Category Archives: country

Heatherbrae’s Pies, Heatherbrae

Corner of Pacific Hwy and Masonite Rd, Heatherbrae NSW 2324
www.heatherbraespies.com.au

Note: This is a new review of a place visited in 2015 by my co-contributor.

I recently took a long overdue holiday trip – not overseas because of COVID, but rather a road trip up the coast north of Sydney. Driving north along the highway, there are various towns and rest stops along the way. One of them, about 170 km (or two hours driving) north of Sydney, is renowned for its pies and sausage rolls. Although I’ve passed this way a few times, I’ve never stopped here before: Heatherbrae’s Pies.

Heatherbrae's Pies

The place is right beside the highway, accessed by a roundabout intersection. It’s hard to miss, as there are multiple roadside billboards announcing its presence, starting from about 10 km away. We arrived in the middle of the lunch rush, about 12:30, and it was clear that this place is very popular. We had trouble finding a spot in the car park, and then there was a queue of about 25 people in front of us to order pies.

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Vanilla, Lithgow

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.

Vanilla cafe, Lithgow

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!

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Robertson Pie Shop, Robertson

4400 Illawarra Highway, Robertson, New South Wales
www.robertsonpieshop.com.au

I’ve driven past this place many times, but usually on the way home from a day trip to Bowral, after already filling up on country baked goodies (perhaps at the Gumnut Pattiserie), so I’ve rarely stopped here. It has a good reputation for its pies, and they offer both a wide selection of savoury varieties, as well as sweet ones.

Coledale shelf

So one fine day I took to the road with Mrs Snot Block & Roll and our dog Canine Snot Block & Roll for a leisurely road trip down the coast via the Grand Pacific Drive and the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge, which was built to replace the old coastal road along the bottom of the Illawarra Escarpment after it fell into the ocean. This is a much more scenic drive than the freeway on top of the escarpment, and affords many places to stop and enjoy the views.

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Hayden’s Pies, Ulladulla

2/166 Princes Hwy, Ulladulla, NSW
haydenspies.com.au

Away for a long weekend at Lake Conjola on New South Wales’ south coast, I checked out the top eating joints in the area. The number one ranked eatery in the nearest large town of Ulladulla was Hayden’s Pies. And before we left, a work colleague of my wife informed her that while we were down there, we had to try Hayden’s Pies. So naturally we did.

Hayden's Pies

The main strip of Ulladulla is situated running up and over a steep hill from sea level at Ulladulla Harbour. Hayden’s Pies is situated on the site of a large hardware store just over the crest of the hill from the centre of town, the the Princes Highway – or the Princes Pieway as indicated on the sign.

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Ryan’s Bakery & Coffee Lounge, Blayney

125 Adelaide St, Blayney NSW
www.facebook.com/Ryans-Bakery-Blayney-115751028489238/

Blayney is a small town on the way from Bathurst to Cowra. We had occasion to stop on the way through for lunch, so naturally I sought out a likely looking bakery for a bit of blogging research. We spotted Ryan’s Bakery & Coffee Lounge, and grabbed a table outside despite the 11°C temperature, since we had a newly acquired puppy in tow and couldn’t take advantage of the warm seats indoors.

Ryan's Bakery & Coffee Lounge

The place had a rustic, country style menu, with a selection of pies the most exotic of which was “bolognese” and a special “sweet chilli chicken”. The woman behind the counter hovered near me as I eyed the selection of cakes and pastries, even following me along the counter as I did my survey to the far end, where I spied what looked like a couple of trays of vanilla slices… except with hot pink icing! I asked the woman if they were vanilla slices, and she said yes. So I considered my order.

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Trappers Bakery, Goulburn

4 Sowerby St, Goulburn, New South Wales
trappersbakery.com.au

One fine autumn Saturday we took a driving trip to Goulburn, the first inland city established in Australia, proclaimed as such in 1863. Goulburn is mostly known as a former stop on the long drive between Sydney and Melbourne, and held the distinction of having the most patronised McDonalds outlet in Australia. But with the opening of the Hume Highway bypass in 1992, many travellers now avoid stopping in the city, and it has reverted to a more sleepy country nature.

The Big Merino

The biggest tourist attraction in Goulburn is The Big Merino, a giant concrete sculpture of a ram. Directly across the street from the Big Merino is Trappers Bakery, which was the first hit when I pulled out my phone and searched for “best bakery in goulburn”. So we pulled into the large car park for what is obviously a very popular place. Trappers Bakery is housed in a large rural style brick building with a corrugated iron roof, and it was doing a roaring trade around lunch time, with customers arriving every minute or two. Not only is it a bustling food stop, but adjacent is the Trappers Bakery Motel, offering rooms for travellers on the road.

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Blue Mountains Buttery, Katoomba

153 Katoomba St, Katoomba, New South Wales
www.bluemts.com.au/11819/blue-mountains-buttery/

Katoomba is a small town in the heart of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and a perfect destination for a day trip. It’s on the edge of the Blue Mountains National Park, which is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, and walking distance from some of the biggest tourist attractions in the park. As such, it has a host of shops, cafes, restaurants, and – strung in a sequence along the main street – three bakeries within the space of about 20 metres. They are on different positions along the poshness to down-to-earthness scale. Possibly the most down-to-earth is the Blue Mountains Buttery, which has some good old working-class vanilla slices where the others tend to go for fancier cakes and pastries.

Blue Mountains Buttery

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The Pines Orchard Cafe, Bilpin

2070 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin, New South Wales

On a lazy Sunday drive into the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, I like to head out on the Great Western Highway, and then return via the more northerly route of Bells Line of Road, which is more scenic and has less traffic. Along the way you pass through the small settlement of Bilpin, which with its cool highland climate, is a great place to grow apples and stone fruits. Lining the road through this area are several roadside stalls where you can stop and buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Some are mere shacks, while a couple are larger and offer tables and cafe refreshments.

The Pines Orchard Cafe

On this day we stopped for an afternoon break at The Pines Orchard Cafe, right across the road from the more well known Bilpin Fruit Bowl with its giant colourful fibreglass bowl of fruit out the front. The Fruit Bowl has a small kitchen right in the middle of the shop, where ladies make and bake apple pies seemingly constantly, and you can buy them either hot out of the oven, or cooled down to take home. The Pines Orchard is not quite so fancy, but upon entering and perusing the bakery cabinet I spot something which looks like a vanilla slice. They’re square cut slabs resting in a tray, topped with a delicious looking layer of passionfruit icing. Mrs Snot Block & Roll wants to get a coffee, so I ask her to add a vanilla slice to her order and I head across the room to find a table.

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Two Skinny Cooks, Berrima

1 Market Place, Berrima, New South Wales
www.twoskinnycooks.com.au

Berrima is a lovely old town, bypassed by the busy Hume Highway some years ago, allowing it to fall back into a dreamy country town state. But it is within day tripping distance of Sydney, so the rustic village has been taken over by antique shops, handicrafts, art galleries, and gourmet food outlets, run by the friendly locals.

On the fine day when we visited the town, there was a vintage car club holding some sort of gathering, so the streets were lined with old cars – some really very old indeed – and all kept in good nick. After wandering the main street for a bit, and getting some lunch in Stone’s Patisserie (also reviewed), we stumbled across Two Skinny Cooks.

Two Skinny Cooks

This advertises itself as a “larder door”, and mostly does a trade in prepared meals to take home and reheat, and meal ingredients such as sauces and pre-marinaded meats to be cooked at home, plus various jams, chutneys, mustards, and so on. The titular two skinny cooks prepare it in a kitchen out the bac and package the goodies for people to take with them. But besides this, they also make pies and sausage rolls – both for carrying home frozen, but also a selection hot for immediate consumption.

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Glenorie Bakery, Glenorie

930 Old Northern Rd, Glenorie NSW
www.glenoriebakery.com.au

Glenorie sits an hour or so’s drive from Sydney, in the rural northwestern region that seems to have escaped rampant suburbanisation and remains a haven for people who prefer a slower pace of life, wide open fields, and properties large enough to raise horses on. Amidst the small clusters of villages that exist to support this lifestyle sits the shopping region of Glenorie, with a supermarket and a handful of small stores selling scented soaps, hand made rag dolls, and antiques. And amongst these is the Glenorie Bakery, which seems to be a modern building but constructed in the style of a century old woolshed.

Glenorie Bakery

Walking inside reveals an expansive interior space, filled with all manner of antique farming, baking, and retail equipment. The decor is “1900s farmhouse”, and rust appears to be the decorating material of choice. There’s an old… plough or something hanging from the ceiling, wooden wagon wheels reclining against the walls, and sheafs of wheat decorating large rustic wooden shelves containing enough knick-knacks to stock a large antique shop or rural museum. There are some large dough mixing machines which look like they were retired some time before the Second World War.

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