Unit 101/7 Hoyle Ave, Castle Hill. New South Wales
In another old unpublished review, I find myself in the north-western suburb of Castle Hill. I’d made a trek out here to visit a game shop to browse their selection of board games and see if I wanted to buy something. Alas, I discovered when I arrived that their shop is in fact more of an industrial estate showroom, and only open three days a week – not including the day that I’d chosen. Undaunted, I sought a local source of nourishment and decided to try Exquisite Cakes.
Exquisite Cakes has a premises in the Castle Hill Homemaker Centre, the sort of large place you find in industrial areas that has a bunch of furniture showrooms, carpet and floor tile places, hardware stores, and similar businesses that need huge floor space to show off their wares.
Continue reading Exquisite Cakes, Castle Hill
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.
Continue reading Pennant Hills Hot Bread, Pennant Hills
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.
Continue reading Andrew’s Patisserie, Pennant Hills
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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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
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.
Continue reading The Portuguese Bakery, Gymea