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!
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219C Kissing Point Road, South Turramurra, New South Wales
It’s a warm late winter Sunday – the perfect opportunity to take Mrs and Canine Snot Block & Roll for a drive! Of course, I had to do some research to make sure there was a nice bakery awaiting at our destination. And for this trip I chose something that has been tantalising me for some time now. Whenever I do a Google search of Sydney for bakeries, popping up like a gleaming apparition with an astonishing 4.9 star average rating, is Golden Bakehouse at South Turramurra.
It’s a strange thing. Despite the amazing Google rating, photos of the bakery look distinctly bland and average. This looks like your run-of-the-mill suburban bakery, dishing out good hot bread and banh mi rolls, but distinctly average patisserie goods. Something seems rotten in the State of Denmark here…
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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
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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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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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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Rua dos Clérigos 64, Porto, Portugal
Continuing our trip around Portugal, Mrs Snot Block & Roll and I stopped next at Porto, home of port wine and, from 1990-1993, J. K. Rowling. While walking around and admiring the scenic sights of this lovely city, we passed a number of pastelerias, and saw in the window of one what looked like the most amazing vanilla slices. They were large cubical blocks, with about 98% filling in between two thin layers of pastry. But having eaten recently, I wasn’t up for trying one at the time.
But then late in the day we visited the Clérigos Church and tower. This is situated near the top of one of Porto’s many hills, so the tall bell tower is visible from all over the city. After checking it out, we had dinner nearby and the were walking down the road back to our hotel when we spotted the pasteleria O Forno dos Clérigos (“the oven of Clérigos”), with an amazing array of luscious looking sweets in the window and the display cases inside.
Continue reading O Forno dos Clérigos, Porto