Review: Tomah Gardens, Blue Mountains

On our drive home from our recent trip to Mudgee and Orange, K and I stopped by the Tomah Gardens Cafe, situated within the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens. We’ve got a case of the three o’clock munchies, and I’m on the hunt for some piping hot scones!

tomahgardens-01We’re seated outside on the verandah, under a beautiful leafy canopy. We’re looking out straight over the Botanic Gardens, and into the untamed beautiful ranges of the Blue Mountains. It’s quiet and peaceful – the type of place where you could easily kick back with a cup of tea and watch the day pass.

Rodney's blueberry scones with honey butter, $13.50
Rodney’s blueberry scones with honey butter, $13.50

I order “Rodney’s blueberry scones” to satiate my craving for scones – though I find myself secretly disappointed that they don’t have plain scones on the menu. I was really looking forward to normal scones with jam! I find these blueberry scones a bit denser than regular scones, and the blueberry is very subtle as well. With just a dab of the honey butter, it becomes a nice afternoon snack, but not the simpler Devonshire Tea that I was looking for.

Chook liver pate, onion jam and toasts, $23
Chook liver pate, onion jam and toasts, $23

K is after something slightly more substantial, and orders the chook liver pate with onion jam and toasts. What comes out isn’t exactly what we expected – a giant ball of pate, a mere handful of hard mini-toasts and some caramelised red onions is put down in front of us. The toasts are hard and frankly unappetising, not to mention completely insufficient for the fist-sized ball of pate that’s on the plate. Even after spreading a thick layer of pate at least 5mm thick on each toast, we still find ourselves with half the pate left on the plate.

The pate was lovely – don’t get me wrong. However, the accompaniments were disappointing, and it would have been better served with a variety of crackers more edible than these toasts.

Fresh lemonade, $5 a glass
Fresh lemonade, $5 a glass

We both have glasses of the ‘fresh’ house-made lemonade and found it quite unremarkable. Despite the heat of the day, there’s no ice, and the lemonade almost seems as though it’s been sitting at room temperature for a while. It’s on the sour side as well, without quite enough sugar to make it entirely palatable.

Overall, we were quite disappointed with our impromptu stop at Tomah Gardens Cafe, and would rate it a 5 out of 10. The view is second to none – however the food is incredibly overpriced and quite frankly not worth the money. If you’re after the experience of being surrounded by nature, you’re better off bringing a picnic and finding a picnic location within the Botanic Gardens – perhaps picking up a freshly baked apple pie at nearby Bilpin along the way.

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