Stonesthrow Launceston

DT@Stonesthrow-Launceston TAS

Stonesthrow Launceston is aptly named for its location on the edge of the city of the same name and just a stone throw from the CBD. The modern restaurant, which consists of more glass than any other building material, overlooks a pretty dam where paddleboats ply the waters and a cluster of caravans are parked in the overnight camping area. A petting farm is an attraction for the little people, while a few easy walking tracks meander through the property. There’s a 20-minute wait for scones, and the wait staff try to persuade me to choose something else from the dessert menu. Maybe 29 degrees is too hot for people in Launceston to eat scones? Steaming hot from the oven, the rustic scones err on the large side. I don’t know what it is, but they have a weird taste (maybe something added?) with the texture of dinner rolls. The small pot of tart and tasty raspberry jam is no match in size with the comparatively huge pot of Chantilly cream. Both are top quality and make the serving of scones something to be shared unless tackle it solo if ravenously hungry.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Small city sophistication out on the semi rural farm.

Location:  Ph: 03 6344 3691 stonesthrowlaunceston.com.au 

Reviewed December, 2017

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The Roses Cafe

DT@The Rose Cafe-Yass

Yass must be a popular place because The Roses Cafe is on the spacious side, like a barrage of diners are expected at anytime. Part of The Roses Cafe group that have cafes in Goulburn and Mittagong, this outlet’s friendly staff and mouth watering goodies in the display cabinet will have you returning just to try it all. The ample seating includes a number of umbrella-shaded tables outside, a large main room and a smaller room through a doorway. The crispy scones taste like they have just come out of the oven. It’s possible as there is a bit of a wait. They aren’t my favourite as far as fresh scones go, but they do rate at the higher end of the scone scale. Paired with average jam and thickly whipped cream, the strawberry garnish is a nice touch but I’m not sure how the piece of lettuce found its way onto my plate.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic range of LMDT silk teabags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Clean, and cool when the temperature skyrockets in summer.

Location: 87-89 Comur St, Yass NSW 2582 Ph: 02 6226 6622 therosescafe.com.au 

Reviewed December, 2017

The Spirit of Tasmania 1

DT@Spirit of Tasmainia 1#2

Bass Strait is behaving, and there’s barely a ripple as the Spirit of Tasmania 1 sails across Bass Strait from Port Melbourne in Victoria to Devonport in Tasmania. On a day sailing, there’s no need to stow away in a cabin, as there’s so much to do. Stay on deck and wave Melbourne goodbye. In Port Phillip Bay, dozens of dolphins follow the ferry; dipping and diving, and with the occasional ‘Sea World’ high dive just to show off. Had enough sea air? Catch a movie at one of the two cinemas, listen to music in one of the bars, or explore the ferry, spending time wherever you choose. Whoever demanded that the crew announce meal times for TMK (Tasmanian Market Kitchen), Spirit 1’s main eatery, is a genius. How else would I know about the scones served at 4.00pm while cocooned in the lulling silence of The Lounge? Although The Terrace Lounge Bar serves pizzas and paninis, the casual self-serve eatery is the place for well-priced and appetising meals, and, of course, the scones. From a rather large tray of piping hot scones, choose your own, then add as much thickly whipped cream than you think you may need, and grab a handful of Kraft jam portions (remember, there’s not much in them). The scones are well-baked and oven-fresh but taste as though they may be made from a pre-made scone mix. I could be wrong, and I definitely don’t want to undermine the chefs, after all, it’s the middle of Bass Strait and where else can you get scones?

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A selection of Twinings tea bags served in paper cups.

Price: $$

Overall: An excellent surprise!

Location: Station Pier, Waterfront Place, Port Melbourne VIC 3207 OR The  Ph: 1800 634 906 spiritoftasmania.com.au

Reviewed December, 2017

Pickers Cafe & Collectables

DT@Pickers Cafe & Collectables-Rutherglen VIC#

A former gold mining town, Rutherglen now sits smack bang in the middle of award-wining wine country. Easily accessible, it’s just over the border from New South Wales, therefore handy to the Murray River and Albury/Wodonga, and easy enough for a diversion off the Hume Highway. The town centre is lined with mid 19th century heritage buildings, which is typical of many towns in country Victoria. Picker Cafe & Collectables is down one end of Main St. Look for a few umbrellas and tables set up out front for fine weather dining, and there are several more inside amongst the collectables. Although the scones are large you may not be able to stop at one. They are oven fresh and slightly crispy on the outside. The rich raspberry jam is excellent, and the divine double thick Chantilly style cream has just the right amount of vanilla bean folded through it. While waiting, be sure to check out the second-hand goods and vintage collectables. Closed midweek.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of Diplomat tea bags served in a decent-sized teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Quality food at great prices.

Location: 166 Main St, Rutherglen VIC 3685 Ph: 03 6032 7547

Reviewed December, 2017

The Farm Cafe

DT@The Farm CAfe-Abbotsford VIC

Adjacent to the Abbotsford Convent complex, the Collingwood Children’s Farm is an inner city farm for inner city folk who can’t or don’t make it out of the city too often. It’s a chance for kids (big kids included) to wander the paddocks and connect with farm animals, cuddle guinea pigs and watch cows being milked. While the kids are occupied, head to The Farm Cafe, which is conveniently located on the grounds. The menu sounds delish and is loaded with health driven meals. The wholemeal scones are served at room temperature, and are robust rather than light and fluffy. I’m a real fan of wholemeal flour in baked items, but just not my scones, it’s just too heavy. The jam is the typical commercial jam served in most cafes. There’s barely enough for one scone, and thank goodness getting another dish of jam isn’t a problem. The double thick cream is a nice finish and brownie points for the lovely tea cup and saucer.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Calma Sutra loose-leaf teas served in a Japanese iron teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Schmick alfreso dining overlooking the farm paddocks.

Location: Collingwood Children’s Farm, 18 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067
Ph: 03 9415 6581 farmcafe.com.au

Reviewed December, 2017

The Vintage Hall Cafe

DT@The Vintage Hall Cafe-Glenrowan#2

Entering Glenrowan from the north, The Vintage Hall Cafe is the first commercial venture in a town that eats and breathes all things Ned Kelly. If for some reason you’ve no idea who the infamous bushranger was, you’ll surely leave town with a fairly good idea. The Vintage Hall Cafe is actually part of the old village hall that now acts as a vintage and collectibles shop. The attached cafe has recently had a large deck built out the front that continues to wrap around the front of the hall. This added to the indoor dining, doubles the seating, and makes for a pleasant place to sit in fine weather. There’s a stash of both date and plain scones in the cake cabinet. Even though they err to the small side, I decide on just the plain scone. It’s not great as it’s spent too much time in the microwave and is a bit soggy. The berry jam is the highlight, rich and fruity and an excellent commercial variety. The cream on the other hand, although fresh is very light and airy.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: It’s all about vintage wares and a meal rather than Ned Kelly.

Location: 54 Gladstone St, Glenrowan VIC 3675 Ph: 0412 172 470 

Reviewed December, 2017

Benalla Gallery Cafe

DT@The Gallery cafe-Benalla

Veer off the Hume Highway in northern Victoria and you won’t be far away from a country town ready for exploration. First in this northern Victorian series is Benalla. It has a bakery that boasts they have the best vanilla slice this side of Kansas. I guess it’s subjective as I find them small and they taste no different from other good vanilla slices. The centrepiece of the town is the Botanical Gardens that wrap around part of Lake Benalla, which on this summer’s morning sees a small group of swimmers doing a circuit of the lake. Sitting on the deck of the Benalla Gallery Cafe, I have pole position of said swimmers. Sharing the building with the Benalla Art Gallery, the cafe seems like a favourite as locals pile in not long after opening time. It’s barely past 8am and there’s a batch of scones on the counter. I assume they are at least yesterday’s as they are dry and unappetising, even on an empty stomach. The jam is stock standard strawberry and the cream luxuriously double thick.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

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

Price: $$

Overall: Great location overlooking Lake Benalla.

Location:
Ph: 03 5760 2619 benallagallerycafe.com

Reviewed December, 2017