32 Main St, Lithgow
A few months ago, I took a winter weekend getaway driving trip with Mrs SB&R and Canine SB&R to the country town of Mudgee. Along the way, we stopped for a break and to stretch our legs at the intermediate town of Lithgow. Lithgow is a bit of a sleepy town and there wasn’t much open on this morning, but we located a cafe named Vanilla for a hot drink and a sweet treat. It also seemed to be operating as a florist.
Stepping inside is like stepping from a freezer into a nice warm living room with a roaring fire in the fireplace. It’s warm and cosy, and populated with a few locals enjoying a respite from the harsh weather of the former coal mining town. The cake selection in here looks pretty good. And they had vanilla slices!
Continue reading Vanilla, Lithgow
Shop 7/52-56 Gladesville Rd, Hunters Hill, New South Wales
On a grey and rainy Saturday Mrs Snot Block & Roll decided we could use a nice warming lunch at a bakery-cafe somewhere. I checked Google Maps to see if I could find somewhere promising and new within a short drive, and located Stoneground Bakery in a suburb acceptably far from home. Online reviews seemed positive, and the website offered various pies and other goodies.
So we drove over through the gentle drizzle and were fortunate to find a vacant table on the footpath outside, but under cover of the awning, where we could sit with Canine Snot Block & Roll while we inspected the wares and then ordered some lunch.
Continue reading Stoneground Bakery, Hunters Hill
150 Lyons Rd, Drummoyne, New South Wales
We’ve reviewed the Drummoyne Bakehouse twice before, once for the sausage roll and vanilla icing topped vanilla slice, and once for the vanilla slice topped with icing sugar. But on this cloudy, drizzly late autumn day, when I’d ventured here mostly for a comforting hot pie for lunch, I casually added “and a vanilla slice” to my order, remembering how good they were. The woman serving me asked if I wanted icing sugar, or passionfruit icing… and indeed the slices visible in the display had clearly visible passionfruit seeds. Well!
I took my pies and slice to nearby Drummoyne Park, where Canine Snot Block & Roll could run around on the grass while I indulged. The pies were great, but then I turned my attention to this unexpected boon.
As in previous reviews, the slice is a visual marvel, three layers of very crisp looking pastry, two of mid-yellow creamy custard. This one is topped with a thick layer of rich yellow icing, with a couple of black passionfruit seeds visible. there is some hand-made roughness around the edges, but the whole thing looks scrumptious.
Continue reading Drummoyne Bakehouse Cafe, Drummoyne, pt. 3
6-8 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove, New South Wales
While still under COVID-19 restrictions, Mrs Snot Block & Roll had a necessary appointment at her optometrist in a nearby suburb, so we had an excuse to make a small outing of it, picking up a coffee (for her) and a sweet treat for myself along the way. The normally bustling Lane Cove shopping village was a bit more sparsely populated than usual, with most of the shops and cafes open for business. One of them was Two Brothers Cafe Restaurant, which, while not open for seat-in dining due to the rules, was serving take-away drinks and snacks.
In the front window was a tray of vanilla slices!
Continue reading Two Brothers, Lane Cove
1-1a Brown St, Newtown, New South Wales
After my first review of The Pie Tin, I try to get back there as often as I’m in the area (which is not all that often). Their range of pies is ever-changing, and it turns out they also rotate their sausage rolls!
One day (a while back, as I’m still clearing out old tasting notes that I neglected to write up fully at the time), I wandered in and found in the warmer: Caramelised apple and pork roll with fennel and cayenne pepper!
Oh my! Taking one to a table on its individual aluminium plate, I inspect the goods.
Continue reading The Pie Tin, Newtown, revisited
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
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.
Continue reading The Portuguese Bakery, Gymea
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.
Continue reading The Grumpy Baker, Waverton
Last year Mrs Snot Block & Roll and I took a trip to Tanzania, and spent a lovely week and a half on safari, photographing wildlife. At the end of the trip, we spent a few days in Zanzibar, where we enjoyed the exotic melange of cultures, including the spicy flavours and the excellent seafood. On the way home, we spent some time waiting for our flight in Zanzibar International Airport. While killing time, I wandered around the tiny terminal building and spotted a small cafe.
On closer inspection, the display of hot food had plates of beef and chicken samosas, triangular chicken pies, and… sausage rolls! Beef sausage rolls, to be precise, from the signage, which is probably going out of its way to assure any prospective buyers that it is halal and contains no pork.
Continue reading Zanzibar International Airport cafe, Zanzibar
Rua das Padarias 8, 2710-623, Sintra
Business meetings done, it was time to get on to the vacation part of my trip to Portugal. Rather than spend all the time in Lisbon, Mrs Snot Block & Roll and I took a 40 minute train ride out to the village of Sintra, just outside the sprawling suburbs of Lisbon. Sintra lies nestled in a range of hills where the old royal families of Portugal built their castles and palaces, so it’s both a natural scenery wonderland and a cultural and historical site worth visiting. The village has several steep pedestrian paths, often with steps required to climb up or down the hillside. At the top of one such street we found a cozy cafe to stop for lunch: Pasteleria Vila Velha.
We chose quiches for lunch, and for a sweet treat afterwards I got one of the mil folhas (Portuguese for mille feuille; i.e. a vanilla slice) sitting in the display.
Continue reading Pasteleria Vila Velha, Sintra