9 Oaks Avenue, Dee Why, New South Wales
On a leisurely weekend drive to the beach suburb of Dee Why, we popped into Oaks Patisserie for an afternoon snack and cuppa. This is a small bakery on a somewhat dingy old retail strip just around the corner from the busy Pittwater Road, so the ambience is not great. Inside, however, is a mouth-watering array of cakes and pastries, which look colourful and artfully assembled. I ordered a sausage roll and vanilla slice and they were delivered by staff to one of the two outside tables for us to contemplate.
The sausage roll looks promising enough at first sight, with golden flaky pastry and ever so slightly burnt bits on the ends. However, on the first bite a different experience is revealed. The pastry is a little on the dry side, not greasy or buttery at all. The pastry case has pulled away from the meat filling, leaving a hollow space in between, but pastry is actually middling to okay.
The meat filling is spicy but very smooth in texture, obviously mixed with some breadcrumbs or other filler material. The flavour is almost tomatoey, with some anonymous herbiness. There are a few fitful chunks of onion but not much else evident to give the meat some character. It too is slightly on the dry side rather than moist and juicy. It was late on the day and it was the last roll left in the warmer, so could well have been a bad example. Still, it’s really not terrible, and qualifies as fairly average.
Moving onto the vanilla slice, it looks about as good as the sausage roll did at first – which given how disappointing the roll was may be a bad sign. The pastry layers are darkish brown, very sharp and crunchy looking. The custard layers are medium yellow and have some visual texture, being both slightly lumpy and slightly gelatinous looking. The cracked upper pastry layer is topped with a thick dusting of plain white icing sugar.
Picking it up is a difficult task. The custard is very oozy and messy on biting, and is squeezed out by the firm and crispy pastry. Custard goes absolutely everywhere as I eat, desperately licking bits here and there to stop a full-scale custard avalanche. It has a good hit of vanilla but also some egginess. Overall it’s very nice, but may well be the messiest slice ever reviewed. I have to finish by licking large blobs of custard off all four fingers and thumb, and cleaning up the plate with a cake fork.
Despite the mess, this was a good experience, with the soft custard being set off nicely by the crisp and delightfully flaky pastry, and good flavour throughout. Definitely one to try again.
Sausage roll: 5/10
Vanilla slice: 8/10