Sausage Roll Review: The Port Elliot Bakery

 

 

It’s a curious and startling world that offers up the first ABBA songs in four decades.

 

And, of course, both new tunes feature immaculate vocal melodies, a pretty piano line, and lyrics that are at once sad and grimly triumphant.

 

But are they really any good? Do we cut them extra slack just `cause they’re ABBA?

 

What if they were a fresh Scandinavian pop outfit, trying to break into the moo-sic business? Would they make it?

 

Imagine driving to work with the radio tuned to your local Wacky Crew on 99.9 FM. You know the recipe – two guys and a girl all laughing way too heartily at their own jokes and endless torrent of stories about their goofy spouse and madcap kids. Alongside the city’s widest mix of old and new musical slop. Our Wacky Host announces:

 

And that was our sixth song this hour by Pink. Up next is a new track by a group from Sweden called ABBA.

 

I wondered about all of this as I drove to the Port Elliot Bakery and speculated on the connection between ABBA and sausage rolls, as I often do.

 

In the world of South Australian regional bakeries its reputation is colossal, and I imagine, unrivalled. But is it justified? I’d never been in there but just like the Famous Five on Kirrin Island, I was about to find out.

 

Departing the Southern Expressway, I was suddenly stricken with that ancient fear. What if I arrived and the warmer was devoid of sausage rolls? In forsaken earthly bakeries, no-one can hear you scream. A phone order and all was sorted.

 

I put on my favourite sausage rolls are a-comin’ playlist (actually a CD of Tame Impala’s Inner Speaker) and stepped on the gas, as they say down south. Doubtless, there’d be gas a-plenty by mid-afternoon if my baked goods form held up.

 

My Korean kar pulled in across the road from the Port Elliot bakery. Actually, it was outside the Royal Family Hotel. I peered in the window and couldn’t see Charlie or Liz or Phil (in an urn above the fireplace). However, I bet Harry was out in the beer garden in a boisterous shout of Sparkling Ale with some old rugger types and to his grandmother’s limitless horror soon to request, ‘Eagle Rock’.

 

My sausage roll was huge and if frozen solid, could be used to rob a servo. The pastry was suitably flaky (like Port Adelaide in a home preliminary final as folks other than me might suggest) but not sweaty. Sweaty Sausage Roll Syndrome (SSRS) remains one of this province’s biggest killers of the over 30s.

 

I glanced up and saw their sandwich board on the footpath. It self-confidently declared, ‘Freshly Baked Daily on the premises.’ This seemed a minimal achievement to me and what should probably be a given in the bakery caper. By contrast how would you react to a sign saying, ‘All Goods Baked last July in a Distant Anonymous Country’? I thought so.

 

And while we’re applying some critical thinking to country bakeries, can anyone tell me if there’s a one that’s not award-winning for pies or lamingtons or vegetarian pasties? Yes, they all are because each has posters or signage festooned on the window telling you. It’s like the egg-and-spoon race at a church picnic. Everyone wins a prize even if it’s Best Mushroom and Goat Meat Pie – Barossa District, C Grade, 1994.

 

The sausage roll filling was peppery and hinted at delicate spice and delicious. It was a most excellent late lunch for a Wednesday. I actually bought two so Claire could sample one later, and that my research could be peer-reviewed. But she’s only coming down on Friday and it’s unlikely to survive until then.

 

So, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I’m off to listen to ‘Chiquitita’ and the rest of Abba Gold.

 

 

 

 

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About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. Benny and Bjorn sure can write a pop song. I was looking forward to the new ABBA tunes, but was a little disappointed. Not memorable in the slightest.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    What a day in the beer garden in a boisterous shout of Sparkling Ale with Harry would be!

  3. Roger Lowrey says

    Oh Mickey, you never let me down.

    May I even admit that the expectation bar for you on this one was elevated significantly as I could see in advance you were on your special subject so harder marks apply of course. But you still triumphed you good boy.

    Two separate but related points.

    First, it is manifestly clear that “Five on Kirrin Island” is a tear away fav of yours from Enid’s collection. This is not the first time you have referred to it.

    Almanac readers including your unworthy author may have many vices but lack of observation is not one of them. I can’t recall the book but, as a card carrying old EB fan as a kid, I probably did read it years ago. Kindly advise which second hand book shop in Dunstanville will have one.

    Secondly, I gave you four stars out of three for your fifth and twelfth paragraphs simply because you articulated them before I could. I take my hat off.

    RDL

  4. Port Elliott bakery as some great cakes.
    If there in summer the queue to get in at lunchtime can be 30-40 deep we saw.
    Great secondhand book shop around the corner called The Strand books and records, opposite the Hotel Elliott.
    Bowls club is a great spot with great views
    Just a very pretty spot Port Elliott

  5. Another cracking review.

    The world needs less Abba and Pink, and more Tame Impala and good sausage rolls.

  6. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Smokie- I listened to Abba’s new songs a few times but they made no great impact upon me. I reckon they wrote and performed songs that were instantly arresting; pop art of the highest calibre. They didn’t do “growers”.

    Luke- Agreed. That’s why he’s my favourite half Royal.

    Roger- I’m going to re-read Five go to Kirrin Island soon. I urge a viewing of Five Go Mad in Dorset with Dawn French Jennifer Saunders et al. It’s a great parody.

    Rodney- I had a poke about in the book and record store you mentioned. Well worth a browse. Later that afternoon I popped into the Hotel Elliot which is owned by former Australian speedster Shaun Tait. The bar service was frighteningly quick but despite ordering a pint of Coopers I was never sure what I was going to get. The first one was the best beer I’ve ever had while the next one was plonked down about five feet wide of me. The following one came to me half full…

    Greg A- taking my oldest to Tame Impala in December, should the virus allow.

  7. Thanks Mickey. Will try these sausage rolls during the school holidays.

    Kids warmed to ABBA at a very young age and we were always surprised how often an ABBA song turned up on the car radio. Not sure what FM station.

  8. As a regular travelling worker to this neck of the woods in past years, I too can confirm that in summer I have seen queues out the door and down to the corner. Probably mostly private school types at their summer hols, but still. It is a truly excellent bakery, never had anything sub-par there. The whole south coast is infested with them, Middleton, Goolwa also worth checking and used to be one in Victor, but unsure of its present status. You could make a much longer trip down there, my good man.

  9. Malcolm McKinnon says

    Strangely enough, I’m told that a bunch of mullet-headed rockers knocked out a rendition of that very song – “It’s a Long Way to the Shop, etc.” at Sunday night’s Brownlow Medal event in Perth! (Not sure if they were singing about the Port Elliott bakery though.)

  10. Daryl Schramm says

    “The wacky crew on 99.9FM”. Oh really Mickey. Very droll!
    Mount Compass bakery after golf a wet 12 months ago was special. I don’t like queueing so haven’t yet experienced PEB.

  11. Thanks everyone. Much to love down there. The refurbished Port Elliot Surf Club reopens soon and with its spectacular location will be worth a visit. Goolwa’s main drag is very handsome with its charming streetscape of old shops and attractive, lawned median strip. Victor’s first tee has one of the country’s best vistas, looking over the ocean from its elevated spot.

  12. So true that they didn’t do “growers”, Mickey.
    “S.O.S.” is one of the most perfect pop songs ever written.

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    My favourite Abba song is Oliver’s Army

  14. Smokie- if we were Rob and Barry in High Fidelity I’d give you my top five Abba songs and this would be the list-

    5. Honey, Honey
    4. The Winner Takes It All
    3. SOS
    2. Knowing Me, Knowing You
    1. Chiquitita

    Very good Swish. There’s a post in that: Great Songs Inspired by Abba.

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