112 Longueville Rd, Lane Cove, New South Wales
Pottery Green is a cosy and dark nook with rustic farmhouse wooden beams and walls, nestled in the otherwise somewhat run-down main strip of Lane Cove. The interior is cosy and warm in the winter chill, but there are also tables out on the footpath for brave souls or those who want to catch some sun. Amidst a tempting selection of cakes and pastries, they have a hot savoury selection boasting two types of sausage rolls: “plain beef” and “pork and veal”, for $4 and $5 respectively. For my first taste I plump for the pork and veal, and accompany it with the traditional vanilla slice.
Braving the chill winter air on an outside table, the goodies arrive on two china plates. The pork and veal sausage roll looks great, with a rich golden brown pastry casing, bursting at the ends with generously stuffed, caramelised meaty filling. On a first bite, the meat filling is deliciously moist, with meat juices seeping through the lower pastry layer. The meat seems to have shrunk a bit during baking as it has come free of the pastry tube and slides around freely inside, which makes things a little tricky on the structural integrity front.
Continue reading Pottery Green Bakers, Lane Cove
1 Market Place, Berrima, New South Wales
Berrima is a lovely old town, bypassed by the busy Hume Highway some years ago, allowing it to fall back into a dreamy country town state. But it is within day tripping distance of Sydney, so the rustic village has been taken over by antique shops, handicrafts, art galleries, and gourmet food outlets, run by the friendly locals.
On the fine day when we visited the town, there was a vintage car club holding some sort of gathering, so the streets were lined with old cars – some really very old indeed – and all kept in good nick. After wandering the main street for a bit, and getting some lunch in Stone’s Patisserie (also reviewed), we stumbled across Two Skinny Cooks.
This advertises itself as a “larder door”, and mostly does a trade in prepared meals to take home and reheat, and meal ingredients such as sauces and pre-marinaded meats to be cooked at home, plus various jams, chutneys, mustards, and so on. The titular two skinny cooks prepare it in a kitchen out the bac and package the goodies for people to take with them. But besides this, they also make pies and sausage rolls – both for carrying home frozen, but also a selection hot for immediate consumption.
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Grand Arcade, 7 Bong Bong St, Bowral, New South Wales
On a leisurely weekend drive through New South Wales’ Southern Highlands region, we stopped for lunch in Bowral, the town where Don Bradman grew up, and famous for the Bradman Oval and Bradman Museum. But in recent years, Bowral has become notable for a different, and culinarily oriented reason.
It is the home of the Gumnut Patisserie, established in 1995, and quick to win an impressive list of honours. It won the Baking Association of Australia award for best patisserie in New South Wales in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, and 2013. And as the comma at the end of the list on their window shows, they seem determined to win it again in the future. Not only this, but in 2015 they won the grand prize at the Sydney Royal Easter Agricultural Show for Best Vanilla Slice. Clearly this is a place we cannot ignore.
Continue reading Gumnut Patisserie, Bowral
Borough Market, Southwark, London, United Kingdom
While searching for a small sweet treat to round off a lunch of two sausage rolls, plus a beef and stilton pie which I found at another stall in London’s Borough Market, I happened across the stall belonging to Ginger Pig. This was a butcher, selling all manner of cuts of pork and pork products such as sausages, black puddings, and pork pies. But besides this meat designed to take home and cook or eat later, they also had sitting on the counter a tray containing a glowing golden treasure: four large, plump, delicious looking sausage rolls.
Drawn inevitably to this promise of culinary wonder, I saw that they had a warming oven behind the counter, and several enormous sausage rolls therein. A sign proclaimed that they came in two varieties: pork, and pork and stilton! Unfortunately, I was almost full already, and was thrown into a horrible quandary: to sample one of these delectable looking rolls, or to skip them and seek a thin slice of cake or tart. Because these rolls were not merely plump, they were truly fat. Big and chunky. Compared to the previous rolls from Northfield Farm and Boston Sausage, which cost £1.50 and £1 respectively, these cost £4 each – but they looked worth it, they were so big.
Continue reading The Ginger Pig, Southwark, London
Borough Market, Southwark, London, United Kingdom
After the slightly disappointing sausage roll from Northfield Farm’s stall in London’s Borough Market, I continued wandering around, looking for more interesting things to sample. In a far corner of the market, right next to Southwark Cathedral, is a row of hot food stalls, preparing lunch treats for passersby. Amongst the grilled cheese sandwiches, kebabs, and enormous dishes of paella, was a place named Boston Sausage. They did a line in sausages on bread rolls, and burgers. But also on the menu, under the heading “Appetisers”, was the golden item: sausage rolls. And only £1 each, so I assumed they must be fairly small.
I went over and asked for one, but the guy told me that they were just putting a batch into the oven, and they’d take about 15 minutes. I said I’d return and went for a bit more of a wander through the bustling market. After about 15 minutes I returned, to the loud spruiking voice of one of the staff proclaiming, “Hot sausage rolls! Come and get ’em! Best sausage rolls in the universe! Better than my mum makes!” There was a metal tray piled with the rolls hot out of the oven, and they were going quickly as people were attracted to the yelling and the delicious smells of the stall.
Continue reading Boston Sausage, Southwark, London
126 Pacific Highway, Roseville, New South Wales
One of my favourite places for a nice dinner out is El Karim, a long-established, slightly fancy Lebanese restaurant on the highway in Roseville. I’d planned a dinner out with Mrs Snot Block & Roll and booked a table for two, little suspecting the surprise that was to come. The menu had been redone since our last visit, and now listed amongst the various small mezze plates – such as falafels, fried haloumi, lamb kofta, and the delicious honey and zaatar calamari – was “El Karim sausage rolls”. You know what had to be done.
The dish cost $16, and appeared at the end of the meal, as the custom here is to bring dishes out separated in time so everyone can share a few things at a time. The plate contained four rolls, which would do a good job of sharing between four people if you’d ordered a bunch of other things to sample the menu. Each one was maybe half the size of a regular bog-standard sausage roll.
Continue reading El Karim, Roseville
Shop 7/19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay, New South Wales
Bourke Street Bakery has become a bit of a Sydney institution, as their website will tell you itself – though there is some truth to it. They opened their first bakery in 2004, and have since expanded to a several shops across a bunch of inner city suburbs. They regularly attract rave reviews in the media, and have built a reputation as one of the best bakeries in the city. This is built on a foundation of hand crafted artisan bread, and extended with a range of cakes and sweet pastries, plus a mouth-watering array of savoury pastries.
Amongst the latter, they boast a menu of gourmet meat pies, and not one, not two, but three different flavours of sausage roll. In fact, if you search online for “best sausage rolls in Sydney”, Bourke Street Bakery comes up first in many lists. Alas, they don’t do a vanilla slice among their extensive selection of pastries, but ah well, let’s try the sausage rolls anyway. I place my order amidst the horde of hipsters and young mothers with toddlers in tow getting take-away coffees and croissants. My rolls appear on oblong white china plates, one plate per roll. I take them to the outdoor seating in the pedestrian plaza outside and shoo away inquisitively hungry pigeons as I examine the haul.
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35 Union Street, Pyrmont, New South Wales
I found this place on a day walk around Sydney Harbour, following the Seven Bridges route. With “Pies & Pastries” in the name, this had to be a good place for finding material for this blog. Unfortunately, on the day when I first spotted it, I had just had lunch a few minutes earlier, at a place a block away, so I had to make an excursion to return on another day and sample the wares.
I assumed they would have a vanilla slice as one of the advertised pastries, but upon entering the establishment I discovered that they had more varieties of pies and sausage rolls than sweet baked goods, and that the pastries didn’t include a vanilla slice. I asked if they made them and perhaps rotated their selection from day to day, but the lady behind the counter said they only made the ones currently on display. Nevertheless, I’d made the trip specially, and they certainly had sausage rolls. Not just one, but two different varieties: beef, and lamb and rosemary.
Continue reading Dinky-Di Pies & Pastries, Pyrmont
1003 Pittwater Road, Collaroy, New South Wales
This place is a local institution. It’s been nestled in the same spot in a conspicuous green and yellow building on the side of Pittwater Road, amidst a row of residential houses, for as long as I can remember. On weekends people pull up to park out the front in a continual stream, dash inside to grab a bag of hot pies, and then leave to let the next car grab a spot. Some people linger and eat on the sparse pair of aluminium tables out the front, or sitting on the wooden benches in front of an adjacent house. In the couple of hours around lunch time, there is usually a queue stretching out the door.
The somewhat run down building is decorated with numerous stickers and plaques indicating the numerous pie competitions that the eponymous Sylvia and Fran have won with their recipes. They have a selection of 30-40 different pies, with fillings ranging from the traditional plain minced beef, through chunky steak, to middle of the road combinations such as steak and potato, steak and mushroom, and steak and kidney. Then they stretch into more exotic flavours such as Mexican beef; lamb and rosemary; satay chicken; Thai chicken curry; beef stroganoff; and their multi-award winning chicken, avocado, and brie pie. There are sausage rolls too, in regular and cheese and bacon varieties. Vegetarians are definitely not left wanting either, with a selection including roast vegetable; Thai vegetable curry; Mexican vegetarian; spinach and feta; and potato, pumpkin, and sour cream pies – which are delicious enough to tempt even carnivores.
Continue reading Sylvia & Fran’s The Upper Crust, Collaroy
16 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, New South Wales
This is one of those wonderful places you get in Australia – the French bakery run by Vietnamese staff. The Vietnamese learnt the art of baking during the French occupation of French Indochina from 1887 to 1954, with the result that today many of the best baguettes and pastries in Australia are produced by Vietnamese immigrants. Indeed, the bread and cakes here are superb. But as we all know, the true measure of an Aussie bakery rests on those two standards of the true blue diet: the sausage roll and the vanilla slice.
I approached La Baguette with every intention of purchasing a sausage roll and a vanilla slice – although in my mind I remembered this is one of those establishments that refers to their vanilla slices as “Napoleons”. I was however thwarted by the fact that they didn’t have anything resembling a vanilla slice or labelled as either that or “Napoleon” in the counter display. And when I asked them, they said that they didn’t make them! Undaunted, I procured a sausage roll, advertised on the menu as a “pork and veal sausage roll”.
Continue reading La Baguette, Crows Nest