food in cafes is disappearing like hotcakes after today’s long ride. At Margaret & Agnes I spy the pile of date scones on the counter and the friendly staff offer to put a scone aside for me so I can catch a few shops before they close. How nice is that? The date scone is huge, and I only need one. As it’s a date scone, it’s served with a few sachets of butter as well as the jam and cream. It’s over-microwaved and ends up being a bit dry around the edges. Straight out the oven or earlier in the day, the scone would be amazing – shame. The two sachets of strawberry jam are pathetic, but the double thick cream somewhat saves it. In fine weather grab one of the outdoor tables.

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

Price: $$

Overall: A bright and welcoming cafe located along the waterfront strip of businesses.

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

Reviewed in November, 2019

Charlie’s On East

DT@Charlie's on East - Port Fairy

A visit to Port Fairy is not complete without checking out the beaches. And what beaches! The white sand and turquoise waters of East Beach goes on forever, and in good weather there is no other place you want to be. Perched above the East Beach Surf Club sits Charlie’s On East, a simple cafe that feeds off its prime surfside position. Perhaps prime real estate on one of Australia’s most famous and beautiful coastlines doesn’t warrant friendly service or maybe I am just unlucky and the waitress is having a bad day. I arrive just in time to nab the last scone, and from my later investigations in Port Fairy, I think the last scone in the whole town. One scone is enough as it is huge. It tastes much better than it looks and is fresh with a hint of vanilla. The average strawberry jam is acceptable but doesn’t do the scone any favours, but the double thick cream is a saviour. Try for a table out on the balcony for views of superb East Beach.

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Tea: A range of Tea Drop tea silk tea bags served in a three-quarters filled tiny teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Fantastic endless views of East Beach and beyond.

Location: 4 Hughes Ave, Port Fairy VIC 3284 Ph: 03 5568 2885

Reviewed in November, 2019

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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