You would be surprised to know that there is a huge difference between a mediocre Devonshire Tea and a great one, with so many factors to get right. The most important are of course the scones themselves; taste, texture and freshness matter. Then there is the quality of the jam, and for me, those little plastic portion controlled packets just won’t do. The best are those that are as close to the fruity homemade varieties as possible. How about the cream? The sweet gunk out of a ‘fly spray looking’ can is out of the question, and anything that doesn’t drip from a suspended spoon is highly preferable. The tea? Well, that is subjective and depends on whether you prefer traditional, green or herbal, but loose-leaf in a pot is always best. Lastly, for me, it’s the ambience of the establishment. I’ve had some amazing Devonshire Teas in soulless environments and some pathetic ones in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ style tea houses.
Considering all of these aspects, here are my ‘Top Picks’.
- Try The Gingerbread House Cafe & Store in Katoomba for sensational date and choc scones with a hint of ginger and cinnamon and housemade berry jam.
- Who doesn’t love to visit the majestic Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney’s CBD for a spot of shopping? Take refuge in the tranquil The Palace Tea Room.
- The Gold Coast is not all about sun, surf and theme parks. A drive up the Tallebudgera Valley to Teavine House will prove this.
- Elegant Dunbar House in Sydney’s Watsons Bay has killer views and the whole shebang gets top marks.
- The Tilted Teaspoon Cafe in Grafton on the north coast of NSW has a choice of delectable and interesting jams and when I visit, my scone is straight out of the oven.
- Megalong Valley Tea Rooms in the Blue Mountains has it all: fresh scones, rich and fruity jam, thick cream and a view to die for.
- The Tea Cosy in Sydney’s iconic, The Rocks, is a ‘must try’ for fresh scones baked several times during the day, and it’s the only place I have had a tea cosy on my pot of tea.
- Daydream Mine Tea Rooms in Silverton is an authentic scone experience in the NSW outback.
- Two Old Ladies Tea & Gift Shop in quiet unassuming Pomona in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is a rare find.
- Had enough wine tasting? Mudgee Brewing Company in downtown Mudgee does a lovely Devonshire Teas and plenty of beer for afterwards.
- Wild Rocket @ Mistys in Montville, the Sunshine Coast, has a variety of flavoured scones made to order and the setting in a historic building tops it off.
- Leura’s historic Solitary Kiosk set in bushland is relaxing and the quality Devonshire Tea won’t disappoint.
- Watson’s Creek Antique Cafe on the way to Victoria’s Yarra Valley has a surprising spread – love the dainty teacup and saucer.
- In Sydney’s plant nursery haven of Dural, the Geranium Cottage Nursery and Cafe’s delicate creamy scones had me bypassing the potted plants.
- For total immersion in all things lavender, Cape Lavender Tea House in the Margaret River Region in WA has mouthwatering lavender scones, lavender infused jams and even a lavender tea.
- Moorland Cottage claims to have the best scones on the mid-north NSW coast, and I think they might be right!
- For mouth-watering scones, rich raspberry jam and double thick cream that most-of-the-time is like clotted cream, look no further than Dandelion & Driftwood in Hendra, Brisbane.
- A diversion to the handsome town of Rutherglen in country Victoria is a must. Not just for the surrounding wineries, but for the perfect scones at Pickers Cafe & Collectables. The raspberry jam is rich and fruity, and the double thick cream is peppered with more vanilla bean than you can shake a stick at!