Corner of Pacific Hwy and Masonite Rd, Heatherbrae NSW 2324
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.
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.
Continue reading Heatherbrae’s Pies, Heatherbrae
I discovered the Snot Block & Roll by clicking the link at the bottom of the Darths & Droids website. It said ‘food reviews’ and I thought, cool I like food. I then discovered that this was an entire blog dedicated to the review of two foods: vanilla slices and sausage rolls.
I loved this concept, and I vicariously sampled my way through what felt like half the bakeries in Australia. With every post my appreciation for these simple culinary delights grew, and apace grew the unfortunate realization I was probably never going to get the chance to try them in person. See, I live in the US of A, specifically inside the not-so-cosmopolitan state of Wisconsin. While I have seen pasty imitations of the vanilla slice crop up in the bakeries and buffets of the Fox Valley, I have never laid eyes on an honest-to-goodness sausage roll.
Faced with two alternatives, buy a plane ticket to Australia, or find a decent recipe; I opted for door number three and I created my own recipe for the Aussie Style Sausage Roll. (Credit where credit is due, I based my recipe off one I found in Bourke Street Bakery’s cookbook.)
Now for my self-aggrandizing review…
The roll looks amazing; lightly browned from the egg wash and speckled with whole fennel seeds to inform the customer just what kind of sausage roll they will be getting.
The bottom of the roll is edged in a rich brown glaze where the meat drippings oozed out onto the pan during baking. (I am super glad I chose to bake these on the pizza stone.)
Continue reading Joel’s Home Made (guest review)
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…
Continue reading Golden Bakehouse, South Turramurra
Shop 1/27 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, New South Wales
In the last of the backlog of old reviews, I visit the far northern beachside suburb of Avalon Beach – which I just learnt was named “Avalon Beach” and not “Avalon” like I thought. Wikipedia says it used to be named Avalon, but the “Beach” was officially added in 2012. Anyway, here is the bakery known as Paterson’s Pies.
It’s a streetfront facing dedicated pie shop, listing pies and sausage rolls as their primary products, followed by quiches, croissants, and coffee. There’s nowhere to sit inside the small shop, which just has a service counter and a fridge of drinks.
Continue reading Paterson’s Pies, Avalon Beach
7 Ramsay Rd, Pennant Hills, New South Wales
Continuing to clear the backlog of previously unposted reviews, today we return to an expedition to Pennant Hills to visit some friends. After spending a late morning visit, I was heading home and getting peckish around lunchtime. So I stopped at Pennant Hills Marketplace, and old fashioned and somewhat run-down shopping centre, with 1960s era buildings on two sides of an open car park. One of the shops here is the nondescript Andrew’s Patisserie.
I search for a vanilla slice, but alas they don’t seem to have any. Oh well, better settle for a sausage roll. They look all right in the warmer.
Continue reading Andrew’s Patisserie, Pennant Hills
Shop 7/19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay, New South Wales
I’ve been going back through old photos and notes, and found several reviews that I made quick notes on, but never found the time to post here. With COVID-19 lockdown in place, it seems like a good time to clear out the backlog!
Bourke Street Bakery is a good choice for sausage rolls, of several different varieties. Previously I’ve sampled no less than the pork and fennel sausage roll, the lamb, almond, and harissa sausage roll, and the chicken, pumpkin, and tarragon sausage roll. But on another occasion I visited the place and they had, believe it or not, a fourth type of sausage roll: Chicken and sweet corn. Naturally I had to try it to see how it compared to the others.
It’s thin and flat, as is typical for the Bourke Street Bakery style of rolls. Apart form that it looks decent, and as we know from past experience, these rolls punch well above their weight as judged by appearance. The pastry does look good, and there are thin crispy bits of burnt juices stuck to it, promising of a rich and moist filling.
Continue reading Bourke Street Bakery, Neutral Bay, extra
125 Adelaide St, Blayney NSW
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.
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.
Continue reading Ryan’s Bakery & Coffee Lounge, Blayney
Borough Market, Southwark, London, United Kingdom
On a lightning business trip to London, I decided to make the most of my bit of free time by seeking out some sausage rolls here in Old Blighty, the original home of the sausage roll. Near my hotel in Chiswick, there were some bakeries, but they concentrated on bread, cakes, and pastries, with no sign of pies or sausage rolls anywhere. So I took to the Internet, seeking the “best sausage rolls in London”. Several list articles mentioned the Borough Market, a lively food market in Southwark, just on the south side of the Thames River from the City of London. I’d been here before, but was happy for an excuse to return.
Amidst the sights and smells of this wonderful market, I spotted my first quarry, sitting in a neat pile on a silver tray on the counter of a stall bearing the name of Northfield Farm. These were clearly sausage rolls, but they were obviously cold. The stall mostly appeared to be doing a line in hamburgers, fried sausages in buns, and steak sandwiches, with nary a pie warmer to be seen for heating up the sausage rolls.
Continue reading Northfield Farm, Southwark, London
1296 Pacific Hwy, Cowan, New South Wales
The Pie in the Sky is a bit of a legendary pie shop, operating for almost 30 years on a site on the old Pacific Highway, a winding two-lane road that used to be the only way to travel north of Sydney before the opening of the F3 freeway. The place is nestled on top of a cliff overlooking the freeway below, and across a vast panorama of eucalypt forest in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, across to the Hawkesbury River.
It’s a favourite weekend hangout for motorcycle riders and vintage and sports car drivers, who prefer the scenery and thrills of the old road over the bland freeway. We arrived at lunch time on a Sunday, to find the car park area almost full to overflowing with motorbikes and fancy cars. Fortunately we located a spot that must have just been vacated, and joined the queue, a good 40 people long, to buy our lunch.
Continue reading Pie in the Sky, Cowan
3/201 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, New South Wales
This place is tucked into a dark corner of the rather sterile courtyard immediately in front of St Leonards railway station. The courtyard contains a bunch of fast food joints and a cafe or two, surrounding a large pool of water which ripples in the gale-like winds that seem to whistle constantly through the ill-designed pedestrian access points. The premises started life as a franchise of the ill-fated Shakespeare’s Pies, a chain which seems to have splintered into various one-off pie shops with names like Halmet’s, Othello’s, and this one, Romeo’s. (Spot the theme…) Anyway, they concentrate primarily on pies, but also do a small selection of sweet baked goods like friands and cookies. And of course they do sausage rolls. So there may not be a vanilla slice, but I may as well review the sausage roll.
Externally, the roll looks perfectly good, with a golden brown pastry crust and ends of lightly crisped ends of meat showing. It has a little bit of a manufactured feel rather than hand made appearance. It’s served nice and hot and the first bite reveals a passable crust, perhaps a little less flaky then perfect, but certainly not terrible.
Continue reading Romeo’s Pie Cafe, St Leonards