349 Darling St, Balmain
On a fine spring day Mrs Snot Block & Roll suggested we go on an expedition across the water to the Sydney suburb of Balmain. A convenient way to get there is to catch a ferry, so we made our way over the cool green waters of Sydney Harbour to the relevant wharf and walked up the steep hill to the main street, where an array of shops and food outlets awaited. Here, in search of sustenance we found San Antonio Sourdough.
Taking a look at the counter displays inside, the sweet treats looked extremely tempting, and they also had some pies and sausage rolls. I got a sausage roll and, because they had no vanilla slices, I opted for a pecan tart for afterwards.
Sustenance acquired, I retreated around the corner into the shady side street to consume, while Mrs SB&R browsed some nearby shops.
The sausage roll doesn’t look all that promising. It has enough length, but is an alarmingly thin tube of pastry, somewhat malformed into a tapering conical shape. Okay, it’s obviously handmade, but made with a bit less care than required to give it a nice symmetrical shape, and the bulk of a really satisfying handheld meal. The pastry is smooth and glossy – and a slightly unnatural yellow colour, like a hint of turmeric or something has been added. But it does show some cracking and flaking which may indicate a decent texture.
Taking a bite, the first sensation is pepper. Black pepper, lots of it. This is not a bad thing – I appreciate a good peppery seasoning, and at least it’s not the unforgivable sin of blandness. There’s enough saltiness to accentuate the pepper without being too salty. There may be some tiny tiny chunks of onion mixed into the minced meat, but nothing much else is visually evident, no other vegetables or herbs. The meat is just moist enough to avoid being labelled as dry. It has a slightly greyish colour, where more pink would be more visually appealing. But the texture and flavour are fine, nothing really to complain about here.
The let down is the pastry. Although it is crisp and flaky, it’s very dry. It sucks the moisture out of your mouth as you chew through a bite of pastry and filling, with a firm, almost biscuity texture. It actually makes the meat taste worse because it’s only just moist enough to start with. If the meat had been juicier this wouldn’t be so much of an issue. It’s hard to score this. The flavours are pretty good, and the pastry is certainly adding crunch and texture. I want to score it as high as a 7, but the dryness of the pastry pulls it back a notch.
Sausage roll: 6/10