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
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.
Filling: Thick, slightly set vanilla custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Fresh, well defined layers and flaky 8/10
Presentation: Heavily dusted, great ratio of filling / pastry 8/10
Value for money: $4 - Medium/large portion, fresh and tasty 8/10
Overall score: 7.9/10
Central West Bakery in Braybrook was a good example of a Vietnamese/Aussie hybrid bakery done well. On offer they had a traditional vanilla slice, with thick white icing, a French vanilla with cream / custard and brown icing and this offering called a “custard vanilla slice” with the dusted sugar. I opted for his one as it looked the creamiest and contained the most custard, even though it was selling at 40 cents more than the alternatives. The custard, though slightly set, was creamy, sweet and with a hint of vanilla. Easy to eat with a fork or a good texture to consume with your hands as it wouldn’t squeeze out the sides. The pastry was really good; a rich, golden brown colour with neatly defined thin layers that crumbled with each bite. Worth a visit also for the large plane sculpture out in the car park that my boy loved.
Filling: Thick and lightly vanilla scented custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Freshly baked and flaky 8/10
Presentation: Tri-layer, rustic but inviting 8/10
Value for money: $7 - Medium/large portion, fresh and tasty 7/10
Overall score: 7.6/10
I rarely stroll up Errol Street, but found myself in the neighbourhood with Mrs B and the baby. I noticed Errol cafe advertising that they were also a Patisserie, so thought it wise to head inside to check out their cake cabinet. After exchanging a vanilla slice for a somewhat pricey $7 I left in anticipation, unable to immediately consume as I was carrying baby Snot Blog in the Bjorn and couldn’t risk the dusted sugar going in her eyes. After a little wait I got the slice out of its box, on to a park bench and then began to dig my teeth into its hearty cross section of custard and pastry. I was pleased that the pastry was light, flaky and golden. It allowed easy and seamless bites with minimal loss of custard out of the sides. So easy was the feast, that I actually managed to do it whilst walking along the pavement. The custard too was fresh and a thick viscoty, perhaps through an egg yolk or two. It had a definite vanilla inclusion, and was creamy and rather nice overall. A worthy inclusion into the Blog, but at $5 I think a more sensible price.
Filling: Gelatinous, heavy duty custard 4/10
Pastry: Soggy and pale 1/10
Presentation: School refectory styled - cling wrapped portion 5/10
Value for money: $3 - Huge slab, stale and poor quality 4.5/10
Overall score: 3.6/10
I broke my own sacred rule with this one, purchasing a vanilla slice in a cling wrapped, pre packaged portion from a bakery. I selected this monster of a slice over a more sensible and in truth, neatly presented offering from the pie shop round the corner, purely based on the huge amount of custard in the portion. Nevertheless, I consumed what I could of this and discarded what was almost inedible. Starting with the positives; the price and the soft and sweet icing that stuck like super glue to my fingers. Now the negatives - the huge layer of filling was merely set milky custard, but it’s not good when custard breaks away like crumbling cheese. Lastly, the pastry; clearly suffering from its plastic wrapping, the pale layers were almost wet with moisture and could be peeled back like a used band aid. This was not worth finishing. Next...
Filling: Average, on the turn vanilla custard 5/10
Pastry: Stale and useless 4/10
Presentation: Run of the mill rectanglular dusted effort 6/10
Value for money: $5 (estimate) - Average portion size, yesterday’s left overs 2/10
Overall score: 4.2/10
Taking out a vanilla slice, Portuguese egg tart and a vegan slice, the total set me back $14.50. Typically, Mrs B found the vegan slice to be uninspiring and didn’t want to finish it. Mum passed off half the egg tart to me as she was not satisfied and I didn’t consume the entire vanilla slice. Annoyingly the vanilla slice was yesterday’s, with stale peeling away from the ‘past it’s best’ custard. This actually made it easier to eat, as I spooned out the custard and left the lifeless pastry behind ready for the bin. Had this been fresh, it would still be very average. It’s the same that you see in most cafes around Melbourne, but for $5 dollars it’s a rip off. I might be inclined to shop elsewhere in Yarraville next time.
Filling: Loose consistency, slightly bland custard 6/10
Pastry: Flaky, buttery and rich 9/10
Presentation: Seen before Dulce de leche double base layer 8/10
Value for money: $5 (estimate) - Average portion size, authentic, delightfully fresh 8/10
Overall score: 7.75/10
I frequent Puckle Street regularly, and although I live in Essendon I like to think of this as my high street. Therefore, it came a shock to see a new bakery cafe of South American influence spring up in the last few weeks without notice. Similar to Dolce Bakehouse (reviewed in January) these guys were also selling lots of yummy treats with plenty of Dulce de Leche crammed in for good measure. This slice is approximately double in size to their rivals, and adequately priced. I might admit to their pastry being not quite as good but it was still fresh, crumbly and rich. To be honest, it was outstanding for a Sunday and if this was the norm I would be dishing out 10s every week for pastry. The custard was a bit of a let down; although a nice loose consistency with an excellent yellow hue the flavour just did not match. Missing any real vanilla hit and not overly sweet, I guess the inclusion of the burnt milk spread provided the additional sweetness lacking in the custard. My mum also loved her small but delicious chocolate custard profiterole. A welcome addition to Puckle Street and better than a lot of others in the area.
Filling: Smooth vanilla cream custard 7/10
Pastry: Not so fresh and a bit bland 5/10
Presentation: Average rectangular affair 6/10
Value for money: $3.50 - a nice little pick me up 6.5/10
Overall score: 6.1/10
Another mall, another bakery, another vanilla slice. This time Kathy Tran, or Yve’s Bakery as it appears to have been rebranded. The pleasantly sweet and smooth helping of vanilla custard was a winner. Coupled with the sweet and sticky icing with chocolate drizzle, this was also was rather good. The weakest part was the slightly rubbery pastry that was neither flaky or anything special. Half decent when on the go. Potentially baked early this morning, but more likely baked yesterday!
Filling: Low impact and minimal confectioners cream 2/10
Pastry: The main event, golden, rich caramel taste 9/10
Presentation: Rustic and unfinished, no icing or topping 5/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Fresh but not indulgent: slightly curious 5/10
Overall score: 5.25/10
I took a punt on a Vietnamese Bakery in St Albans offering a Napoleon slice; with mixed results. A curiously assembled sweet, noticeably heavy on the pastry and scrimping on a meaningful cream filling. Thankfully the pastry was excellent; a rich, golden almost burnt caramel tasting wedge, not delicate thin layers like most vanilla slices. Even though the pastry was excellent, the sheer amount of it in contrast to a filling made the whole thing a little like eating a dry weetbix. The filling was barely worth mentioning. No topping either. I also bought one of their egg tarts which was very tasty. Had they used their custard in between the pastry layers on this slice then the results might have been significantly different.
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