142 Sailors Bay Rd, Northbridge, New South Wales
Just a day after making a special expedition to Newtown for Miss Lilly’s, I had an appointment for my first COVID vaccination in the suburb of Northbridge. Since it was at lunch time, I took the opportunity to stroll around the Northbridge shops after my 15-minute safety rest, and found the High Street Bakery.
This is a bog standard suburban high street bakery, with the usual array of freshly baked loaves, a selection of small cakes and tarts and other sweets, and a pie warmer counter full of pies and sausage rolls.
The sweets selection had vanilla slices, so I ordered the obligatory sausage roll and vanilla slice, although the pies looked decent as well.
I took my goodies and went outside in the cold winter sunshine to find a place to sit. With no obvious benches or bus stops anywhere, I walked half a block to where the residential area began and sat on a low brick wall outside someone’s property.
The sausage roll is smooth and shiny, deep golden brown with somewhat pale meat filling evident at ends. It’s a decent size but a bit flat in shape. The pastry produced grease spotting on the brown paper bag in which the sausage roll had been packed, so it’s clearly rich with some sort of shortening.
Tucking in, the pastry is not very flaky but rather serves merely as a workable wrapper for the filling. The meat is undistinguished, pork-like with nice visible chunks of onion and carrot, but the texture is a bit too smooth and minced. Maybe there’s a bit of breadcrumb filler in it, maybe not, hard to tell. The seasoning is decent, flavourful but generically salt and pepper savoury, with no herbal notes. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but all of the elements could definitely be better. It’s about as solidly average as you could ever hope for. A good flaky pastry could have elevated this a point.
Inspecting the vanilla slice, the top and bottom are of remarkably thin pastry sheets, with a solid block of creamy looking rich yellow custard in between, with the upper pastry topped by icing sugar. The block is very rectangular and precise, cut carefully from a larger slab without mangling the edges. The pastry is a promising mid brown colour and looks crisp.
Alas the pastry is not very crisp, giving way to a bite with a dull half hearted snap. The pastry is also far too thin, giving very little substance or texture variation to the thick custard. This is a shame because the custard tastes nice, sweet with a firm creamy consistency and a restrained but pleasant note of vanilla. The custard is batting well above average but is let down by its team mate pastry and together they aren’t winning any major prizes. I’m giving this a point above average on the strength of the custard alone, it tastes very nice, but it really needs some more pastry, and more solid pastry behind it.
Sausage roll: 5/10
Vanilla slice: 6/10