30 Station St, Mount Victoria, New South Wales
A leisurely Sunday drive up into the Blue Mountains west of Sydney for a day out provided the opportunity to sample bakery products from a bit further afield. We stopped for morning tea at Leura, having a Devonshire tea of scones hot from the oven (they had literally taken them out just minutes before serving them to us), with home made strawberry jam and double cream. The scones were chocolate chip and cranberry, which made things even more decadent. After spending some time in Katoomba, we found ourselves in Mount Victoria when lunch hunger hit. So we parked in this small mountain town and walked to the Piccolo Deli, which also serves as a cafe.
In the display counter were various pastries, both savoury and sweet. They had two types of sausage rolls: beef and onion, and pork and fennel, as well as a vegetable roll for the meat-free. A few rolls were hot in a pie warmer, but the friendly woman behind the counter said they could heat up anything for eating. Naturally, I ordered one of each of the sausage rolls, while Mrs SB&R chose the vege roll.
I began with the beef and onion roll, which was both cheaper (at $4.90 compared to $5.50) and physically smaller than the pork and fennel roll. It was slightly undersized compared to an average sausage roll, and being next to the more generous pork roll here just accentuated that lack of heft. The pastry is glazed and very shiny with an egg wash, presenting a slick, smooth surface interrupted by only a very few thin cracks that hint at underlying flakiness lurking beneath. To be honest, it doesn’t look especially promising.
Picking it up, the first thing I notice is that it’s served piping hot, which is always better than too cool. On a first bite, the pastry cracks its shiny surface and reveals a construction which is borderline between nicely flaky and somewhat soggy. It’s not really bad, but could be better. The beef is nicely spiced and very flavourful without being overwhelmingly herby. It’s peppery and savoury, with a good amount of moisture.
Despite the promise of “beef and onion”, it’s difficult to find any evidence of onion chunks in there, and there’s certainly no other vegetable matter mixed in. For the most part it’s not at all bad, rising to distinctly above average in flavour and satisfaction value. It’s a shame that it’s brought back down a little by one slightly unpleasant gristly bit in the meat towards the end.
Moving on to the pork and fennel sausage roll, this looks distinctly more promising to the eye. The pastry has more of an obvious flake to the surface, the roll is plumper and more generous, and it has an intriguing sprinkle of fennel seeds baked into the top. The meat oozes out the ends further than the beef roll, and it has a lovely charred meat finish.
One bite reveals this to be a more complex, rounded, and pleasant experience than the beef roll. The pastry is less soggy and flakes delightfully into pieces that snowdrift around the plate. The pork meat is juicier than the beef, and has a good kick of fennel flavour, with soft seeds mixed through the meat. There are also large onion chunks and chopped fresh green herbs visible. It’s hard to believe that this, with such care evident in the construction, was made by the same chef as the beef roll. All around it’s a significantly better choice than the beef roll, and a delight to finish.
Beef and onion sausage roll: 6/10
Pork and fennel sausage roll: 8/10