5/450-476 Miller St, Cammeray, New South Wales
This is one of two stores for the small baking and catering company started by the eponymous Simmone. It’s a trendy upmarket cafe with plenty of mouth-watering goodies, including gourmet salads, savoury pastries, quiches, fancy sandwiches, cakes, tarts, slices, and so on. They also apparently do a dinner service with full cooked meals in the evenings.
But I’m here for the sausage roll and vanilla slice. I order them to eat in on one of the chunky rustic wooden tables that looks like you could butcher a side of beef on it. The sausage rolls (as well as the pies) are not kept hot – they are more designed for people to pick up on the way home and reheat at home. But they are happy to heat one up for eating in. While I wait for my order, I admire the country kitchen decorations, including a large set of bookshelves overflowing with well-thumbed recipe books, and vintage French vegetable and flower seed packets in cutesy frames hanging on the wall. It seems these are for sale.
My meal arrives, and the sausage roll comes plated with a small leafy green salad and a small bowl of tomato sauce. The roll has been heated up in a sandwich press, rather than a microwave, which is a good thing, because the pastry is crisp and not at all soggy as it would be if microwaved. It is very browned on top, but not burnt. I try the first few bites sans sauce, to gauge the flavours and textures of the unadulterated roll.
The pastry is crisp and flakes nicely. It is moist with what I presume to be lots of butter, evidence of being made by a dedicated patissier. The meat inside exposes a reddish hue when bitten through, which I think must be from some tomato blended through out. It has sizable chunks of onion and visible leaves of fresh rosemary which impart a herbaceous flavour. Other spices are there too, in moderation, and the result is pleasant, with a vague Italian feel to it. About halfway through, I turn my attention to the bowl of sauce. No squirt of Heinz sauce this – it is clearly hand made, chunky with fresh tomato pieces and seasoned with mustard seeds. It has a delightful garden freshness to it, and complements the roll well when I pour some on the remaining half.
Having dealt with the savoury half of the meal, I turn to the vanilla slice. It is a huge, giant slab, almost twice the size of an average vanilla slice. It has a very thick layer of very pale yellow, creamy looking custard, sandwiched between two slightly thick layers of pastry, all topped with a generous slab of soft looking passionfruit buttercream icing. it is too large to pick up easily, but biting into it is easy as the pastry is soft and yields readily like al dente pasta. It’s a bit too soft, actually, with no crisp flakiness to it at all. perhaps it’s been in the display for some time and has become a bit soggy. The custard is really smooth, with no lumps or inhomogeneity at all. Oddly, it has slight chalky feel in mouth when tasted alone. But in a mouthful with the pastry and icing, the whole blends together reasonably well, the passionfruit and vanilla flavours complementing one another. The icing looks too thick but doesn’t overwhelm the vanilla, and is nice and tangy to offset the sweetness. Overall, though, the pastry and custard are a bit disappointing, as this slice definitely looks better than it tastes, a triumph of appearance over flavour.