4400 Illawarra Highway, Robertson, New South Wales
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.
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.
Continue reading Robertson Pie Shop, Robertson
364 Pacific Highway, Lindfield, New South Wales
It’s been a long time between drinks here at Snot Block & Roll, mostly precipitated by the acquisition a few months ago of Scully, our toy poodle puppy. Raising a puppy limits time available for other activities, alas reviewing sausage rolls and vanilla slices among them! But happily Scully is growing into an adolescent dog and is becoming trained, so it’s easier to take her on trips and to find spare time once more.
On this fine spring day, partly cloudy so not too hot, we ventured forth on an expedition to a small local market at East Lindfield. It was indeed small, but pleasant because it wasn’t the same stallholders who travel around the north Sydney area and can be found at a different local market each weekend. There was a burger van and a stall selling Russian food like blinis and pirogies, but we decided to leave the market and seek out a bakery nearby: Christophe’s Pâtisserie Française at Lindfield proper, a short drive west.
Christophe’s is part of a row of old style narrow shop fronts directly facing the Pacific Highway in its role as the main artery through Lindfield. It’s noisy and there’s nothing but a strip of bitumen footpath between the highway and the shop fronts. But the patisserie invites with a display of delicious looking French pastries in the window and an impressively boastful array of certificates plastering one window with pictures of gold and silver medals. These turn out to be local business awards, so not an especially wide competition, but still, presumably it means there is something worth checking out here.
Continue reading Christophe’s Pâtisserie Française, Lindfield
Shop 2, 130 Hampden Rd, Artarmon, New South Wales
I’ve walked past this place several times on exercise-driven peregrinations, and often been tempted by the luscious looking cakes and pastries on display, but had never been in the right state of hunger to pop in and try something. But on a long Sunday walk I arrived here around lunch time, and decided that now was the time. The cakes looked great, but obviously I had to sample the sausage roll and vanilla slice first.
It was a hot day, with the sun beating down hard outside, so I chose one of the two small inside tables and grabbed some cool water from the jug on the counter, while waiting for the woman behind the counter to bring out the selections. The sausage roll comes on a rectangular white plate, while the vanilla slice is served on a traditional circular one.
Continue reading Inter Desserts, Artarmon
Careel Shopping Village, 1 Careel Head Rd, Avalon Beach, New South Wales
Oliver’s Pies is one shop in a tiny “shopping village” consisting of this pie shop, a pizza place, and a chicken and burger joint, on Barrenjoey Road as you head north in Sydney towards Palm Beach. I pulled into the tiny car park (holding about a dozen cars) around 11 am and found that Oliver’s not only makes a wide selection of pies and sausage rolls, but also several sweet treats, including chocolate eclairs, custard tarts, apple pies, and vanilla slices! So naturally the choice from the menu was dictated.
The place was rather popular, even at 11am with plenty of customers pulling up in the car park and picking up a pie. The pie of the day was smoked fish, which sounded intriguing, and I would have tried it had I not been moderately full already from a large breakfast.
Continue reading Oliver’s Pies, Avalon
930 Old Northern Rd, Glenorie NSW
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.
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.
Continue reading Glenorie Bakery, Glenorie
9 Oaks Avenue, Dee Why, New South Wales
On a leisurely weekend drive to the beach suburb of Dee Why, we popped into Oaks Patisserie for an afternoon snack and cuppa. This is a small bakery on a somewhat dingy old retail strip just around the corner from the busy Pittwater Road, so the ambience is not great. Inside, however, is a mouth-watering array of cakes and pastries, which look colourful and artfully assembled. I ordered a sausage roll and vanilla slice and they were delivered by staff to one of the two outside tables for us to contemplate.
The sausage roll looks promising enough at first sight, with golden flaky pastry and ever so slightly burnt bits on the ends. However, on the first bite a different experience is revealed. The pastry is a little on the dry side, not greasy or buttery at all. The pastry case has pulled away from the meat filling, leaving a hollow space in between, but pastry is actually middling to okay.
Continue reading Oaks Avenue Patisserie, Dee Why
4 Ennis Rd, Kirribilli, New South Wales
In a first for Snot Block & Roll, this is a re-review! Mr Coker wrote up his original review of The Flaky Tart bakery in Kirribilli some time ago. As the review was very good and the bakery is not too far away, I decided to sample the wares myself. And then I figured why not write up my own conclusions!
A bit of research reveals that The Flaky Tart is not a one-off shop here under the Harbour Bridge at Kirribilli, but is actually a branch of the better known Flaky Tart bakery of Rose Bay, on the south side of the harbour. Perhaps I’ll have to travel over there one day to sample its wares as well.
But on this fine sunny day in Kirribilli, I purchased a sausage roll, vanilla slice, and because I was very hungry, also a chicken and mushroom pie. I found a wooden bench seat nearby, perched on the side of the steeply sloping Ennis Road, overlooking the shops and restaurants of Broughton Street below. As I sat, an inquisitive seagull appeared – perhaps the very same gull that eyed Mr Coker’s samples in the previous review!
Continue reading The Flaky Tart, redux, Kirribilli
28 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, New South Wales
This is a mostly anonymous hole-in-the-wall bakery on the heavy traffic road of the Pacific Highway as it cuts through the suburb of St Leonards. It’s so anonymous that the signage can’t even seem to decide if it’s called “St Leonards Bread & Cakes” or “St Leonards Pies & Cakes”. The shops fronting the major bus stop here have a gritty, run-down feel, with traces of graffiti on the walls, and this place is no exception. It’s operated by a Vietnamese family, and so naturally the French style bread hot from the oven is delightfully soft in the middle and crusty on the outside. They offer a fresh hand-made Vietnamese pork roll, which seems popular, as well as a range of the usual standards.
I secured a sausage roll for $2,70 and a vanilla slice for $3. Being no places to sit in the immediate vicinity, I walked 50 metres or so to the nearest intersection, where a blocked off side street offers a tiny refuge from the traffic with a couple of bench seats.
Continue reading St Leonards Bread & Cakes, St Leonards
12/450 Miller St, Cammeray, New South Wales
Pattison’s is a small chain with a dozen patisseries scattered across the northern suburbs of Sydney. This one at Cammeray has a long glass counter stuffed full of delicious looking cakes and pastries. As well as the traditional Aussie favourites, they do trendy new things like macarons and fancy cupcakes. They also bake bread and muffins and other such things.
The first day I tried to review this establishment, they had sold out of vanilla slices, so I had to delay my tasting to another day. The next time I was in the area, I ordered one of the sausage rolls from their hot savoury selection, and a slice. I took them out to sit in the sunshine in the adjacent courtyard as I ate. This area has a bit of restrained buzz from the other shops and cafes in the complex.
Continue reading Pattison’s Patisserie, Cammeray
144 Coxs Rd, North Ryde, New South Wales
So, this food review blog is actually going to be a combined effort from a number of contributors. Talk began one lunch time with the friends I work with, about the nucleus of an idea where we are food reviewers for one single food item. An item that you can get anywhere. But it should be an item with lots of variability. Something you know when it’s a good one, and know when its a bad one. Vanilla slices! Ubiquitous, beloved, and there’s posh ones and daggy ones and everything in between. Did a brief search, and there’s one other vanilla slice review site, but it’s Melbourne based and seems to have been abandoned for most of the last decade.
Then came the next evolution of the idea – review a complete meal, main and dessert! It was decided then, that the blog would review sausage rolls and vanilla slices. The name “Snot Block and Roll” quickly followed and a plan was afoot to set up the site and start reviewing!
On to my very first review. After a couple of recent failed attempts to locate a suitable bakery on the weekend, I went on a lunchtime expedition to the neighbouring suburb of North Ryde. Parked the car, headed out to cross the road to the bakery I had gone to once before… and found this place instead!
Continue reading Lai’s French Hot Bread & Cakes, North Ryde