I am a freelance journalist and an author living in Sydney. Writing is a passion and I enjoy everyday indulging in the talent that I am gifted with. You can find me on au.linkedin.com/pub/sharmila-jayasinghe-niriella/21/182/467/
The Old Magpie Café in Berrima is one spot I never fail to visit on my trips to the Southern Highlands. The café, very quaint and pretty, is capable of wowing and wooing most anyone. My fascination with Magpie has always been about sweet eats; cakes, scones, tarts and all. I walk into the cafe always to scan the range of sweet stuff so prominently on display. On each and every visit, my eyes have caught something tantalizing and I have never walked out without savouring it.
Yes, the food in the café undoubtedly is quite pricy, my regular pot of English breakfast tea priced at $5.45. It sure is a ridiculous sum of money to pay for a cuppa one would say, but the fact that the café is almost always filled to the brim is testimony that the patrons do not mind spending a bit more for that upmarket feeling that they experience sitting and sipping coffee or having a meal at Magpie. The ambiance created in the café provides just that. With all brick a brack piled up to give the place a rustic, homely somewhat European kind of feeling. What I most love about this place is their crisp white linen and the white ceramic that they serve their food in. Somehow the whites always make me feel that I am in a good place.
Despite not being too much of a fan of raspberry, my friends convinced me to try the café's famous Rhubarb and raspberry pie ($12.95) on my most recent visit to the café. The pie alone was enough to convert me into a raspberry lover. The trick to eating the pie, I learnt ,is to break that mouthwatering crust into the bowl and mix it in with the rhubarb and raspberry goodness inside the pot. A spoon full of this, mixed with some of that creamy vanilla ice cream that comes with the pie is an absolute delight.
Though on most of my visits I have gone for a sweet or two, I did try some of their meals on few occasions. A word of warning for those who come for a small bite to eat, the plates and portions at the café are quite large. I ordered the ploughmen's plate for my lunch once and was only able to consume half of the plate. Most of the meals come with a large portion of salad, so it's advised that you take the staff's advice and decide depending on your appetite. You will not have an issue with choice as they do have quite a range to choose from.
Staff here are understandably very busy but there are a few of them who wouldn't mind chatting to the patrons while taking the orders. One such friendly staff member was kind enough to take some time off running around the place and click some photos of me and my group. To our amusement , the elderly lady did this sneakily so as to not get noticed by her supervisor.
All in all Magpie experience for me has always been a good and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place but my recommendation comes with warnings; Firstly be warned that The old Magpie Café is a popular spot which is packed most of the day from main meals to snack times, so if you can't find a seat inside don't be disheartened if you are offered a seat outside. Secondly I should warn of the somewhat exuberant prices. Food is good, the variety plenty, but if you are not willing to spend that extra bit Magpie will leave you unhappy for sure. Thirdly Magpie is not a place to go if you are in a hurry. The food comes fast once you have placed your order, but the staff takes their time to come to you with the menu and then subsequently to take your order. This I believe is because almost all the patrons at Magpie come to spend some relaxing time over a meal with a friend or family.