Our stay in Berry just ended up being pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise. On the second day of exploring, we found what might be the cutest little store on the planet.
The Berry Tea Shop is a museum of adorable – just look at those teapots!! The place is like the Pinterest of a tea-party-obsessed little girl come to life. Pots, cups and saucers, mugs, tea towels, tea strainers, tea art, tea cosies, tea cakes, fresh flowers, antique furniture – all I could do for the 10 minutes after I walked in was say “Aww! Look at this!” and take photos of EVERYTHING.
I was so in love with the place I didn’t want to leave, but you can only stand around doing laps of a shop this small for so long before looking like a creeper who will probably steal something. We already had a big breakfast and weren’t hungry at all but I convinced Matt we needed to stay for scones and cake.
The cakes and cookies are all irresistibly on display under a gallery of framed tea-related prints. We chose a slice of the carrot cake and a jumbo plain scone with cream and jam.
I couldn’t leave without a souvenir so I ended up buying a bag of loose leaf mango-flavoured green tea.
We wandered around some more and found Pompadour’s Chocolate House.
A little chocolate boutique with shelves filled with ribbon-tied bags of handmade chocolate.
The chocolate is all broken into big shards and comes in romantic flavours like freeze-dried raspberry and mint.
It’s pretty expensive so I just bought one bag of dark chocolate with freeze-dried raspberry for my boss… but I conveniently forgot to give it to her and ended up eating it myself (it was delicious).
Our last stop was the famous Berry Sourdough Cafe.
We were warned that it could get really busy, but that’s probably only on weekends. Even then, I can’t imagine Berry ever being ‘busy’ – a crowd of people would look so out of place here.
We were here on a weekday so the bakery was quiet and almost empty.
The space inside is wide, white and barn-like, with a high roof of wooden panels and a red-brick floor.
It was late in the morning so the bread-racks were mostly depleted, but there was still a nice selection of simple tarts and teacakes in a long glass case.
Freshly baked goods cooling on the counter.
A small selection of gourmet foodstuffs.
The same aqua-blue retro espresso machine as Milkwood – looking slightly out of place in the rustic surroundings (note the blackened woodfire oven in the background).
The cafe’s breakfasts runs until 11:30am, which is perfect for lazy holidayers like us who still want to enjoy some eggs after a long sleep-in. The menu includes all the usual suspects, and while I’d usually go for the big plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and toast, I couldn’t look past the “boiled eggs and soldiers”.
As boring as boiled eggs might seem to most people – I actually adore them. Unlike poached or scrambled, boiled eggs require zero technique to cook perfectly – you just need to keep your eye on the clock and take them off the heat at the right time. Their ease is probably the reason why you never see boiled eggs on a restaurant menu – no one wants to pay cafe prices for something they could make at home, in 10 minutes, with their eyes closed. So I ordered “boiled eggs and soldiers” in faith, thinking that surely the kitchen would serve them up with a twist, elevating the dish from the breakfast I make myself 3-4 times a week.
Nope. Turns out “boiled eggs and soldiers” is not a euphemism for something more glamorous dish.
I thought they would at least half-peel the eggs! The idea of eating eggs in egg-cups seems super-fun but is actually super-awkward – especially when you’re peeling hot eggs that are very soft-boiled, trying hard not to get egg shell all over your toast. I didn’t pay $10 to do all the hard-work myself! But I was determined to actually dip my soldiers into the egg yolk like they do on TV.
Success!! Though I will never pay money for a dish like this again, who can deny the simple beauty of buttery soldiers of sourdough dipped in silky egg yolk seasoned with salt and pepper. Too bad it’s not socially acceptable to eat more than two eggs at once – I could have used a couple more to balance out the toast to egg ratio.
A half-eaten soft-boiled egg in an egg cup looks so damn sexy. This is the humble egg at it’s most photogenic.
Speaking of photogenic… you know what’s not? Three brown sausages on a plate.
No matter the angle I took, despite the luscious scrambled eggs, I couldn’t get Matt’s breakfast to look pretty. A great breakfast for a meat-lover though.
I wasn’t completely satisfied so I chose a little tea cake from the display. Lemon yoghurt. Matt and I aren’t that big on desserts but we both agreed that this was on of the most delicious cakes we’d ever tasted – just a little lemon tea cake but the texture was so incredibly moist – without being overly buttery, or pudding-like. I wish I had a recipe for this – though I doubt I’d be able to replicate its perfection. This thing should be famous. It is on par with Bourke Street’s brulee tart. Fellow foodies – I urge you – visit Berry, try the teacake, make it famous!
The Sourdough cafe is a beautiful place for breakfast – and in the rural setting, the rusticity is actually authentic – setting it apart from the dozens of faux-rustic hipster cafes you’ll find in metropolitan Sydney. The lunch menu looks great too – really earthy and wholesome with components like local field mushrooms and maple mustard cream.
If it were the only food attraction in Berry, it may not be worth the two hour drive from Sydney (though that’s debatable because the teacake alone is worth traveling for) but as I discovered, there’s plenty more to see and taste in this small country town. I’m so happy I got to spend some time there before moving to this Korean concrete jungle – it captures so many things that are beautiful and unique about Australia. These days, I can only dream of green hills and wood fired sourdough.
The Berry Tea Shop
Shop 1/ 66 Albert Street
Pompadour’s Chocolate House
113 Queen Street
Berry Sourdough Bakery
23 Prince Alfred St