3/201 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, New South Wales
This place is tucked into a dark corner of the rather sterile courtyard immediately in front of St Leonards railway station. The courtyard contains a bunch of fast food joints and a cafe or two, surrounding a large pool of water which ripples in the gale-like winds that seem to whistle constantly through the ill-designed pedestrian access points. The premises started life as a franchise of the ill-fated Shakespeare’s Pies, a chain which seems to have splintered into various one-off pie shops with names like Halmet’s, Othello’s, and this one, Romeo’s. (Spot the theme…) Anyway, they concentrate primarily on pies, but also do a small selection of sweet baked goods like friands and cookies. And of course they do sausage rolls. So there may not be a vanilla slice, but I may as well review the sausage roll.
Externally, the roll looks perfectly good, with a golden brown pastry crust and ends of lightly crisped ends of meat showing. It has a little bit of a manufactured feel rather than hand made appearance. It’s served nice and hot and the first bite reveals a passable crust, perhaps a little less flaky then perfect, but certainly not terrible.
Lurking within is a well-spiced sausage of meat, with a peppery biteyness. The meat is very soft, and feels texturally like it must have some breadcrumbs or other cereal mixed in, but the flavour is intense and positive. There are small pieces of onion mixed into it, which is nice to see. Without the pastry shell the meat would be too soft to hold itself together, but in the pastry it makes a reasonable combination of textures.
Overall, on the positive side, though the pastry is fairly average. The meat elevates it flavour-wise, though the texture is just a little too soft. It’s not great, but certainly decent, and I actually grab a sausage roll here whenever I’m walking past and happen to feel a bit peckish. (The pies here at Romeo’s, however, are mostly pretty good. Especially the satay beef and the vegetarian corn and cheese pie.)
Sausage roll: 7/10
Vanilla slice: N/A