Category Archives: vanilla slice

Drummoyne Bakehouse Cafe, Drummoyne, pt. 3

150 Lyons Rd, Drummoyne, New South Wales
drummoynesbakehousecafe.com.au

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!

Vanilla slice, Drummoyne Bakehouse

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.

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Two Brothers, Lane Cove

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.

Two Brothers, Lane Cove

In the front window was a tray of vanilla slices!

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Pennant Hills Hot Bread, Pennant Hills

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.

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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Knight’s Bakehouse, Castle Hill

159 Ridgecrop Drive, Castle Hill
www.knightsbridgeshoppingcentre.com.au/directory/knights-bakehouse-bakery

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).

Knights Bakehouse, Castle Hill

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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David’s Cakes, Baulkham Hills

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.

David's Cakes, Baulkham Hills

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.

David's Cakes, Baulkham Hills

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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The Portuguese Bakery, Gymea

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.

Hazelhurst market

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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Cherie’s Pies and Cakes, Freshwater

2/119 Harbord Road, Freshwater
www.facebook.com/cheriespies/

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 Pies and Cakes

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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O Forno dos Clérigos, Porto

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.

O Forno dos Clérigos

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.

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Pasteleria Vila Velha, Sintra

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.

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.

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Pau de Canela, Lisbon

Avenida da Igreja 2, 1700-204, Lisbon, Portugal
paudecanelapastelarias.com

On a combined business/vacation trip, I flew into Lisbon around lunchtime on my first ever trip to Portugal. Lisbon’s airport is very close to the city centre, and even closer to my hotel in the Entre Campos neighbourhood north of the city centre. So close that rather than take a taxi or the metro, I decided to walk from the airport to the hotel. The distance was not a problem, but the day was hot and sunny. Before we left, Mrs Snot Block & Roll had suggested that we could stop about half way and have a drink at a cafe. Checking on Google Maps, I had located a likely sounding cafe named Pau de Canela (“Cinnamon Stick” in Portuguese), with good reviews.

Portugal is famous for its traditional custard tarts, the pastéis de nata, but when we arrived at the cafe what caught my eye were some intriguing looking vanilla slices. They were labelled “mil folhas”, which is clearly the Portuguese equivalent of “mille feuille”, so that was a good start. Mrs SB&R ordered a coffee and grabbed a mil folhas for me. No sausage rolls in sight, alas, so it seems we still have a thing or two to teach the Portuguese about baking.

Pau de Canela

The slice has a traditional looking construction although it is quite flat and the custard is a thin single layer sandwiched between two very thick sheets of flaky pastry. The custard is a very dark yellow colour, darker than almost any other I’ve seen, and there’s not a lot of it. The pastry looks nice and flaky, and is topped with the traditional white icing with brown swirly pattern running across it diagonally. The slice is supplied on a plate with a knife and fork. Being in a foreign country, I’m a bit reluctant to commit a diplomatic faux pas by eating it wth my hands in front of a busy cafe crowd, so I rely on the cutlery.

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