Shop 2/3 Hillcrest Rd, Pennant Hills, New South Wales
The next old entry that I have to clear otu from my review backlog is also located in Pennant Hills, just a minute’s walk from the previously reviewed Andrew’s Patisserie, although I visited this place several months later! Yes, also nestled in the old fashioned 1960s shopping centre here is the descriptively named Pennant Hills Hot Bread.
At least that’s all the sign says. A Google search indicates that the business is actually registered as Thai Son Hot Bread, but that name appears nowhere on the premises signage. Yes, as you can tell from the name, this is another in the endless supply of suburban Vietnamese bakeries that can be found all over Sydney. many of them are excellent, so let’s see what this one is like.
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7 Ramsay Rd, Pennant Hills, New South Wales
Continuing to clear the backlog of previously unposted reviews, today we return to an expedition to Pennant Hills to visit some friends. After spending a late morning visit, I was heading home and getting peckish around lunchtime. So I stopped at Pennant Hills Marketplace, and old fashioned and somewhat run-down shopping centre, with 1960s era buildings on two sides of an open car park. One of the shops here is the nondescript Andrew’s Patisserie.
I search for a vanilla slice, but alas they don’t seem to have any. Oh well, better settle for a sausage roll. They look all right in the warmer.
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207 Ben Boyd Rd, Neutral Bay, New South Wales
Continuing to clear out some old reviews that I neglected to post soon after sampling, we move on to Paddy’s Pies at Neutral Bay. This small, rustic establishment is just around the corner from the incredibly good Bourke Street Bakery (previously reviewed not once, but twice), and so I’ve always neglected it in favour of the more upmarket and hipster looking Bourke Street. But on a fine October day I decided to bite the bullet (hopefully not too literally) and sample the less visually inspiring place.
It’s a small shopfront, which is basically just a little take-away pie and coffee place, not a full-blown cafe of any sort. There are some stools against a counter on the front window and a single table outside, but this isn’t a particularly inspiring place to stop in and eat your wares. The shop has generally very good online reviews, so I suppose there’s something to it.
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Shop 7/19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay, New South Wales
I’ve been going back through old photos and notes, and found several reviews that I made quick notes on, but never found the time to post here. With COVID-19 lockdown in place, it seems like a good time to clear out the backlog!
Bourke Street Bakery is a good choice for sausage rolls, of several different varieties. Previously I’ve sampled no less than the pork and fennel sausage roll, the lamb, almond, and harissa sausage roll, and the chicken, pumpkin, and tarragon sausage roll. But on another occasion I visited the place and they had, believe it or not, a fourth type of sausage roll: Chicken and sweet corn. Naturally I had to try it to see how it compared to the others.
It’s thin and flat, as is typical for the Bourke Street Bakery style of rolls. Apart form that it looks decent, and as we know from past experience, these rolls punch well above their weight as judged by appearance. The pastry does look good, and there are thin crispy bits of burnt juices stuck to it, promising of a rich and moist filling.
Continue reading Bourke Street Bakery, Neutral Bay, extra
159 Ridgecrop Drive, Castle Hill
Following Scully’s successful Delta Dogs audition and my snack at Shepherd’s Artisan Bakehouse, we went a couple of hours later on a quest for lunch. Searching the Castle Hill area located a suburban bakery that we decided to check out, in a smaller local shopping centre than the massive Castle Towers across the other side of Castle Hill. This was Knights Bakehouse (which also eschewed any apostrophe, in the same way as Davids Cakes, reviewed recently).
Also similarly to Davids Cakes, they had two types of vanilla slice, a traditional yellow custardy one with passionfruit icing, and a “French” vanilla slice, with a more creamy style filling and an icing sugar topping.
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Shop 1204, Castle Towers Shopping Centre, Castle Hill
On a fine day last November, Mrs Snot Block & Roll and I had occasion to travel to Castle Hill Showground with our dog Scully. The occasion was an audition for Scully, to qualify to be accepted into training as a Delta Therapy Dog, to make authorised visits to hospitals to provide morale boosts to patients.
Scully had to pass a series of temperament, behaviour and, obedience tests, with the assistance of Mrs SB&R as her handler. Since the two of them would be occupied at the try-outs for an hour or so, I took a short trip over to Castle Towers, a giant shopping complex. Inside, I felt like a snack, and found Shepherd’s Artisan Bakehouse.
Being in a giant shopping centre, this wasn’t a nice homey street-front shop, but rather simply an island stall in the middle of the shopping promenade, with display counters on four sides and a couple of staff working in the middle. But they had not one, but two types of sausage rolls!
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28 Baker Crescent, Baulkham Hills, NSW
During this time of coronavirus restrictions, I was only able to travel a bit by virtue of having to return a borrowed item that was essential to the lender’s business. Having dropped off the item in Baulkham Hills, I checked out the nearest cake shop: David’s Cakes. Or perhaps Davids Cakes, with no apostrophe.
This is a typical suburban cake shop in a small cluster of corner shops amidst a residential area. Online reviews were not the greatest, but I’ll give anything a chance.
Walking in, they had coronavirus distancing spots stuck on the floor.
The place was interestingly decorated and had a bit of character with a collection of antique motoring items on shelves around the walls. A little more interesting than your average cake shop. And the products looked pretty good. Various tarts, flans, and quiches in the first display.
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18 Gymea Bay Road, Gymea
Mrs Snot Block & Roll suggested an excursion to the southern suburbs of Sydney on a cool spring Sunday to check out the Art & Design Market at the Hazelhurst Art Centre in Gymea.
After browsing around the stalls for a while, we decided to go to a nearby bakery we’d scoped out earlier, helpfully named “The Portuguese Bakery” so that you know exactly what sort of bakery it is. The idea of some lunch finished off with a fresh Portuguese tart was appealing. As we approached, we could see a few tables out on the footpath, perfect for us and Canine Snot Block & Roll, but they looked pretty busy – a good sign, but tricky if we wanted to sit. Fortunately, there was an empty table hidden in a corner and we settled in.
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2/119 Harbord Road, Freshwater
It’s the first day of spring! What better way to celebrate than by taking Canine Snot Block & Roll to a lovely dog park by the beach and following up with a trek to a new pie shop? My normal haunt on the northern beaches of Sydney is Fran and Sylvia’s Upper Crust at Collaroy, but today I searched Google Maps for something new not too far away. I spied Cherie’s Pies and Cakes, which is open until 14:30 on Sundays, so made for a perfect lunch stop after letting Canine Snot Block & Roll run around and chase tennis balls for a while. (That’s Canine Snot Block & Roll, front and centre in this photo:)
Cherie’s is on the moderately busy Harbord Road, and I was wondering where to find a parking spot as I approached, when lo! A small row of shops appeared, with 90° parking on the street right out front. There were a few spaces empty, so I grabbed one. The row consists of a generic take-away food and mixed grocery business, Cherie’s, a fruit shop, a butcher, a newsagent, a pharmacy, and a bottle shop nestled side by side in the one long building. There’s no seating inside Cherie’s, with just enough space for a counter and a drinks fridge, but there are four small tables on the footpath outside.
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85A Bay Road, Waverton, NSW
The Grumpy Baker is a small chain of artisan bakeries with a handful of locations scattered across Sydney. They specialise in a range of sourdough breads, but also have a small selection of sweets and savoury pastries. On recent expeditions in the car with my dog to our favourite dog park, we’ve driven past the Waverton shop each time, and for some time I thought I must try it. Then one day after the dog had had enough exercise we walked up the hill to check it out, buying a loaf of delicious bread and a couple of sweet slices for dessert that evening. I also noted a pie oven on the counter, with several delicious looking labels, but no pies as it was close to closing time. I vowed to return one day in good time to sample the hot savouries.
The Waverton shop is within a long walk of home, so one day while at home alone I took to the streets to get some exercise, climbing up and down the numerous hills of the North Sydney area. The exercise was well needed, because the end goal was The Grumpy Baker and an appointment with that pie oven for lunch. I planned to get a sausage roll and a pie, but when I arrived and saw the size of the pies and rolls, I quickly recalibrated and settled for just one sausage roll. The label said it was a “sausage roll with caramelised onions and dates”. And it looked huge. Plenty for a meal all by itself. I took the roll on the sky blue china plate and sought a seat at a table out the front, next to a large group of retiree-aged cyclists, who had stopped for a coffee break. As I sat down, one of the staff came out and chided the cyclists for rearranging the outdoor tables, pointing out a line on the footpath beyond which the cafe was not legally authorised to place furniture. The cyclists pushed the extra table in a bit, but the staff lady insisted they pull it completely inside the legal boundary.
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