125 Adelaide St, Blayney NSW
Blayney is a small town on the way from Bathurst to Cowra. We had occasion to stop on the way through for lunch, so naturally I sought out a likely looking bakery for a bit of blogging research. We spotted Ryan’s Bakery & Coffee Lounge, and grabbed a table outside despite the 11°C temperature, since we had a newly acquired puppy in tow and couldn’t take advantage of the warm seats indoors.
The place had a rustic, country style menu, with a selection of pies the most exotic of which was “bolognese” and a special “sweet chilli chicken”. The woman behind the counter hovered near me as I eyed the selection of cakes and pastries, even following me along the counter as I did my survey to the far end, where I spied what looked like a couple of trays of vanilla slices… except with hot pink icing! I asked the woman if they were vanilla slices, and she said yes. So I considered my order.
Mrs Snot Block & Roll doesn’t eat meat, and I didn’t see anything on the menu for her, until I spotted the small handwritten sign over the pie warmer advertising a “spinach and cheese pastry”. So she got one of those and some coffee. Being hungry, I plumped for the sweet chilli chicken pie, plus a sausage roll and vanilla slice. They come presented on small white paper plates, which I carry out on a plastic tray to consume in the frigid outdoors.
The sweet chilli chicken pie was … interesting. It was the sort of slightly sweet and spicy béchamel sauce that brought back memories of “chilli prawn” dishes from the sort of Chinese take-away that existed back in the 1970s. It wasn’t bad, it was just so old fashioned.
Moving on to the main event, the sausage roll has golden brown pastry with a hint of yellow that almost reminds me of chicken salt. The pastry has small indentations from being pricked with a fork all over, which is slightly unusual. It looks like a decent type of puff pastry, with flaky layers evident. The meaty ends of the filling look a bit burnt, being very dark in colour, although closer inspection shows it to be more an unusually dark colour of the meat itself than over browning. The size is about average, which makes it a bit of a bargain for the price of just $2.50. Good luck finding any sausage roll for that much in Sydney. (Apart from petrol station ones, and let’s not even consider going there.)
Picking it up for a first bite, the pastry is nice and crisp and flaky – really very good. The meat within is well seasoned with small onion pieces and a strong bite of black pepper. The texture is acceptable, being that of finely minced meat without that grainyiness that betrays breadcrumbs or other filler. It’s a deep, rich brown colour, which looks a little strange compared to the usual more pinky colour. But it tastes pretty good. Overall, this is not a top shelf sausage roll by any means, but it’s certainly a fine example from a country bakery.
Turning to dessert, the vanilla slice presents bright bubble gum pink icing, giving it a striking and unusual look. Unfortunately, this is the best thing I can say about the appearance. There are just two layers of pastry, at top and bottom, each with many visible flaky layers, which promise to be good if not soggy – however I’m not at all confident of that from the appearance. The custard doesn’t look promising at all. It’s fluorescent yellow, with precision-machined straight edges of gelatinous looking rubber.
On biting, wow, it’s possibly even worse than it looks. The icing is medium firm and a bit sticky, and clings slightly to the fingers on the top surface. The custard is gelatinous and rubbery and has absolutely no flavour at all. It oozes out slightly, but maintains its rectangular shape as it does do, utterly failing to be anything approaching creamy or delicious. The pastry is soggy and limp. The only flavour comes from the icing, which is incredibly sugar-sweet and turns out to be that artificial tasting strawberry – an exceptionally odd choice for something that is supposed to be predominantly vanilla. It just doesn’t go together, unlike the more traditional tang of passionfruit. So there is no vanilla evident whatsoever. Well, the best thing I can say is that it’s not actually repulsive and I can finish it without gagging, but it’s definitely on the gross side.
Sausage roll: 7/10
Vanilla slice: 2/10