24 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, New South Wales
Snot Block & Roll is a review blog dedicated to the two true measures of worthiness of a good old Aussie bakery: the Sausage Roll and the Vanilla Slice.
First, let’s get one thing straight. The vanilla slice is as Aussie as a sweet treat gets. In some places, essentially the same thing goes by various different names, depending on level of poshness. From the top: mille-feuille, Napoleon, or custard slice. And at the slangiest Aussie end, they are also known affectionately as snot blocks. But they’re pretty much the same basic principle – layers of custard sandwiched between flaky pastry – and this blog will review anything on that spectrum.
Before getting dessert though, we examine the savoury end of the bakery spectrum, with the classic sausage roll. Yes, yes, meat pies… we know the argument. But pies aren’t as variable as sausage rolls. If you want a good bakery, they have to be able to make a good sausage roll – it’s so easy to do it wrong.
So, the ground rules of this blog: We go into a bakery and ask for: “A sausage roll and a vanilla slice, please.” We review whatever they give us. If they claim not to have a vanilla slice, but we see one on display labelled “Napoleon” or somesuch, we can point at that and say, “Well, one of those instead.”
First up we have the Crows Nest Bakery, a small bakery on the bustling Willoughby Road restaurant strip at Crows Nest in Sydney. It seems like a relic from the 1970s, nestled in between upmarket Thai restaurants, fashion outlets, and relaxation therapy boutiques. It would seem more at home amidst milk bars, charcoal chicken shops, and a pub. The bakery has been there as long as I can remember, outlasting an incursion from the Michel’s chain right across the road, and now putting up a good fight against a couple of newcomer fancy French patisseries. The bakery has a selection of hot pies, individual quiches, loaves of bread, and baked sweets including tarts, cakes, and slices.
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