Shop 2/296-298 Willoughby Rd, Naremburn
One of the earliest reviews I did on this blog was Delicia in Naremburn. As it’s within a (solid) walking distance from home, it was a bakery that I visited fairly frequently. Unfortunately, when I went there one time a year or two ago, I discovered that it had closed down. This left a fairly big hole in the local area, since the closure of St Malo a bit earlier wiped out the best bakery in the region.
The vacated Delicia premises remained empty for many months, until recently I took a walk that led me past… and I saw that it was now occupied. And by a new bakery!
The fitout has changed, with the coffee machine on the left, and a single straight counter instead of the L-shaped one that Delicia had. They have a nicer looking selection of pies (although Delicia’s sausage rolls were good, their pies were average):
But wait! That selection of pies looks suspiciously similar to the offerings at the Grumpy Baker, a few suburbs away… (walking distance from my place but in the other direction) And… they also have Nutella babka, which is a thing I’ve only ever seen at the Grumpy Baker before. I’d thought it was unique to that bakery. Just what in blazes is going on here?
It turns out that the owners of Cornucopia in fact also run what used to be a franchise of the Grumpy Baker at Castle Cove! They’ve expanded to Naremburn and changed the name of both their bakeries to Cornucopia. So that explains the menu… they must have taken some of Grumpy Baker’s recipes with them. But besides replicating some of that bakery’s hits, they have a selection of other stuff that Grumpy Baker definitely doesn’t do… including cannolis, custard tarts, lamingtons, and… vanilla slices!
Well, you know what I had to do.
If the sausage roll is the same recipe as Grumpy Baker, it’s going to be marvellous. It looks very similar, with the same generous proportions and lots of glisteningly browned juicy meat visible on the ends. But unfortunately it’s not quite up to the same standard. The meat is beefy and well cooked, with small onion chunks and something sweet like raisins, which add a nice touch. It’s fine, but it feels slightly dry and would benefit from more juicy fat content. The pastry is also not as good, being almost more shortcrust style than flaky.
The flavour is very good, with a nice juxtaposition of the sweetness of the raisins with the peppery seasoning of the beef. It’s actually really good – it just ends up suffering a little in comparison to the very similar offering from Grumpy Baker, which is superior in its luscious juiciness.
Moving onto dessert, the vanilla slice looks potentially promising but with some caveats. It is long and thin, with three nice looking biscuity layers of pastry with mid yellow custard between, topped with icing sugar. It looks a little bit old and air-dried around the edges, perhaps betraying a little too long sitting in the display counter.
The pastry has a hint of crispness left in it but is clearly past its best. The custard is nicely textured but rather bland, low sweetness and no real vanilla flavour coming through. If the pastry was fresh and crisp this would easily rate a point higher, and there’s another easy point to be gained with some real vanilla punch, but I just can’t justify it with this example.
Sausage roll: 8/10
Vanilla slice: 5/10