Sausage Roll Review: (not quite) Hurling on Hurtle Square

Colonel William Light’s vision for Adelaide included five public squares: Hindmarsh, Light, Victoria, Whitmore and Hurtle. Each has a distinct appearance and mise en scène and despite driving through it for decades I’d not enjoyed the latter’s leafy space.


Claire and I bought a late lunch from this state’s dominant petrol retailer and biggest private company: an On The Run (OTR) service station. Of course, its customers are rarely running anywhere as they’re in vehicles and as such are necessarily sedentary, and most outlets of this type haven’t provided any traditional service for epochs. Simply fill the car and then scoop up hideously overpriced drink and food and go to the cashier. The only service offered is a chirpily redundant, “Would you like your receipt?”


Hurtle Square is in the south-eastern corner of the city and mostly surrounded by low-rise apartments whose balconies look out over the greenery. Arboriculturally, this park is diverse with magnolia and thin pine trees and other trees in seemingly random arrangement. But I remember that like a late-period Steely Dan album, it’s possible to over-engineer.


I’ve a cheese and bacon sausage roll. It makes a positive optical impression with agreeable pastry that’s neither flaky nor oily, but my context is reminiscent of the soon-to-be-regecided King Duncan gazing upon Macbeth’s home when he remarks: this castle hath a pleasant seat.


Unsurprisingly, this pastry’s sinister mission is to protect an inferior filling, like a heavy-set Secret Service agent from a 1980s film starring Brian Dennehy. While it’s admirable, camouflage and strategic distraction are evident and I note that yet again subterfuge lurks in my simple foodstuff.


Its texture is uncertain and mushy, and I understand that sausage rolls don’t contain real sausages, but if this were encased and sizzling away on my barbeque in front of people both dear or of mere acquaintance, I’d have an acute case of Sausage Shame (SS). Knocking sullenly on the office door of my superior, I’d hand in my tongs and apron and barbequing badge (a scene from a different Brian Dennehy film).


The cheese I was promised is barely present. Instead it’s like the elusive memory of cheese from, say, my middle past, and in the manner of a Wordsworth conceit it’s both troubling but also hopeful in that one day I may again enjoy cheese, possibly in a sausage roll advertising such. In 2020, even cheese is complicated.


My longing deepens when I gaze over at the Coopers Alehouse. It began as the Earl of Aberdeen before Dame Edna Everage reopened it with a new name in 1987 (wouldn’t Sir Les Paterson been better placed to handle this?). Like many pubs it has a forlorn canvas advertising pick up only meals from 5-8pm.


Still, it’s a breezeless, mild May in our mostly safe and opportunely isolated state. SA’s had no new cases for twelve days and Audrey’s vintage coffee van was doing a lively trade this morning on the Glenelg North esplanade as I ambled through.


While my sausage roll was of motley quality Claire and I now turn to the next course of our alfresco eating: an unapologetically decadent vanilla slice with a calorific count probably beyond a K-Mart abacus.


As the Two Fat Ladies’ Clarissa and Jennifer used to rejoice, “Munch on, munch on, what a lovely luncheon!”


More sausage roll reviews from Mickey HERE


More stories from Mickey HERE


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About Mickey Randall

Now whip it into shape/ Shape it up, get straight/ Go forward, move ahead/ Try to detect it, it's not too late/ To whip it, whip it good


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Mickey, in my experience, bacon adds and improves everything it is included with. I’ve not experienced the bacon/sausage roll (with cheese) combo. Was the bacon even noticeable? Did it make an inferior filling slightly less inferior? Should bacon ever be served without egg? Are egg and bacon sausage rolls a thing in your nicely quarantined state? Which Coopers Ale is the drink match for pan fried bacon?

    Coopers Stout goes extremely well with a good vanilla slice…

  2. Thanks for that Luke.

    The bacon was subtle which is generally something bacon is not. If bacon’s an expected ingredient then people want it to be front and centre. In this case the bacon was much like the sad cheese. Egg and bacon sausage rolls in SA? If there’s a secret sausage roll version of the Ponds Institute then I reckon you’ve given them some fine inspiration. Coopers Ale and bacon? Unsure but sparkling ale matches with everything if you close your eyes and wish really hard!

  3. Perhaps Mickey, it’s time to start up some Vanilla Slice reviews? I would be most happy to help you with this.

  4. Excellent suggestion. I love this website, but there’s a terrible lack of vanilla slice content that must be rectified.

  5. roger lowrey says

    Mickey, whilst I would never question the substance of anything in your omnibus Ministerial portfolio of “Sausage rolls and the Little River Band”, are you aware that Ouyen is Victoria’s officially declared spiritual home of the humble vanilla slice?

    It worries me that Jeff Kennett had some involvement in this tourism initiative but never mind. You could put it on your must visit list, perhaps when you’re on your way to the Swan Hill three day Cup carnival in early June next year.

  6. Mickey,
    A little disappointing that you are now resorting to visiting service stations to review sausage rolls!
    Lift!! I know you can do better!!
    Coach Smokie

  7. Thanks Roger. Surely Kennett is the anti-vanilla slice. I see the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph has been in abeyance since 2011. Time to start lobbying Roger!

    Smokie- I know! I’m staying behind after training to run 10 laps.

  8. The concept that one could buy something from OTR which could be called “food”, even loosely, is quite beyond me. Get ya petrol and get out. As Smokie says, LIFT YA GAME !!

    Vanilla slices are all very well, but what about a lamington review or 2?

  9. I takes your point Bucko. However, when I lived just outside London it coincided with a certain Victor Lewis-Smith doing the restaurant reviews in Saturday’s Guardian. This was also when Charlie Brooker did TV reviews so I’ve never been more excited about buying the paper and used to take the dog up to the shop (it was also an Offie) and buy it with great enthusiasm at 8am when it opened.

    VLS once wrote of how taking the reviewing job a mate urged him to not only go to the posh joints but also fish ‘n’ chip places and servo outlets. So he did and this approach has stayed with me. He’s brilliant (although he gave it away after a couple years in 2005). Here he is on L’Enclume (as featured in The Trip)

    and here on a (dreadful) service station diner called Little Chef

    Thanks for reading and encouraging!

  10. Have enjoyed all your stuff, Mickey. Was somewhat tongue in cheek, but surely there must be a myriad of functioning small, local bakeries worthy of your earnest commentary! You could add in the lammies as dessert courses…the complete meal, sausage roll, lammie and a Nippy’s or Bickfords Iced Coffee. (Now that Farmers Union is overseas owned).

  11. Don’t mind a Nippy’s iced coffee, Bucko. Always found the traditional Farmers Union Iced Coffee not to my tastes. Now that intrastate travel’s allowed I sense a road trip with a bakery lunch!

  12. Can verify from a drive this arvo that Clarendon, Meadows and Strathalbyn are still in business. Good starters!! If you ever get to W.A., after they pull the wall down, there is a mob oer there whose name I forget, who make Spearmint flavoured milk, alongside the Iced Coffee and the other usual suspects. It is very good.

  13. Vanilla slices, that s easy bourkeys of woodend

  14. Sausage rolls in a buttered roll with tomato sauce that was a delicacy at our high school in Essendon, and the school has produced such players as the Maddens, Lloyd, Foulds, Paul HamiltonJude Bolton and I think Dane Swan, oh and ..Leach

  15. Rulebook says

    Entertaining as always,Mickey at present I may be currently spending a bit of time at said establishment
    I will partake one night this week

  16. Reckon we’ll be heading down south soon Bucko, given we’re now permitted so it’s likely we’ll pop in to one of those. Spearmint milk? Next time I’m in WA…

    Paubai- if all those boys ate the local delicacy then whom am I to judge? But tomato sauce and I have a complicated relationship as described here- Happy to take vanilla slice intel. Thanks.

    Good luck with that ‘Book. We’re heading into peak sausage roll season in our fair state!

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I think my parenting may have failed here Mickey

  18. I’m unsure but don’t think the local sausage roll industry is quite this evolved yet. However, Vili’s does a steak and greenpepper corn pie which sounds tasty (to a non-vegan)!

  19. Speaking of pies, I do remember a young boy at our primary school eating a very hot meat pie, which dripped meat onto his bare legs,he was wearing shorts, which started him crying and eating the pie at the same time, quite a sight, Though the pie was burning his legs, he would rather suffer the pain, than endure eating a cold pie! Strange but true, the allure of the meat pie to an Aussie boy. I must admit, I did find this image amusing,but I dared not laugh at the poor kid.

  20. Paubai- the horror of a scalding (scolding) meat pie is one well known to many, often caused as the pastry disintegrates. Utter disappointment as the pie you’re excited about collapses around, or, indeed, on you. Thanks for your thoughts and anecdotes.

  21. Yes, I think he was crying more at the disappoinment at not being able to devour the pie in peace, and less at the burning pie on his leg.

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