The Manager's Tearooms and Restaurant, Bakers Hill
Bakers Hill is roughly an hour's drive north-east from Perth. You'll see the signs for The Manager's Tearooms and Restaurant on the way to the more famous Bakers Hill Pie Shop. We'd noticed the signs before on previous drives but on this particularly warm sunny day, the words "Homemade ice cream" enticed just enough to make us venture off the main road and down the neat dirt track to take a closer look.
The tearooms and restaurant have been established in a converted workshop, tack room and dairy, old but well-kept tin sheds on a heritage-listed property that dates back to the late 1880s.
It's an old-fashioned family-run business - they grow their own produce, including chicken and quail eggs, vegetables and fruit, make honey from their own beehives, bake their own bread, scones, tarts and cakes, make their own jams and pickles, and churn their own ice cream. We enjoyed a chat with dad Rupert, mum Annette and their son, while Audrey the lemon-picking dog promptly picked a lemon off the tree to show me her party trick.
The homemade ice cream flavours that day were vanilla, stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate flakes), butterscotch cream, mango and coconut. I chose stracciatella and Jac chose butterscotch cream and mango. All three flavours we tried were excellent, but the stracciatella with its crunchy chocolate flakes was the winner. If the Famous Five were on one of their cycling holidays, this is the kind of friendly country shop they'd stop at for ice creams and lemonade before unexpectedly stumbling upon and thwarting another smuggling operation (of course).
We chatted with father and son as they labeled their tubs of honey - we bought a tub to take home. They told us they're looking into setting up a microbrewery on the property, which would be an interesting addition to this stretch of road in the Avon Valley. The tearooms can seat up to 60 people, with plenty of shaded seating and parking. It's a welcome pit-stop for tour coaches.
"Gem" and "best kept secret" have become such clichés for describing restaurants, so I'll use neither in relation to The Manager's Tearooms and Restaurant. But it's about time Bakers Hill became known for more than its Pie Shop.
The Manager's Tearooms and Restaurant
9 Yates Street
Bakers Hill WA 6562
Telephone: (08) 9574 1387
Open Wednesday to Sunday 9.30am to 5pm
Also open Friday and Saturday evenings, and public holidays
We stopped at Bakers Hill recently, on the Queen's Birthday long weekend. There's more to come.