Pastry: Incredibly flaky, like a short bread 7/10
Presentation: Well assembled, nothing flash 7/10
Value for money: $3.70 - Medium portion, good sugar hit 8.5/10
Overall score: 7.6/10
Filling: unpredictably good vanilla custard 8/10
Pastry: Incredibly flaky, like a short bread 7/10
Presentation: Well assembled, nothing flash 7/10
Value for money: $3.70 - Medium portion, good sugar hit 8.5/10
Overall score: 7.6/10
I found myself in a part of Melbourne I’d not been before so thought it wise to stop at a bakery in the neighbourhood. You know, it’s quite refreshing to pay for a vanilla slice with a five dollar note and receive a handful of change these days. I sat outside the bakery and smashed this one in less than a minute. I was equally as surprised by the quality of the item. Dark, flaky, almost short bread-like pastry that crumbled and broke off in rich shards of sugary goodness. A sweet, vanilla cream custard filling and messy fingers to follow. A slightly more compacted pastry would have been beneficial for picking up and chomping through, but for the most part a recommendation for anyone that is driving past and only has a pocket full of change.
Filling: Fluffy, but bland cream custard 5/10
Pastry: Puffed and crunchy 7/10
Presentation: Well assembled, neatly encased in foil 7.5/10
Value for money: $5.90 - Medium/large portion, large price 4/10
Overall score: 5.9/10
Sharing a neighbourhood with Aviv Bakery, I opted for a bakery I’d not tried before, just down the road in Elsternwick. I popped into Benjamin’s and took out a beef and red wine pie and neatly presented triple stacked vanilla slice. Having burnt the roof of my mouth on the scolding hot pie filling, I needed to cool the burn with custard. Breaking the slice into two horizontally, I picked it up and consumed it in two smaller servings. I instantly noticed some crunchy pastry and this allowed for easy slice manipulation. Though crunchy, the pastry lacked depth of flavour and richness, as did the custard. More of a whipped cream with a hint of custard powder, it was light and fluffy, but not a deep, luxurious custard. Selling at Patisserie prices, but pieced together with standard bakery components, next time I might return to Aviv’s when in the area.
Filling: Thick, yellow and overly sweet custard 4/10
Pastry: Lacking a crunch 5/10
Presentation: Well assembled, good proportions, thick icing 7.5/10
Value for money: $3.70 - Medium/large portion, cheap price, not on pint 6/10
Overall score: 5.6/10
Missing the turnoff for The French Lettuce for a cheeky revisit, I stumbled across Angelo Pasticceria a few blocks north instead. Selling a range of authentic Italian items and a handful of Australian baked goods I was pleased to see a half decent looking vanilla slice. Handing over a five dollar note and receiving $1.30 in return, I was satisfied with the price of my selected item. Standing in a nearly cut square cuboid shape with a thickish white icing atop, the proportions looked encouraging and the pastry thin and crispy looking. The custard was definitively yellow in colour and looked thick and claggy for want of a better term. In terms of taste and texture, it’s safe to note that the pastry was not flaky or crunchy, but potentially soft due to being slightly stale. The custard was completely tasteless other than unnecessarily sweet. No vanilla, no creaminess, no egg. Nothing. I enjoyed the texture of the icing, but due to the sweetness of the custard, it was actually redundant. Next...
Filling: Typical bakers custard 6/10
Pastry: Thick and starting to go soft 3.5/10
Presentation: Some inconsistencies but nicely iced 6/10
Value for money: $3 - Average portion, cheap price, passable 6/10
Overall score: 5.4/10
Heading to Healesville for a sunny day out at the sanctuary, A half way pit stop was required for morning tea. I dived into Madeleine’s Bakery and left with a seldom seen $3 vanilla slice. An average sized portion, consisting of two hefty slabs of tightly packed puff pastry, uneven in colour, but satisfactorily keeping at bay a decent stack of somewhat set custard. Starting with the positives; the custard had a nice creamy taste to it, nothing too surprising but pleasant enough. The icing was probably the best component; thin, glossy and a delivering nice amount of sweetness. The pastry looked like it might have been flaky and buttery, but sadly it was bland and starting to go soggy from the moisture. Potentially a day old? I didn’t feel too disgruntled, having only parted with $3. I chowed down in a few short bites, before the kids in the back started asking questions of “where’s mine?”.
Filling: Bland whipped cream 3.5/10
Pastry: Puffed but dry as a bone 4/10
Presentation: Piled high, but unrefined 5/10
Value for money: $5 - Hefty portion, hefty price, throwaway job 3/10
Overall score: 3.9/10
Stopping in Werribee town centre for a bite to eat prior to visiting the Open Range Zoo, I popped into what I thought would be a French themed Patisserie, only to discover a low key, pretty drab Aussie/Vietnamese bakery. Displayed rather appertisingly in the cake cabinet was three vanilla slice offerings, all sized large. The traditional vanilla slice had a thick layer of poor quality looking icing, the French vanilla included a layer of bright white whipped cream and this ‘custilla’ slice seemed the best of a bad bunch. It’s only when I uncovered it from its bag I saw the actual colour of the filling and the predictably dry boards of dark pastry with much of the sugar now removed. Failing to take a cross sectional bite, it opted for breaking the slice in half through the filling and eating It like an open sandwich instead. After a few bites I had already made the decision not to eat the other half, with utter disappointment that the filling was nothing more than a bland whipped cream mix that was lacking vanilla, sweetness or any notable flavour. The pastry too was abnormally thick and sucked all of the moisture out of my mouth with each bite. Following the disposal of the redundant second half I downed a pint of water to get some moisture back in my body!
Filling: Oozing, airy vanilla custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Partially firm, quite biscuity 7/10
Presentation: Nothing flash, lightly dusted 6/10
Value for money: $5.50 - Reasonably priced overall 8/10
Overall score: 7.4/10
Originally visiting Danish Nosh in December 2018, I reviewed the vanilla slice at 4.15/10, mostly due to the two features circled in the far right image (1. fatty, uncooked pastry, 2. Smooshed custard poorly presented). Management reached out and felt I return to try again, so I did.
Thankfully, this time the vanilla slice I received was much fresher and a damn sight better looking. With only two slices left by mid afternoon, they clearly sell what they bake, so chances of a stale one seem lower for Joe Average popping by on a whim. The slice now sells at $5.50 (originally $4 on my first visit), though I don’t mind paying a little more for a quality product. One would assume that the slice is the same size as before and made of the same ingredients, but it looks like quality control has improved, to coincide with the cost increase perhaps.
This time round the pastry was a much darker colour and firmer texture. It’s hardness caused significant amounts of custard to erupt from the sides when chomped. The custard was still tasty, like previously, but much fresher this time.
I’m pleased I returned. Hopefully the owners are satisfied that I’m not looking to tarnish people’s reputations, but merely make note of my experiences for the everyday vanilla slice consumer doing the rounds.
Filling: Better than expected vanilla custard 7/10
Pastry: Probably once flaky, but somewhat soggy 5/10
Presentation: ‘Hand finished’ swirls, proportionally sound 7/10
Value for money: $4.50 for two - Not bad if there’s no other alternative 7.5/10
Overall score: 6.6/10
Suffering with my first winter illness, I wasn’t able to venture too far from home. With a planned trip to a local pharmacy for cold and flu meds, I swung by Woolworths and noticed the vanilla slices on offer at $4.50 for a box of two (normally $5). Compelled to try, I purchased and took home. Only after taking out the first slice, I read the packaging which described that the slices are frozen from fresh and later thawed. This explained by the first slice was still frozen and pretty tough to get through. Upon eating the second slice I allowed it to sit at room temperature for 30 mins, this time with much better results!
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the ingredients and the custard was surprisingly smooth, creamy and vanilla flavoured. When frozen it was like a vanilla ice cream, but when thawed out it oozed everywhere when bitten. The ooze effect was also due to the softened pastry, having defrosted and become slightly soggy. I can imagine that these layers would have been pretty good when freshly baked; a golden brown colour, thin and flaky.
The only element I didn’t really enjoy was the icing; quite soft and grainy, though the dark chocolate swirls were a rather nice touch.
Filling: Suprisingly good vanilla custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Rich, multi-layered, crumbly and flaky 8.5/10
Presentation: Unusually all one coloured, pastry flaked decoration on top 6/10
Value for money: $5.50 - Big price tag but big on flavour 7/10
Overall score: 7.25/10
In an unknown part of Melbourne I was eager to stop for a crafty vanilla slice at a bakery. With a few along the main high street if Balaclava, I settled for Baker in the Rye, specialising in traditional European breads, cakes and pastries. At $5.50 the Napoleon slice was tricky to predict, with the custard and the pastry looking decidedly similar in colour. With no icing or dusted sugar on top, the slice was instead decorated with tiny crumbs of flaked pastry. When picked up for the first time, the top layer was supringly soft, revealing itself to be the custard with a small amount of the pastry dust on top. The remaining 4 or 5 layers of pastry were flaky and had a good crunch to them, and very delicate in their construction. Sandwiched in between was actual custard, not just cream. The custard had a good sweetness to offset all of the more savoury pastry, with more than a hint of vanilla. Clearly a traditional recipe and method of presentation, seldom seen on my hunt. Quite honestly more fulfilling than I initially expected, but potentially a dollar too expensive.
Filling: Pretty average custard 5.5/10
Pastry: Better than expected but not freshly baked 6/10
Presentation: Slightly dishevelled, not a looker 4/10
Value for money: $4 - Resonably priced but not great 6/10
Overall score: 5.4/10
In need of a caffeine hit and some sugar for morning tea at the neighbouring Queens Park, Mrs B went on a mission to grab me a latte and a vanilla slice “if it looked good”. I stayed at the park pushing my boy on the swings, and saw her return shortly after with the goods and the pram containing his sister. In a brown paper bag stowed below the pram, I took the slice out and was met with the image below. Potentially a rough ride into the park, or perhaps not a looker from the start, I picked up the specimen and chomped my way through. With slightly crunchier than expected pastry I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t bend with sogginess and staleness, as predicted. Though not super flaky, they did offer some resistance and had some character. The custard too was OK; a thick, almost powdered consistency with a definite vanilla aftertaste but nothing too flash or noteworthy. I question the ratio of custard to pastry here, perhaps a square shaped, thicker slice would be more aesthetically pleasing than the slim rectangular effort.
Filling: An unhealthy amount of vanilla cream custard 6/10
Pastry: Risen and puffed, golden layers of crumbly, messy pastry 6/10
Presentation: Rough, ready and rustic 5.5/10
Value for money: $7 (estimate) - double size portion, too much for one serve 5/10
Overall score: 5.6/10
It’s easy not to be seduced by the homemade appeal of this Goliath vanilla slice in Mount Martha. Undoubtedly the largest slab I’ve encountered in my time doing the blog, this thing sat unpredictably on my plate for a good few minutes prior to me beginning its deconstruction. With a few items to compare scale in the pictures, including my boy’s actual 1:1 scale London bus, you can clearly see the scale of the task. Easily enough for two, maybe three cake enthusiasts, it’s a shame my son is dairy intolerant as I might have let him loose on my leftovers here.
I’ve noticed that most of the slices I’ve eaten down the peninsula are larger than average, with successes occurring at Just Fine Food, Mount Martha Fine Foods and Baked in Sorrento. Sadly, this one did not follow suit in the pursuit of greatness. Though impressive in its construction and somewhat rare to see homemade puff pastry puffed to this extreme, the two layers on their own probably scaled 60mm. Thrown in between these sheets must have been a at least 500ml of whipped cream, sweetened and flavoured with vanilla. The sheer amount of ingredients almost killed me, and I had to stop with a third of the slice remaining.
The pastry seemed fresh, extremely crumbly and messy, and quite light due to its level of puff. It clearly contained butter in the mix and a golden brown baked colour was instantly identifiable. The filling is what let the slice down. Normally I crave more, but this was just too much. I must admit, it was fun demolishing it with a fork!
Filling: Heavily set vanilla custard mix 5.5/10
Pastry: Neatly puffed but lacking a buttery richness 6/10
Presentation: Neat, almost perfectly cube shaped, lightly dusted 7.5/10
Value for money: $1.70 - Small sized portion, not left wanting more 6/10
Overall score: 6.2/10
With only a handful of bakeries to choose from in the immediate area, I opted for a pit stop in Fawkner. I’ve never been to Bonwick Street, in fact I never knew the village existed. A half decent little parade of shops, with some trendy cafes and a few bakeries, I’m sure I will pop back at some point for another vanilla slice from a nearby competitor. I was drawn into the Italian Pasticceria offering a huge array of creatively presented sweet goods. With only a vanilla slice in mind I had to ignore such items and paid the friendly lady a very small $1.70 in exchange for a very small vanilla slice. As it turned out, I’m pleased this wasn’t a door step- seized slice selling at $6, as you will read.
Firstly, the custard was a complete red herring; appearing creamy and rich, in fact it was nothing more than a vanilla flavoured powder mix set with copious amounts of gelatine or equivalent thickening agent. It felt rubberised and was not overly pleasant in texture. The pastry too looked very appertising upon inspection; obvious layers of puffed flaky pastry and a good dark brown colour. In truth, this was partly the case, but the pastry proved somewhat dry and lacking a buttery richness that results in a beautiful crunch and flake. Fresh at least.
With little else to comment on, one can only really say that the size portion is a good for a nibble and very reasonably priced, but unfortunately the quality of the item wasn’t outstanding.
Filling: Fresh, cream-based custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Nicely puffed with crunch 7.5/10
Presentation: Creatively iced, otherwise neatly assembled 7.5/10
Value for money: $4.50 - Medium sized portion, half decent 7/10
Overall score: 7.4/10
With stuff to do out in nearby Thomastown, I drove past Athena in Epping and decided to pull over for a mid morning pick-me-up. In a quiet shopping strip, Athena stood out with their bold signage and queue out the door...
Selling at an average $4.50, I predictably took out one of their vanilla slices. With a 50/50 hunch that this may be stale I bravely picked the item up and tentatively took a bite. Greeting me with a noisy crunch the pastry was fresh and flaky...thank god! The pastry was in fact quite good; thinly layered, but crunchy and flaky when bitten. It allowed for seamless custard consumption, with little spillage to note. The custard, was mostly cream, with a hint of vanilla and some kind of additive powder. It was fresh, light and slightly better than average. The icing seemed to be a bit of an afterthought; heavy, grainy and loaded with thick lines of bog-standard chocolate. Sadly this left a somewhat cheap and distracting aftertaste in my mouth.
Athena should know (being all wise and inspiring) that the quality of ingredients is the most important thing when it comes to quality products such as the humble vanilla slice. I’m glad I stopped, but definitely room for improvement.
Filling: Light, fluffy and very serviceable whipped custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Fresh, crisp and dark brown, crumbly and messy to eat 8.5/10
Presentation: Though battered in the bag, proportially sound 7.5/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Medium / large portion and a good return 9/10
Overall score: 8/10
In a new pocket of Williamstown I had never ventured before, I stumbled upon this Aussie-Vietnamese bakery selling some pretty awesome looking vanilla slices. Large in size and hefty in thick white icing I opted for the more sophisticated French variety sat next door. With a clear bright red layer of jam inside I was eager to see what I’d got when I opened the bag. Sadly she didn’t fair too well in her short trip from counter to car and had lost the majority of the icing sugar and neatness from the display cabinet. Nevertheless, I chowed down outside of my car (thankfully) and enjoyed what I tasted, the pastry was excellent; baked fresh on a Sunday and dropping shards all over the floor made me grateful for not being sat in the car still. The filling was pleasently creamy, light and with a hint of vanilla. The jam in truth wasn’t required in this ensemble and I felt it slightly overpowering in an already sweet offering. It tasted like a cheap strawberry jam, not an upmarket, sophisticated preserve like I’m used to! A great little find.
Filling: Tasteless, piped ‘custard’ 2/10
Pastry: Sublime, biscuity and puffed 10/10
Presentation: Authentically Italian, somewhat rustic 6/10
Value for money: $2.50 - Small portion, a tale of two extremes 5/10
Overall score: 5.75/10
With a name like Pastry Paradise I was slightly sceptical of what I might find here in the weird and wonderful world of custard based pastries. Nevertheless I saw what I came for (the Italian Vanilla Slice - Milfolglie) in their rather eye catching window display and headed swiftly in. Taking out a half sized square shaped portion for $2.50, I headed back to the car and devoured. Needing to half the portion by departing the layers I held mini portions in my hand and instantly noticed the biscuit like crunch of the pastry. It’s uncommon to get pastry this good in most bakeries, so I really savoured this. The butter content must have been high as it was so crisp, puffed and golden. Truly wonderful! Quite reversely, the poor excuse for custard left me questioning where it all went wrong. Had this been a rich, eggy, vanilla custard adhering the heavenly layers of flaked goodness together the outcome would have been quite different. Sadly, this was not the case.
Filling: Thick, stodgy and lacking flavour 5/10
Pastry: Nicely flaked layers but not fresh and crunchy 4/10
Presentation: Enticing but deceptive 7.5/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Medium portion but disappointing overall 5/10
Overall score: 5.4/10
The last time I drove up Derby Street six months or so ago, the Hot Bread Bakery had disappeared. Miraculously, this time round it’s reopened with a nice new shop refit and name. I was pretty optimistic when I saw the vanilla slices in the cabinet; tall in stature, flaky brown layers of pastry, a healthy dusting of icing sugar and a rich, eggy looking custard.
My optimism was soon met with the reality that looks can indeed be deceiving. A harsh truth, that I have experienced innumerable times. The pastry might well have been a dark brown colour and flaking all over the place, but fresh it was not. Potentially a day old and beginning to go soft, it was a real let down. The custard too proved disappointing, with a severe lack of creaminess, vanilla content and fluffiness. Instead it was quite dense, stodgy and slightly powdery in taste. A real shame, as proportionally the ratios were excellent and priced at what I thought was reasonable for the sized portion (had it been fresh!)
Filling: Light and airy custard 6/10
Pastry: Well puffed but slightly under baked 5/10
Presentation: Tri-layer, tall and generous proportions 7/10
Value for money: $4.30 - Medium/large portion but not memorable 6/10
Overall score: 6/10
For Snot Blog consumption today I visited and left with a Melissa Cakes tri-layer vanilla slice. Impressed with the size, proportions and cost of this one, I unwrapped the thin foil and attempted a cut with a takeaway fork....with no luck. I was met with some resistance, but the pastry was quite puffed and not tightly baked. Instead I cut through the middle and ate the thing as two mini vanilla slices (one with the sugar on top). The pastry as mentioned was not the flakiest, I put this down to the lack of butter in the mix and the bake time in the oven. The custard was satisfactory; light, airy, fresh and with some vanilla, though not anything out of the ordinary. Had this come as a two layer slice I might not have been as forthcoming with my appraisal, but at least Melissa’s gives you a fair chunk of product for your money.
Filling: The only decent part - fluffy, creamy and vanilla flavoured 7.5/10
Pastry: Fatty, clumped, heavy layers 2/10
Presentation: A dogs dinner, very poorly presented 3/10
Value for money: $4 - Average portion size, pastry not worth eating 4/10
Overall score: 4.15/10
I was quite excited heading to Caulfield, with a planned pit stop in a local Eastern European inspired bakery. Upon receiving my item I was quite surprised to see the state of it within the box. Looking like it had fallen off a plate and been picked up again, the custard was smooshed out the side, the icing sugar had partially disappeared and what lay beneath looked decidedly translucent. Upon my first bite, I was immediately faced with what felt like a slab of thick, tough and fatty pastry, with no crunch whatsoever. After a few bites, the custard had escaped from the other side, so I pretty much just ate the custard and left the rest for the bin. The custard itself was OK; light, fluffy, creamy and with a taste like vanilla ice cream I used to get in a soft serve back home. All of their reviews read positively, so hopefully their other items are better than this!
Filling: Fluffy, creamy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Beautifully Baker, flaky layers 9/10
Presentation: Not bad, slight pastry loss and thick pink tinged fondant icing 7/10
Value for money: $4 - Large portion size, hellish filling 9/10
Overall score: 8.75/10
After a solid morning of rain, there was no sign of it letting up, so I decided to stop in Montmorency village to grab a sandwich. I also couldn’t resist one of their homemade vanilla slices, on display as a slab and looking far too good to ignore. Having already eaten the monster from Brent’s Patisserie in Eltham earlier in the morning, this really was just gluttony. I took the slice home where I continued to unwrap and pull this similar sized specimen apart.
Much like the slice from Eltham, the filling was huge and the icing almost 3mm thick, but with a hint of pink (purely aesthetic I later found out). The pastry was possibly better than my first slice of the day, even more flake and a tad darker in colour. It’s a shame I had to lose some from avoiding the sugary fondant towards the end, as it became just a little too overbearing. The custard was similar in taste and texture to Brent’s, but potentially slightly heavier and with less vanilla content - but still extremely good by most people’s standards.
What a shame the icing brought this slice down, a third of the thickness would have sufficed and if the pink had been a hint of strawberry or raspberry it could have been quite interesting. Well worth a stop if you’re in the area, and the retro value of the old Milkbar is also worth mentioning.
Filling: Light, fluffy, exceptionally creamy vanilla custard 9.5/10
Pastry: Wafer thin, super crunchy layers 8.5/10
Presentation: Excellent ratio of custard to pastry, thick fondant icing 8/10
Value for money: $3.80 - Larger than average portion size, exceptional value 10/10
Overall score: 9/10
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have an issue with bakeries using the word ‘patisserie’. However, this time round Brent is well entitled to use such a term. My vanilla slice was outstanding. Selling at a very reasonable $3.80 it was proportioned for the fuller gentlemen and was quite an effort to complete. Nevertheless, I endeavoured and my moustache took a hammering, reserving some custard for snacking later on.
The custard was delightful. A really rich, creamy and whipped texture, not overly sweet and packed full of vanilla. There was a mound of it too, hard to contain once I got under way and the potential to make a real mess. The pastry was deceptively crunchy, baked in thin, compacted layers and gave the slice a great platform to pick up and eat freestyle. One only slight negative was the thickness of the icing; though in actual fact the sweetness offset the richness and creaminess of the custard quite well.
A real triumph in the North.
Filling: Thick, strong vanilla flavoured custard 7/10
Pastry: Pale, thin compacted layers, good crunch 7/10
Presentation: Not the best looker, odd proportions and heavily iced 5/10
Value for money: $4.50 - Gargantuan portion size, two servings 8/10
Overall score: 7/10
Selling at $4.50 this whopper of a vanilla slice could have been a catastrophic waste of money or a moment of magic. Well actually, it was neither...let me explain.
Undeniably huge in size, weight and calories, the slice needed a photo next to a prop (my phone), just to show the true scale. I wasn’t optimistic about how good it would be; in truth the pastry looked under baked and potentially soggy, the custard looked a bit gelatinous and pale and the icing somewhat thickly spread and lacking a tempting gloss. Not to mention, I’ve had a few doozies from Vietnamese bakeries in my time,
In cutting the slice on its side a welcoming resistance and crunching sound made me aware of a half decent pastry lurking inside. Whilst only a pale colour, the layers were tightly baked and fresh, allowing a good crunch and flake. The custard too was better than expected; a thick, creamy, smooth texture with only a hint of gelatin and packed with vanilla flavour. Admittedly the icing was a bit cumbersome, thick and hard to break through, but it didn’t detract from an otherwise decent effort.
It was only after four or five mouthfuls that I reached half way and stopped. Morning tea sorted for the next day, all for the handsome price of $4.50. Not bad.
Filling: Standard bakers custard and fresh whipped cream 6.5/10
Pastry: Disappointingly soft, no flake or crunch 4/10
Presentation: Neatly assembled half and half filling, dodgy brown icing 6/10
Value for money: $4 - Average portion size, not top quality 5.5/10
Overall score: 5.5/10
With not being from the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I found Kerrie Road Bakery Cafe to have the best reviews in the immediate area I was visiting, so took a punt on a cheeky vanilla slice. I opted for the lesser seen chocolate iced French vanilla variety as the size disparity between itself and its Aussie cousin was notable. With the additional layer of whipped cream and chocolate icing as an alternative to traditional, the two changes made huge differences to the overall outcome. The cream was a bonus to an otherwise pretty average custard underneath. Though a nice smooth texture, the custard itself had little flavour to speak of. The pastry looked excellent from it’s side profile; delicately thin, tight layers of mid brown pastry. It was a complete surprise that the pastry had no crunch whatsoever when cut with a knife. It delivered no resistance to the knife; by no means soggy, but soft being in the optimum word. And that chocolate icing? Rubbish! Not a rich, indulgent chocolate taste, but a cheap cocoa aftertaste instead.
Filling: Whiter than white confectioners cream and flavourless custard 2/10
Pastry: Biscuity crunch and fresh 7/10
Presentation: Interesting layered construction, eye catching 7/10
Value for money: $3.60 - Medium portion, fresh but avoidable 3/10
Overall score: 4.75/10
A last minute decision to shop at Milleara Shopping centre gave me an opportunity to check out Milleara Bakery’s offerings once more. Their traditional vanilla slices looked woeful with neon yellow jelly-set custard, so instead opted for their ‘unique’ French Vanilla slice. At a reasonable $3.60 I was eager to see how confectioners cream would fair in the overall taste. The two layers of filling were almost tasteless when eaten individually. If not for the serviceable pastry that at least offered some saltiness and crunch, the whole thing would have been like eating a dollop of slightly sweetened air. The almost comically thick icing would not cut and was as hard as acrylic sheet. I removed and discarded immediately and ate the rest, with little good to remember.
Filling: Soft but average vanilla custard 6/10
Pastry: Well baked but not fresh 5/10
Presentation: Thick upturned icing layer with signs of yesterday’s 5/10
Value for money: $3.80 - Medium portion, lacking finesse and freshness 6/10
Overall score: 5.5/10
Out for a drive to keep the kids asleep on a Sunday afternoon, I drove through Westmeadows and pulled into their local bakery. After what felt like a lifetime waiting to be served, I risked the vanilla slice, pretty much guaranteed to be yesterday’s. Nevertheless, I sat in the car and quietly worked my way through the portion. It became evident that the icing was too thick and hard to break with a bite, so decided to peel it off the top layer of delaminated pastry . The creamy custard was similar to most vanilla slices around, with a tangy vanilla, powdered flavour. It had quite a nice soft texture, but there were signs of over exposure to the elements around the edge. The pastry was clearly well baked, and a nice biscuity thickness. Although it remained partially crispy, it would have been much better on the day it was baked.
Filling: Half decent custard 7/10
Pastry: Flaky and fresh, medium bake 8/10
Presentation: white glossy icing, raw sawn rectangle 7/10
Value for money: $5 - Small/medium portion, promised more 6/10
Overall score: 7/10
With a recommendation from a colleague that lives nearby, I drove through Kew East with intent. Vienna was a lovely little bakery, with room enough for one table and two chairs in the window and cake cabinets filled to the brim with fresh cakes and desserts. Selling their vanilla slices at a slightly higher than average $5 I was intrigued to see if the price translated into real quality ingredients. I was pleased to find a real custard nestled between the pastry sheets, thick and creamy with a hint of egg and a suggestion of vanilla, though I would like more. The pastry had taken a hammering in my car en route home, so the top layer had fallen apart and needed superficial reconstruction for my photo. Nevertheless, the pastry was quite good but I’ve had better; medium bake and flaky to the bite, but a richer, more golden bake would have been even better to offset the thick custard. The icing was my least favourite component. I couldn’t place the hidden ingredient, perhaps just lemon juice, but something tainted the flavour when eaten with the pastry and custard that I didn’t quite like. Beautifully glossy, delicately thin, but somewhat distracting in flavour. Overall, not bad and a welcome stop.
Filling: Proper eggy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Freshly baked, cumbley and delicate 8/10
Presentation: Tri-layer, Artisan, brûléed top 9/10
Value for money: $6 - Small portion, fresh and tasty but too expensive 7/10
Overall score: 8.2/10
A trip down to the bay led me back to Mordialloc, where I had an excellent vanilla slice from the Paris Hot Bread Bakery last time out. With another French themed Patisserie nearby, I couldn’t resist purchasing the last Mille-Fuielle styled slice in the cabinet. Clearly a lot of care goes into the construction of such items on offer; it’s own golden paddle, piped custard, crumbly flaky pastry and bruleed sugar on top gave the slice a very Artisan appearance. Selling at a hefty $6 for a relatively small but well crafted slice still could have been a waste of money if it’s taste didn’t live up to its looks. Luckily I was happy with all components. I was really pleased to actually taste eggy, creamy, vanilla custard or creme patissiere (like I make at home). I would have given the custard 10 if there was actual vanilla bean used instead of essence. The pastry too was on point; delicately thin, almost wafer like and fresh to the bite. The bruleed top was alright, but I’ve had these before and I’m not sure that blow torching the entire top sheet of pastry is necessary. Give me a good fondant icing any day! Worth the visit.
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