The Olive

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Although off (just) the main street of Burnt Pines, you can’t miss the pointed roof of The Olive. The cafe certainly does stand out, and the lovely lawn is covered with umbrella-covered tables if you prefer alfresco dining to the welcoming indoor area. It’s another popular breakfast/lunch hangout, but don’t leave it too late as the umbrellas get packed away by 3pm. I’m distracted by the menu, but get back to my main aim – the scones. They don’t disappoint; fresh and fluffy, and probably the best on the island (although most of the others on offer do come close). I can’t put my finger on it, but these babies have a delicate creamy taste with just the right balance of everything – absolutely delicious! They are so good that the lightly whipped (I like it thick, thick, thick) cream doesn’t bother me too much. The jam is above average and does the job. When the scones are top-notch, not even average condiments can bring them down.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A vast choice of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a small pot with extra hot water on the side.

Price: $$

Overall: A central location and did I already mention they have the best scones on the island?

Location: Burnt Pine 2899 Ph: +6723 24406 facebook.com/theolivenorfolkisland/

Reviewed in December, 2016

The Golden Orb Bookshop & Cafe

dtgolden-orb-cafe-bookshop-norfolk-isNamed after the Golden Orb spiders that can be found in the owners’ garden, the Golden Orb Bookshop and Cafe feels so far removed from the rest of Burnt Pine. Tucked up in its own tropical cocoon, at first it almost feels a little intimidating making your way down the leafy path and not knowing what to expect at the other end. The dark timber cafe is surprisingly large, and the ‘book’ in ‘bookshop’, a little exaggerated. Perched along one wall there are some books and cards for sale, but they definitely are not the drawcard to this enclave. The scones are piled high on a tray on top of the counter. Freshly baked and large enough to cover for two scones, the scone is light and crispy on the outside, and robust (heavy rather than fluffy) on the inside. The jam is better than average i.e., thicker rather than a transparent sweet coloured gel. The whipped cream is thick, just as it should be, and there’s plenty of it and the jam to cover the scone liberally. The scones do run out, so make it there for morning tea. Closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An interesting array of all the favourites plus herbal and specialty loose-leaf teas.

Price: $$

Overall: A hideaway cafe that surprises the unsuspected.

Location: Taylors Rd, opposite tourist information office, Burnt Pine Ph: +6723 24295

Reviewed in December, 2016

Hilli Restaurant & Cafe

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The Cyclorama, part of the Hilli Restaurant complex is a wrought. Overpriced and underwhelming, the painting along the curved walls that is the Cyclorama endeavours to tell the Pitcairn’s story and how they came to be on Norfolk Island. I heard one visitor exclaim that it is the best exhibition she’s ever seen. Perhaps this is the first time she has left her house? Back in the balmy Norfolk Island air, we sit under oversized umbrellas, enjoying the shady courtyard, while others sit inside or out on the timber deck. My scone, jam and cream arrive looking like an artistic masterpiece. Who said a flower here, a sprig of mint leaves there, a strategically placed sliced banana, and a sprinkle of icing sugar doesn’t make a pretty picture? You can’t fault the presentation; it warrants some time for ogling the food rather than eating it. But eat I do. The good-sized scone is slightly crispy and freshly baked. There’s oodles of thickly whipped cream and more than enough jam that is far superior than the average supermarket quality jam. Be sure to wander through the Queen Victoria Gardens and peruse the art in the adjoining gallery. For a more informative interpretation of Norfolk Island history, head down to Kingston, buy a four- museum pass, and explore.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A basic variety of Dilmah teabags served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Popular cafe with attractions to pull in the thin Norfolk Island crowds.

Location: Queen Elizabeth Ave, 2899 Ph: +6723 24270 hillirestaurant.com
Reviewed in December, 2016

Rumours Bar & Cafe

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It must be the extensive lawns and subtropical flora that makes me feel like I am in a British colonial outpost somewhere in the tropics. Not that I have been to one before, but Rumours Bar & Cafe could be that place. No surprises there as Norfolk Island was settled by the British just a few months after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove. It’s also in the middle of nowhere: 1,000km due east of Byron Bay and somewhere in between New Zealand and New Caledonia. Since it’s summer, the action at Rumours is outside under the shady verandah overlooking the garden. The interior design in the old house might be described as ‘no-nonsense’, which is probably due to the attraction of being outdoors in the balmy weather admiring the well-manicured lawns and garden. Order as many as the fresh scones as you like, as there is no set Devonshire Tea. I order one scone, which is fresh but robust i.e., not light and fluffy. Choose from boysenberry, raspberry or plum jam. The boysenberry is better than average, but still tastes like a commercial grade jam. The cream tastes as though it’s been squirted from a can and is light and doesn’t add substance to the overall taste of the scone.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A huge variety but predominantly of tea in tea bags, and a few loose-leaf varieties served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Enjoy the fresh air sitting out in the garden.

Location: Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine 2899 Ph: +6723 23777
facebook.com/RumoursNorfolkIsland/timeline

Reviewed in December, 2016

Holy Cow Cafe

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Set amidst lush valleys in Tasmania’s north-east, the Holy Cow Cafe in Pyengana is tucked away up a country road not far from the Pub in the Paddock. The farm cafe uses ridgy didge dairy cows as the main attraction to draw in crowds of city slickers keen on a taste of the country. The gorgeous views are soul cleansing in itself, and the dairy cows are amusing to watch as they come in for milking and a well-earned head and back scratch. To keep with the dairy theme, a milkshake can be ordered instead of a tea or coffee as part of the Devonshire Tea. Since it’s something different, I go with a chocolate milkshake. It’s certainly a novelty, but I’m still not swayed, I’ll definitely stick to tea with my scones. The scones are fresh and crispy, but their substantial size does not match the quantity of the condiments. Although there’s enough of the Pyengana whipped cream, the fruit-rich raspberry jam is on the thin side and barely covers a scone. Am I the only one who likes a thick cover of jam on a scone? I’m impressed with the unique creamy flavour of the cream and it’s thick enough as well. Wander about the shop and take home some Pyengana cheese or other cow themed souvenirs.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

 Tea: Choose from a handful of loose-leaf teas, coffee or a milkshake as part of the Devonshire Tea ensemble.

Price: $$

Overall: A quirky diversion to a working dairy farm.

Location: St Columba Falls Road, Pyengana TAS 7216 Ph: 03 6373 6157 pyenganadairy.com.au

Reviewed in December, 2016

Springfield Tea Room

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Somewhere along the Tasman Highway in the countryside on the Launceston side of Springfield, is the Springfield Tea Room. As I drive up the driveway, I don’t realise it at first, initially thinking that the ladies in the tea room are in costume, but this is the real deal, a true blue working Amish farm. My partner is instantly uncomfortable and I have to coax him out of the car. The tea room is too warm today as there’s no ventilation and a skylight adds to the warmth, which I suspect are the perfect conditions for chilly Tasmanian days. Luckily there are a few tables of people, creating a more welcoming atmosphere, as I feel awkward with the subdued Amish waitress sitting in the corner with her calculator. The room is set up for sewing classes with reams of fabric and sewing bits ‘n’ bobs lining the walls. There is also homemade stone ground bread, cakes, and jams and jellies for sale. This DT is probably the bargain of the century; a measly $5 buys two scones, a grand choice of homemade jams, thickly whipped cream and a range of loose-leaf teas that tops most cafes I’ve been to. The scones are served at room temperature and although not light and fluffy, tastes fresh enough. It’s a hard choice; the jams and jellies are all too good. I decide to try something different and go for the crab apple jelly, which is light and subtle. Open Monday to Saturday.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An extensive range of interesting loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $

Overall: An interesting experience.

Location: 1139 Ten Mile Track, Springfield TAS 7304 

Reviewed in December, 2016

The Painted Door Cafe

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There are literally hordes of people in Derby this Saturday, and most of them are riding mountain bikes. For Derby this is a godsend, as the former tin mining town once on the brink of extinction, is now thriving due to the new mountain bike park on the edge of town. The town is making the most of this renaissance with local businesses getting in on the act. The local council has even decorated Main Street with bicycle art sculptures (if that’s what it’s called)! At the Painted Door Art Cafe, the art gallery section sells bracelets made from old bicycle chains and pendant necklaces using the links. Whether it’s clever recycling or merely creative, mountain bike diehards may be coerced into buying. The adjoining cafe is large, bright and airy, and has a lovely grassy garden, which is today littered with bikes and weary riders basking in the sunshine. The Devonshire Tea is served with two light and fluffy scones, and is prettily presented with a dash of syrup and a sprinkle of icing sugar. The average raspberry jam and super light cream that tastes as it’s come from a can (dairy whip?), are a bit of a let down considering they’ve made an effort with the scones. Closed on Tuesdays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A selection of Twinings tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Forget the tin mining history; it’s all about the mountain bike park.

Location: 62 Main St, Derby TAS 7264 Ph: 03 6354 2407

Reviewed in December, 2016