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In another old unpublished review, I find myself in the north-western suburb of Castle Hill.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.
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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
Sydney Airport Terminal 1, international departure lounge, Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney Airport website listing
Stuck in the airport waiting for a flight leaving late in the evening is a bad place to be. You know you’re going to get a meal on the plane that you’ve already paid for, but it won’t be until well after your normal dinner time, and you’re starting to get hungry. And the only thing available is airport food outlets.
I felt the need for a snack to tide me over and help kill the time, and I spotted a literal pile of sausage rolls behind a glass counter display at this little cafe between gates 58 and 59. It’s called 58 1/2 Espresso – oh, I get it! Very clever. Hopefully the sausage rolls will be at least as entertaining, as I take the plunge and fork over the typical airport gouging price of $5.50 for one.
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Shop 18, Strand Arcade, 412-414 George St, Sydney, New South Wales
This is a tiny cafe in the upmarket Strand Arcade in the heart of Sydney. The Strand is an historical Victorian era shopping arcade, lovingly restored and full of quaint little shops that offer exclusive services such as bridal fashion, jewellery, antiques, high fashion, millinery, a shoe maker (an actual workshop with a guy hand-making shoes from large sheets of leather), fancy chocolates, cigars, a shoe-shine service, and a barber with fully reclining chairs on which men lie back and have their faces lathered for a cut-throat shave.
Amidst this, Sweet Infinity offers tea and coffee, and a selection of fancy looking and lovingly made baked goods. Mrs Snot Block and Roll and I looked in a few months ago and noticed that they serve pies and sausage rolls, as well as various cakes and slices, including a vanilla slice. So we stored it away in our memories for another day. Today was that day.
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650 Pittwater Rd, Brookvale, New South Wales
The Brooky Pie is a small family-run business with a single pie shop on the busy Pittwater Road just north of the vast Warringah Mall shopping centre. The pies are lovingly hand made in a traditional fashion, and they also have a vegetable pastie and a sausage roll. There are a handful of sweets on the menu, including an apple pie, custard tart, and caramel slice, but alas no vanilla slice.
Nevertheless, being in the area at lunchtime one day I ventured in to sample the savoury wares. I selected a pie and one of the sausage rolls.
Continue reading The Brooky Pie, Brookvale
St Ives Shopping Village, 166 Mona Vale Road, Shop 116, St Ives, New South Wales
I found myself a bit peckish in the St Ives “shopping village” (really just a name for a covered shopping centre), and saw this place adjacent to the food court area. Fare Game is a poultry butcher that sells a selection of uncooked chickens, chicken cuts, skewers, pre-marinaded chicken pieces, chicken sausages, and other meat such as turkeys and ducks. It also has a hot food section, selling hot roast chickens, lunch boxes of chicken pieces and chips, and on this day a suite of chicken sausage rolls.
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St Ives Shopping Village, Shop 67, 166 Mona Vale Road, St Ives, New South Wales
I made my way to the northern Sydney suburb of St Ives in search of La Petite Lorraine, a bakery which appears frequently when Googling “best vanilla slice in Sydney”. Its name jumped out of the web page so many times that I had to make the pilgrimage. Alas, when I arrived, La Petitie Lorraine was nowhere to be found, even with the help of Google Maps telling me that I was standing less than 5 metres from its location.
Assuming there was some location error, or that the place had closed, I sought refuge from the burning sunshine inside the St Ives Shopping Village – which is really just a mid-sized indoor shopping centre. There were a couple of bakeries in there, and I located one which had both sausage rolls and vanilla slices: the Bakehouse Cafe. Despite the “Cafe” in its name, it was really just a bakery counter front, with no tables or service other than two women behind the cash register selling the baked goods.
I procured the roll and slice, and then with no nearby seating available, walked the length of the shopping centre to the food court area to find a table. (Mrs Snot Block & Roll acquired a date scone, which was large and chunky, and declared it to be quite good.) Sitting down, I began examining the sausage roll, which had been packaged in a brown paper bag emblazoned with the logo of the Bakehouse Cafe.
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Cnr Masonite Rd & Pacific Hwy, Heatherbrae, NSW 2324
Heatherbrae Pies is located a couple of hours north of Sydney, and is an ideal place to stop off for lunch or a snack on a road trip up the NSW coast. Ever since starting this food review blog, I’ve anticipated coming here to do a review. The opportunity arrived, I checked their website, and yes, they do indeed sell Sausage Rolls and Vanilla slices!
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Level 2, Westfield Shopping Centre, Chatswood
This bakery lives in a food court in the giant Westfield shopping complex in Chatswood, wedged between a cafe and an Asian noodle place. It sells freshly baked bread and a selection of cakes, tarts, and slices, as well as pies and sausage rolls. I’ve been here a few times before and don’t have a particularly high opinion of their bread items. I once bought a “bagel” here, only to discover that it was nothing more than a fluffy white bread roll in a very rough and ready approximation of a shape with a hole through it.
But being in the area around lunch time, I decided to take the plunge. I procured a sausage roll and a vanilla slice and took a seat at one of the food court tables nearby to examine and taste. An elderly lady and what I presume to be her granddaughter sat at the table with some lunch of their own as well, and the girl looked at me curiously as I photographed and considered my meal.
Continue reading Vina Bakehouse, Chatswood
9 Main Street, Hahndorf, South Australia
Earlier in the morning I had visited Beerenberg’s Strawberry Farm, on the outskirts of the small town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. When approaching the farm shop, there was the surprising but unmistakeable smell of tomato sauce in the air, which made no sense at all to me. Upon going inside the shop, which had numerous jams and sauces for sale, I discovered the reason. Through a window one could see workers processing fruit and other ingredients to make product, and a sign indicated that today they were making… tomato sauce!
And so we come to Otto’s Bakery, where I stopped for lunch later that same day. They boasted “award winning” pies on a blackboard outside, as well as a vanilla slice. This seemed to bode well, so I ordered the obligatory sausage roll and vanilla slice. (I neglected to take a photo of the exterior of the bakery, but a quick search online will reveal several photos.)
The roll got things off to a bad start. It looked decidedly average, like a roll from a warmer in a petrol station. The pastry on top was an anaemic looking pale golden brown, with evidence of thick crocodile-skin-like flakiness rather than delicate thin flakiness. Biting into the roll confirmed my worst fears, as the pastry was crisp on the outside while not being flaky enough and a bit soggy near the meat. The meat centre was bland and a bit too dry. Not terribly dry, but certainly too dry to be good.
Continue reading Otto’s Bakery, Hahndorf