Pastry: Tightly packed thin layers with some crispness 5.5/10
Presentation: Dubiously set, bulging filling 3/10
Value for money: $unknown - Medium portion size, day old so not fully consumed 5/10
Overall score: 4.5/10
Filling: Rubbery yellow custard 4.5/10
Pastry: Tightly packed thin layers with some crispness 5.5/10
Presentation: Dubiously set, bulging filling 3/10
Value for money: $unknown - Medium portion size, day old so not fully consumed 5/10
Overall score: 4.5/10
Mid afternoon on the Tuesday after the long weekend, my colleague informs me of a gift that he’d forgotten to give me earlier. From the cupboard and not the fridge he pulls out a brown paper bag with vanilla slice held within. He had picked it up yesterday heading home from Mount Buller, and had brought the slice in and left it in the cupboard! As not to seem rude, but slightly concerned about a potential upset stomach from its lack of refrigeration, I delicately plunged a finger into the rubbery filling that revealed itself to be pulled apart in chunks. I also endeavoured to nibble at the edge of the slice as to sample some of the pastry with the custard. Though a day old and unrefrierated for 6 or so hours, the pastry still had some life left in it, proving to be slightly crispy and clearly unaffected by moisture due to the solidified texture of the custard filling. Though this review might not be 100% accurate due to the nature of my tasting and unknown price,, one can deduce that the pastry when fresh probably would have been pretty decent, the custard not so much.
Filling: Heavily set, flavourless custard 4/10
Pastry: Soggy, bendy layers 3/10
Presentation: Rectangular, glossy white icing 5.5/10
Value for money: $5 - Overpriced, poor quality product 4/10
Overall score: 4.1/10
Stopping at San Remo to catch the pelican feeding, I indulged in a vanilla slice to snack on as I walked. It proved to be quite a disappointment. Compatrible in characteristics to a Ferguson Plarre slice, though not as tasty, it was let down by lacklustre pastry and heavily set custard. It was most likely baked the day before as the sheets of pastry had become soft and flexible when picked up. The custard too barely moved, and in fact aided the slice from falling to pieces like an adhesive. It also lacked notable vanilla content, creaminess and of course, a terrible texture. The icing was the best element, but icing alone cannot be enough to win me over. If only I was allowed to feed the pelicans with my unwanted slice, I wouldn’t have had to throw it in the bin. Interesting to note that San Remo Bakehouse offer discounted “yesterday’s bread”, but clearly not the case with their other products.
Filling: Oozy creamy custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Thin, fresh but not mind blowing 6/10
Presentation: Squarely cut and dusted with good proportions 7.5/10
Value for money: $4 - Good price to fulfilment ratio 8/10
Overall score: 7.25/10
With a trip out to the country came and opportunity to grab lunch on the go from Marysville Bakery. With the town seemingly to myself on a quiet morning I breezed in, ordered and disappeared in a flash. Selling at $4 a pop the vanilla slices looked pretty good in their takeaway boxes, with a fresh, fluffy custard most notable. In my first bite I inhaled some sugar which brought about a coughing fit, but I pushed through and ate the slice in no time. The pastry gave me reassurance of freshness, with a nice crunch with each bite, though the actual flavour and richness was not as good as it could have been. The custard was probably the best element; with a smooth, creamy and light consistency that oozed out of the sides with each bite. I narrowly avoided a custard spillage, successfully transporting all contents into my mouth with military precision. Not a bad stop, great curry pie is also worth noting.
Filling: Vanilla custard with rather nice chocolate mousse 8/10
Pastry: Disappointingly soft, not up to standard 3/10
Presentation: Not refined, somewhat messy, coffee icing 4/10
Value for money: $4.80 - Average portion size, not great 5/10
Overall score: 5/10
It’s rare that I drive through Woodend and don’t stop at Bourkies. In five years doing the Blog, the mocha vanilla slice has always eluded me. I’ve smashed all of their other varieties (vanilla, strawberry, passionfruit, raspberry fusion), all with excellent attributes. In finally taking out the mocha slice, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I’m not sure if Bourkies are using different pastry, or they were just having an off day, but the two sheets in this offering were lacklustre, soggy and barely baked. The chocolate mousse was really quite tasty; airy, sweet and a rich chocolate flavour. It worked well with the sweet, but still slightly bitter coffee icing, producing the mocha flavour as advertised. Hidden in the ensemble was still their traditional vanilla custard that in truth got lost in flavour, but was still very welcome. I feel that $4.80 is too steep for this ‘artisan’ variety and coupled with the poor pastry today, it really should have been more memorable for the right reasons.
Filling: Smooth, creamy custard 6.5/10
Pastry: Pale and lacking bite 4/10
Presentation: Average, overly thick white fondant icing 5/10
Value for money: $4.20 - Average portion size, easily forgettable 5.5/10
Overall score: 5.25/10
Romsey Hot Bread Bakery was my pit stop while driving to Edgar’s Mission. I took out a half decent looking vanilla slice, though dubiously pale looking pastry could have gone either way. When handled, I immediately felt the somewhat soft pastry, though I left my judgement for the bite and taste tests. The pastry was not awful, though it was a million miles from being buttery and flaky. It handled sufficiently to allow large bites of all layers, with a heavy icing being very overbearing on top. The custard was actually nice; milky, creamy and velvety smooth in texture, with a hint of vanilla essence. A decent enough effort, but not as good as others I’ve tasted in the Macedon Ranges.
Filling: Deliciously sweet, creamy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Thin with excellent biscuity crunch 9/10
Presentation: Run of the mill , square shaped with glossy white icing 7.5/10
Value for money: $4.60 - Medium portion, fresh and satisfying 8/10
Overall score: 8.4/10
With Horsham being a good half way pit stop between Adelaide and Melbourne, I fancied a late afternoon vanilla slice after the somewhat disappointing effort from Keith earlier in the day, Conways popped up on Google as having an excellent slice, so I drove through the town in search of greatness, I was not disappointed either. The slice sells for $4.60, which is slightly higher than most country towns selling similar sized and presented products. It’s presentation is typically Victorian, having now seen many insane varieties in neighbouring states. It was refreshing to have a flaky, crispy crunch from each bite. The delicately thin layers proved sturdy, functional and easy to chow down on. The custard too was very well constructed; sweet, creamy, vanilla flavoured and a nice, smooth, sticky viscosity. The icing was thin, simple and offset the pastry well, while not leaving sticky finger prints for my efforts. Overall a very good vanilla slice, potentially just a little overpriced.
Filling: Woeful pudding mix 2 /10
Pastry: Almost non-existent soggy layers 0.5/10
Presentation: Out of proportion, lacking finesse and love 2/10
Value for money: $3.90 - Small portion (thankfully) but mostly a throwaway job 2/10
Overall score: 1.6/10
Today I was duped. Duped big time. What looked to be a reasonable offering in a busy Bacchus Marsh Bakery, turned out to be a thing of vanilla slice nightmares. When unwrapping the goods, my first headache started when the bag had been welded shut by tacky icing, causing a series of pastry delaminations and any chance of picking up the slice left in the bag. Due to the suspect pastry layers the slice proved too much hassle to consume and was eventually thrown away. Soggy, white pastry and pretty awful pudding mix filling really is not worth the price tag of $4.20. Neither is the claim of ‘French style pastries’ on their window. The whole thing is confused and a real let down.
Filling: Seriously bad, slimey, flavourless ‘custard’ 0.5/10
Pastry: Pathetic, blonde layers, not up to task 1/10
Presentation: Half sized portion, somewhat unrefined 2/10
Value for money: $3.30 - Small portion, fresh but disasterous 2/10
Overall score: 1.4/10
Port Fairy served two purposes in my recent drive across the state - a toilet stop and a bakery endorsed by State Premier Daniel Andrews. Now, Daniel clearly didn’t have one of their vanilla slices, or if he did he has exceptionally low standards of his custard based pastries. Selling a huge $6 slab or half sized portion for $3.30 I opted for the more sensibly sized offering. Given the outcome of my rating, I’m satisfied this was the best option all round!
Firstly three layers of blonde, puffed pastry propped up the sloppy and slimey yellow tasteless filling. Custard would be a bold statement; it really beared little resemblance to custard whatsoever and had little distinguishing features. Daniel might be able to shed some light on the ingredients to the filling, as I could not.
A thick dusting of icing sugar was not enough to conceal the poor quality of the components underneath. With last year’s disappointment at a nearby cafe, Cobbs Bakery selling dodgy looking vanillas and now this, perhaps I might only use the toilet when in town next time.
Filling: Thick, eggy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Dark, buttery and tightly compacted flaky layers 9/10
Presentation: Neatly assembled, subtle pink coloured icing 8/10
Value for money: $3.90 - Small portion, fresh and delicious 8/10
Overall score: 8.5/10
Camperdown proved a worthwhile pit stop when heading back from my road trip across the State. I arrived late in the afternoon to find most shops closed, and with The Loaf and Lounge Bakery winding down for the day. Sat in the cake cabinet was one last solo vanilla slice as if fate had already decided it’s eventual consumer. At a reasonable $3.90 the slice was well conceived and offered good value for money overall. The pastry was an excellent dark brown colour, almost verging on burnt, but deliciously rich and salty. It crumbled and flaked when bit, but offered excellent stability when gripping. The custard too was a great recipe and texture; thick, eggy, dark yellow and sweet with vanilla. What let the slice down was the icing, which proved to be a synthetic raspberry flavour that sadly overpowered all the good elements of the slice. It was unavoidable to consume when the icing’s soft and gooey texture allowed finger print impressions to be made. Nevertheless, I was willing to overlook the taste of the icing in favour of the other great elements.
Filling: Lighter than air, creamy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Nicely baked crispness, but not super flaky 8/10
Presentation: Typical Snot Block appearance, matte white icing 8.5/10
Value for money: $3.60 (estimate) - Medium portion, fresh and fulfilling 9/10
Overall score: 8.6/10
Good pit stops can make or break a road trip, so when consulting Google Maps this time round I noticed Terang. Placing 3rd at this year’s Vanilla Slice Triumph in Mildura, their reputation has sky rocketed since last month’s success. Therefore it was only right to pull in to the sleepy town and sample their goods.
Firstly I worked my way through a rather nice curried beef pie and latte, then finishing on the ‘Award winning’ vanilla slice. Similar in presentation to it’s competitors at the show, but with a more muted white matte icing, sized appropriately and combined with other items the cost seemed fair and reasonable. The creamy, yellow filling was extremely light and full of vanilla flavour. It’s ratio to the thin layers of pastry was excellent. Though the pastry was fresh and crispy, it was not as buttery and flaky as others I’ve had. It proved an excellent element to chow down with each bite, but for me it wasn’t as memorable.
An excellent pit stop, a very nice vanilla slice and another award winning bakery off the list.
Filling: Beautifully soft and creamy vanilla custard 9.5/10
Pastry: Flaky and dark brown - outstanding 10/10
Presentation: White glossy icing, nothing out of the ordinary, well proportioned 9/10
Value for money: $3.80 - Medium portion, excellent value 10/10
Overall score: 9.6/10
Whilst driving back from Mildura, Mrs B informed me of the results from yesterday’s Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph. With two small kids in tow I wasn’t able to hang around for much longer than a bouncy castle session to hear the results in the flesh. An unknown bakery to me, Bridgewater Bakehouse had won the event. With Lady Luck on my side, Bridgewater was my pit stop for the return journey. It was evident from queuing in the bakery that they had had to up their game to keep up with the demand of such success. Already on their fifth slab and selling out fast by 2.30pm I took out a handful of slices myself. A reasonable price and decent sized portion also proved excellent attributes. I sat outside the bakery with my boy (not sure what he’s snarling at in the pic?) and braced myself. Pastry, excellent. Custard, excellent. Icing, excellent.
Best vanilla slice in the country as voted by the professionals. I have to say it has all the components to back it up. The pastry was an evenly dark, rich colour and milimeter thin and as flaky as you will find. It provided excellent stability for lifting the light and fluffy vanilla custard that was more airy than the previous slices I’ve eaten over the weekend. It reminded me of the Johnny Baker (Castlemaine) slice, with a slight mottled effect of cream/custard. It was exceptionally hard not to drop any as it squashed out the sides with each bite. These guys are going to be busy from now on. Congratulations, well deserved.
Filling: Better than average, fluffy custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Slightly pale and starting to go soggy in the box 5/10
Presentation: Almost glass like icing, average square offering 7/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Small/medium portion, but lacking conviction 6/10
Overall score: 6.4/10
My third slice of the Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph 2018 came from local Mildura bakery, Deakin. Upon my return back to Melbourne I read that they had taken the People’s Award, somewhat surprising to me after my critique the day before. Upon opening my $3.50 slice, it was immediately apparent that the pastry was soggy from its time in the plastic box. The pastry itself was a pale bake and a bit tasteless in comparison to the two slices I had smashed earlier. The custard was quite nice; a good smooth and light texture, but sadly lacking a real hit of vanilla in my opinion. The icing was just as good as Hudak’s and gave me something to clean off my fingers shortly after. Potentially a case of being a local bakery with sizeable fan base in the area? Well done Deakin.
Filling: Award winning vanilla custard 10/10
Pastry: Flaky, golden, thin and decadent 9.5/10
Presentation: Typically styled, white glossy icing 8.5/10
Value for money: $3 - Money well spent 10/10
Overall score: 9.5/10
A six hour drive the night before and waiting in anticipation, Hadak’s took centre stage in the market hall and I pounced. Last year’s winners of the Vanilla Slice Triumph, arrogantly only selling a double helping, set the bar high. My first slice of the trip and what a whopper. I felt my teeth nearly fall out after the first bite as it’s sickly sweet layers were chomped. With their bakery on the corner of the Langtree Mall, it’s not surprising how fresh these things were. Dark, flaky pastry kept the rich, yellow vanilla custard at bay and the icing was as thin and smooth as you’ll see. Hellish sweet, delightfully morish, and they got my vote for the people’s choice....shame they didn’t win. Off to a good start and the second slice doubled up as an excellent breakfast the next day.
Filling: Creamy pudding mix, overly sweet 5/10
Pastry: Lightly coloured, thin layers, crispy and fresh 6.5/10
Presentation: Interesting cube construction, slab of icing on top 6/10
Value for money: $4.90- overpriced for the ingredients, but fresh and large 6/10
Overall score: 5.9/10
With the two year old refusing a nap I decided to drive out to the country, calling into Gisborne. I’d never seen the Bakery & Cafe in my previous visits so decided to call in and see what they had to offer. A rather appealing French vanilla slice selling at a reasonable $4.90 was purchased and I got back into the car for more forced sleep driving. On opening the bag at home (toddler now asleep thankfully) I noticed the third layer of pastry nestled inside the heavy layers of cream. I cut the slice into pieces as it was too large to pick up and immediately felt the crunch of the pastry, then a whack of sweetness from the pudding mix flavoured cream and heavy layer of icing. I was really let down with the quality of the cream as I was at least expecting some vanilla flavour and coupled with the icing the whole thing made my teeth furry. Fresh yes, tasty....not really.
Filling: Tasteless, overly sweet, whipped mixture 4/10
Pastry: Underbaked, soft and lifeless 4/10
Presentation: Proprtionally OK, pale pastry layers, butreasonably well assembled 5.5/10
Value for money: $3.90 - Pocket sized portion, not very satisfying 5/10
Overall score: 4.6/10
A drive out to the Macedon Ranges to observe the stunning autumn leaves falling took me through picturesque Riddells Creek. I called in at their bakery, especially loving their old school wooden display cabinets filled with vintage bakery items like jam tarts and raisin biscuits. I took away a slightly smaller than average vanilla slice and chomped it whilst watching the world go by. What lets down the slice the most is the ingredients of the pastry and custard. The pastry tasted like it contained margarine and was very pale and was already starting to absorb moisture from the filling, though clearly freshly baked. There was a distinct lack of puff, crunch or resistance to the bite. The custard too tasted like packet mixture that I have found in numerous slices throughout my journey. It was light and fluffy but offered no richness and overall a lack of meaningful flavour. The icing was the best element if truth be told; millimeter thin, sticky to a finger grip and not overly sweet.
Filling: Thick, slightly gelatinous but tasty vanilla custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Fresh, crispy and up to the task 7.5/10
Presentation: Commanding stature, overkill on the icing 7/10
Value for money: $5 (estimate) - Huge portion, fresh and mostly fulfilling 7/10
Overall score: 7.25/10
Driving through Wallan gave me an opportunity to swing by Pretty Sally Bakehouse for a takeaway coffee and brick sized vanilla slice. The slice looked intriguing in the glass cabinet, a deep yellow mound of custard topped with a thick layer of whiter than white icing and heavy chocolate lines. I anticipated the icing being overly sweet and somewhat unnecessary, and my estimation was indeed correct. The sheer size of the slice made it hard to wrap my mouth around in one cross sectional bite, so I had to nibble tentatively to avoid total collapse. The custard had a slightly more set texture than I was expecting. But having said that it was very creamy and sang with sweet vanilla. The pastry also held the filling very successfully, and broke apart in flaked sections with each bite. I feel that a dusting of icing sugar would have made this monster so much more rewarding. Clearly the bakery take time to deliver freshly made goods, so in my opinion they should ditch the 1cm thick icing. Also, decent coffee if driving through.
Filling: A poor pudding mix 4/10
Pastry: Soft, unerbaked and tasteless 4/10
Presentation: Very rustic, turgid and sad 4/10
Value for money: $4.20 - big portion, poor quality and a throwaway job 3.5/10
Overall score: 3.9/10
After a failed effort at the Laneway Espresso in Dromana for a homemade vanilla slice en route to a day at Rosebud beach I opted for a ‘Last chance saloon’ effort at the only local bakery selling one. The decor was traditional 1950’s, the ice coffee from a recycled milk carton and the vanilla slice made in house using a tried and tested old school recipe. The pastry was pale and sorry, dropping at the edge and unable to sustain the pressure of a bite. Lacking colour, texture and finally taste, it was a big anti climax. The custard too offered little to nothing; straight from a packet mix, it was milky, sweet and textured with a setting agent. This was your school canteen vanilla slice if ever I saw one. A poor effort after a hot day on the beach and after a few bites a throaway job.
Lastly, don’t have a slogan on your window advertising “Best food on the peninsula” unless you cannot offer anything of such quality, or at least tell people who don’t get sarcasm that its a joke.
Filling: Gloopy but very custardy tasting custard 6/10
Pastry: Fresh and crisp, but too thick and overbearing 6/10
Presentation: Glossy pink topped square 7/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Smaller than average portion, but fresh and tasty 8/10
Overall score: 6.75/10
Heading out to Healesville for the day I pulled into Yarra Glen for morning tea. Recommended to me by Angela Fleay via Twitter, I was keen to see what they had to offer. With two types of vanilla slices to choose from I controversially selected the pink iced vanilla slice and not the dusted, more creamy French vanilla. A slightly smaller than average portion was served to me on a plate, and I could immediately see from it’s lack of wobble that the custard was quite firm in its construction. What’s more, the pastry was quite thick and pale in colour. Thankfully upon its first bite the pastry revealed itself to be fresh and allowed for some fairly easy mouthfuls. The custard was thicker and more rubbery than I would have liked but again the flavour was quite nice. The filling reminded me of day old homemade custard my mum used to make from a packet mix back in the day - I would always poke my nose into the fridge and eat it with a spoon when no one was looking. The icing was better than expected, exceptionally sticky to the touch and heat from my fingers only made it more gooey. I was expecting a smack in the face of oversweetened, synthetic strawberry or raspberry flavouring. Luckily it was quite muted and quite pleasant, with a gentle raspberry flavour running through with each bite.
Filling: Sadly lacking flavour, floury custard 5/10
Pastry: Soggy inside and cardboardy elsewhere 4/10
Presentation: Tri-layer construction, heavy gloopy icing with cocoa pattern 7/10
Value for money: $6.50 - big portion, big price, little satisfaction 5/10
Overall score: 5.25/10
Feeling like I had nothing left to loose after the farmers market I settled for a second vanilla slice of the day, from what turned out to be a lovely coffee stop at Grist Artisan Bakers. Perhaps these guys specialise in many other baked goods, but unfortunately I specialise in vanilla slices and in my opinion - they do not. This thing was pricey and big in size. The custard looked like it was bulging out the sides and I was expecting a vanilla cloud of freshly whipped creamy custard to meet my taste buds. What ensued was a rather heavy textured creamy, floury tasting custard, lacking any real vanilla flavour whatsoever. I can only describe the flavour as slightly tangy. The pastry too was unusual ,in as far as the middle layer being completely soggy and the other two layers being quite dry and hard to punch through. The layers lacked richness, butteriness and flakiness. The icing looked like something I had once concocted; thick, plasticy and way too much cocoa overpowering the flavours of the slice. Not what I’d expect from an Artisan Bakers.
Filling: Light as air creamy vanilla custard 8/10
Pastry: Freshly baked, crisp and easy to bite through 8/10
Presentation: Your stereotypical Aussie vanilla slice 8/10
Value for money: $4.00 - a decent product for the price, but not memorable 8/10
Overall score: 8/10
En route to the Macedon Ranges Farmers Market in Kyneton I pulled into Country Cob to eagerly taste their award winning apprentice made vanilla slice at last years Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph. This thing is traditional in every way, resulting in a very uniform and familiar build and taste. The pastry, although not baked to a golden brown, had an excellent crunch that allowed for easy pickup and biting. There was obviously some oozing of the custard, but that is to be expected. With some more butter and a darker bake, more flavour would have carried through - but it was fresh and flaky nonetheless. The custard was soft and light and not overly sweet. An undertone of vanilla was present but I fear a mix of some kind was used to thicken the cream rather than egg yolk. In truth the icing was the weakest element, slightly grainy and too thick, it was oddly not even that sweet. You can see why these guys took out the awards last year, but diverting from the mainstream is a lot more innovative in my opinion.
Filling: The perfect ratio of vanilla speckled cream / custard 10/10
Pastry: Crisp, buttery, golden, flaky and divine 10/10
Presentation: A large, skinny slice, beautifully cut and dusted heavily 9.5/10
Value for money: $6.50- Pricey, but huge, filling and glutinous 9.5/10
Overall score: 9.75/10
I heard through the grape vine that a small patisserie in Castlemaine sold an awesome vanilla slice so I took the hour or so drive out to the country to check it out. The ex pastry chef and owner of the French Lettuce in Carlton runs this place - and I'm pretty sure most people consider that to be the best vanilla slice in Melbourne (but not me). A cute little setup they have here; an unassuming shop frontage, a few deck chairs out front and the bakers crafting away in the background plying their excellent trade. Everything on offer here looked awesome and fresh. Mrs B took out a ham and cheese croissant and a passion fruit eclair chocked full of passion fruit custard - like no other she had ever experienced.
My vanilla slice was a monster; thin, but long and tall and weighty in its build. Layers of beautifully baked golden flaky pastry held together the slice, allowing for easy pickup and efficient big bites. The pastry was so buttery and rich, fresh, crisp and slightly salty - as good as you'll get anywhere. The filling was truly unique and a bit of a game changer. A marbled mixture of vanilla bean eggy custard and folded whipped cream made this thing everything I had hoped for. It was rich, creamy, eggy, and each mouth full was an attack on my taste buds with delicate vanilla bean speckles running throughout the mottled goodness. A generous blizzard of icing sugar finished off this masterpiece.
A quick Q&A:
Filling: Heavy whipped cream 6/10
Pastry: Beautifully fresh and flaky, faultless 10/10
Presentation: Nicely constructed and delicately iced 8/10
Value for money: $6.50- Over priced, but freshly baked and rich 6.5/10
Overall score: 7.6/10
I love a drive out to the countryside and barely need an excuse to pop into a boutique town and test their bakery out. Today was Malmsbury, and their tri-layer effort was devoured al fresco in the sun. At $6.50 we got off to a rocky start. Clearly they price their vanilla slice highly as the average around these parts is around $4. Admittedly the pastry was outstanding - the overall highlight. With clearly defined, thin, crisp, salty and buttery layers of flaky pastry the whole thing was straightforward to cut up with a cake fork. Unfortunately the filling of purely whipped cream was a let down. I would have expected some custard flavour or a whack of vanilla, perhaps even some jam....but no. Another plus was the millimeter thin layer of perfectly presented icing that balanced the saltiness of the pastry. A few tweaks (including the price) and these guys would have an excellent product.
Filling: Delicious tasting, overly set vanilla custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Hideously under baked and soggy 3/10
Presentation: Somewhat unique and pretentious 4/10
Value for money: $7- Ridiculously priced and well below par 3.5/10
Overall score: 4.5/10
A trendy Melbourne styled cafe in Port Fairy selling a decent coffee and freshly baked pastries is what I envisaged. Admittedly the coffee was great, but the vanilla slices being sold her are extremely confusing. Lets start with something positive - the flavour of the custard. With speckled vanilla bean running throughout the mix, the creaminess coupled with the sweet vanilla was delicious. However, the mixture suffers from far too much cornflour or setting agent and the texture resembled more of a panna cotta than a lush custard. Surrounding the custard were some very sad and under baked layers of 'pastry'. Although a good thickness they were just too soggy and offered nothing to the ensemble. And as for the lemon...Perhaps lets not even go there. A word of advice Bank St & Co - Get the product right, then price it accordingly.
Filling: Foamy sweetened cream, nothing else 5/10
Pastry: Invisible and undetectable 1/10
Presentation: Plump squares of cream with a pink hat 5/10
Value for money: $3.50. Better looking in the cabinet, impossible to eat 5/10
Overall score: 4/10
These vanilla slices looked half decent in the cabinet, but sadly mine got trounced in the takeaway bag. The icing had to be peeled off the bag's inner wall and transplanted back onto the slice. I have never eaten a vanilla slice where the pastry has actually gone M.I.A. I've had my fair share of soggy, stale, too thick, too thin, dry and flavourless pastry layers, but never have I had a slice that made me actually ask "Is there pastry in this thing?". If there was pastry here, it was a hairs width at best and practically undetectable to the taste buds. Furthermore, it allowed the cream to ooze out with every bite and half ended up on the floor. The icing was also too sweet on top of the already sweetened whipped cream.
Filling: Swiss cheese custard mix 3.5/10
Pastry: Under baked but a slight crisp 4/10
Presentation: Old school, traditional passionfruit topping 7/10
Value for money: $4.00- Pretty average all round 5/10
Overall score: 4.9/10
Stop one of a long drive to the South Australian border. Very traditional vanilla slices are being sold at this trendy little bakery in Winchelsea - the ADHD pink icing offering or the passionfruit icing variety. Obviously selecting the latter, I chomped this thing down quickly. Its consumption benefited from being set like a jelly rather than an oozing custard bite scenario. The custard was bland and pretty flavourless, as were the anemic pastry layers. The only real sweetness came from the icing, which was actually the highlight of the slice. A welcome pit stop but not a great vanilla slice.
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