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The Hospital Shop

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If hospital food is always bad, this café is the Highland’s exception to the rule. Well – it’s not actually food from the hospital sold here, but you get where I’m going with this. Come nine o’clock, babies, bumpkins and business suits all gather together in hot pursuit of their morning fix from The Hospital Shop.

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I will turn a blind eye to the occasional slightly burnt coffee considering how cute the stripy canvas chairs and astro-turf look out the front. Plus the waitress’ tea towel made me laugh (‘To brie or not to brie, that is not a question..’). There is an eclectic mix of stuff and clutter here yet somehow it all works and you feel very much at home. Come to think of it, in a way you are at someone’s home as the café space itself is the front section of a residence. The staff are young and chatty and know the local coffee orders by heart. The music is fun and loud and the chairs don’t match and they’re wobbly. But this is all part of the charm that keeps everyone coming back for more.

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Plenty of options to be had here – gluten free, dairy free, sweet, savoury, pro-organic or on a quest for fair-trading. Everyone is welcome. This café serves as somewhat of a corner store, selling magazines, milk and maltesers as well as the standard café fare. Go for pumpkin loaf, take-home mulberry jam, or any tarts made with local homegrown fruits.

When: From 8am seven days
Where: 4 Mona Rd, Bowral

Your Vintage Occasion

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Let’s just all admit it together here – sugar and spice and all things nice are sometimes exactly what you feel like. In which case, afternoon tea at Your Vintage Occasion in Bowral would be a good idea. Cosy, petite and unashamedly girly, this little café is best known for its tea served in delicate china cups and shiny silver pots. Even the coffee blend is pretty (Botanica).

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To munch on, the menu lists an array of sugar-coated bite-sized treats as well as warming soups, pinwheel sandwiches and toasted damper with housemade preserves. Considering you have to wander through possibly the world’s cutest nursery and an antiques warehouse to get here, it seems only fitting to make an occasion out of it and leave yourself an hour or two to spend at this end of town. Pick a cold and rainy afternoon to escape inside this little nook and go for the lavender scones with lemon curd and cream to accompany your tea.

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When: 10am-4pm Wednesday to Sunday
Where: Inside Dirty Janes Emporium, 391-397 Bong Bong St, Bowral.