National Sausage Roll Day is a celebration of a glorious snack and a cultural institution. Like Brexit, lockdown parties and bathtubs full of baked beans, sausage rolls are a common feature of life in Britain. You’ll find them at birthdays, funerals, work events and stag dos and they’re everywhere because they’re cheap, delicious and easy to source. The ubiquitousness of sausage rolls is matched only by their deliciousness and these baked treats bring smiles, as well as crumbs, to the faces of millions.
I ran and swam this morning in the hope of counterbalancing the filthy fried egg sandwich that I was desperately craving. I’ve known about Fika for ages, from when I used to live close by, but I’ve only recently started going. Fika is a tiny place in the middle of Hove, situated across from the Town Hall. An open kitchen churns out food and coffee and there’s more space outside than in. The tables outside get bathed in sunlight and remind me of the coffee shops I used to frequent on Brunswick Street in Melbourne.
Today is my birthday and this morning I was thinking about the past, specifically, how events half a lifetime ago continue to play on my mind. As a child, I remember being told that my eyes were bigger than my belly and that expression seemed strange to me. Whilst I try not to take things literally these days, lunch at The Urchin in Hove proved that when it comes to portion size, I continue to be ambitious.
Perranporth was the prettiest stretch of coastline that I’d seen since arriving in Cornwall. The beach was long and sandy and the waters were clear, making it ideal for spotting jellyfish. Splashing about in the waves reminded me of the Cornish beaches that I visited as a child and around midday, my stomach starting rumbling. After some deliberation about possible lunch venues, we stopped into the Cornish Pantry, a tiny place with a couple of ladies behind the counter. I opted for the traditional steak variety, figuring it would be good to compare to the one I’d had from Nile’s in Fowey the day before. The pastie from the Cornish Pantry was called traditional steak and cost £4.75. It was similar in size and shape to the one I had in Fowey but the pastry was a little bit more coarse. Inside, the filling was meaty and there was plenty of veg but it lacked the rich gravy that I’d so enjoyed at Nile’s.
I visited Fowey for the first time today, after spending the morning at a nearby beach. My wife and I parked up in Fowey’s main carpark and then descended into town via steep and narrow roads. Following the steady steam of tourists, I thought about how since arriving in Cornwall, I’d let myself down. We’d been here since Monday afternoon and I’d yet to eat a Cornish Pastie but all that changed when I caught sight of Nile’s Bakery.
Exeter is somewhere I’d have liked to have gone to university but until today, I’d never visited. Most of today was spent in the car, as my wife and I drove from Hove to Cornwall. Both places being on the coast should have made the going easy, but the heat was grim and several stops were needed. The longest stop we made was over lunchtime, where we found ourselves in Exeter and happened upon Hub Box.
Last Wednesday, I played tennis for the first time in over a year and afterwards, treated myself to pizza from Passione Napoletana, a food van parked up on Dyke Road. Growing up in the 90s made me somewhat suspicious of food vans. Back then, food vans were a staple of B&Q carparks and mostly sold greasy burgers and hot dogs with fried onions. Passione Napoletana is different and a great example of how fresh and tasty food can be got cheaply.
At a certain point in the evening, especially after a couple of beers, I start to think about Grubbs. So it was yesterday when I was out for a drink at the Farm Tavern. All week, I’d been obsessing over the news and it felt delightful to celebrate the demise of Boris Johnson. I like the Farm Tavern for many reasons but lately they’ve started serving Hereford Pale Ale. After a couple of pints of that, the need for a burger began to swell inside me.
With house prices in Hove being what they are, I often find myself looking along the coast in the direction of Worthing. I swim at Hove Beach most days and when the weather is clear, Worthing Pier is visible on the horizon. Worthing isn’t a place I’d spent any time in, only somewhere that I’d driven through on driving lessons but lately, my Google news feed has been suggesting me articles about it. Those articles talked about how Worthing gets neglected in comparison to the neighbouring towns along the coast and also how it was sure to be a top destination this summer, with more people holidaying in the UK.
Rogman is my local butcher, a tiny place on Farm Road, that sits across from a couple of pubs that I like and often frequent. There’s nothing fancy about the shop but that’s the appeal. Prices are listed on up on the wall, music plays from the radio and meat is broken apart on huge chopping blocks. Each time I’ve been there, a steady stream of people have come and gone, whilst the butchers pieced together orders for local restaurants and every day customers alike. Rogman have a website where you can place orders and in person, the staff are friendly and helpful. Since discovering it after moving to a flat close by, I haven’t bought meat from a supermarket and that makes me feel better about the animals I eat.
Uncle Sam’s on Montpelier Road is a tiny takeaway serving burgers and sides from a hole in the wall.
Sometimes, you can be in a room and know that you’ve been there before. So it was on Wednesday night at Apothecary in Shoreditch. I used to work close by on Leonard Street and years back got taken for lunch in the site that Apothecary now occupies. My boss at the time had wanted to impress a potential hire and we ate steaks and drank nice wine.
I went to London yesterday and had a lunch spot in mind. I didn’t know anything about Pho Brunch or the food they served, but I’d walked past them on a previous visit and that day, I’d seen an a-board out front, advertising a lunch deal.
The Indians Next Door have a small street food stand outside of Euston station and I found myself there on Friday morning, before boarding a train to Birmingham. My time in the Midlands was made memorable by lunch at Anderson & Hill and dinner at Bonehead, but on the morning of travel, it took me several trains and trip on the tube to get to Euston. I’m rarely in London these days and miss it whilst away but stopping in the capital even briefly makes me feel more stressed than usual. Life is calmer and quieter on the coast but when I step off the train in London, I rush and weave through the crowds.
Bonehead in Birmingham serve the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. The only problem is the vampiric thirst that follows.
Birmingham doesn’t have the landscape or drama of the Cinque Terre but a trip to Anderson and Hill, got me thinking about places and food that I love. I went there this week for lunch, when up in the midlands with work and it’s a deli that I’ll be returning to.
Today is National Sausage Roll Day but you knew that already. This morning, after setting off early and driving down from Derbyshire, I found myself walking along the backstreets of Hove, pushing the pram and looking for baked goods I’d yet to try. The Real Patisserie on Western Road is a favourite haunt of mine but by the time I arrived, the weekend crowds had cleared the place of pork-based treats. Not wanting to leave the ocassion uncelebrated, I opted for the last Vegan Spiced Lentil Sausage Roll, thinking it was about time that I broadened my pastry horizons and gave the plant-based variety a try.
I’m at the in-laws for the Bank Holiday Weekend and all around the village there are signs of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In the trees, bunting is hanging and posters on bulletin boards advertise the planned activities. It seems busier here than usual and I keep wanting to remind people that tomorrow is National Sausage Roll Day. I don’t because not everyone has the same passion for pastry that I do.
Vegan sausage rolls are a variety of snack that I’ve long neglected. When faced with a pastry counter piled high with baked goods, I find it tough to turn down pork. Thankfully though, I have a man on the ground in the Midlands, willing to partake in the eating, reviewing and rating of plant-based pastry. This dispatch comes from Tristan.
Myself and fennel have history. Previously, on a trip to Brod + Wolf, too much of the stuff and not enough pork, left me with the bitter taste of disappointment. In life, as with sausage rolls, you have to be prepared to confront negative experiences, leaving room for reappraisal.
Train journeys, much like road trips are better with snacks. So it was today, as I travelled from London to Brighton. My train pulled into St Pancras and there was six minutes before my next. I could have run and caught the connection but opted instead to take a leisurely stroll to the platform via Marks and Spencer. Perhaps it’s the unfamiliarity but I’ve always found shopping in M&S to be thrilling. Inside, the shelves are stacked with everyday items that seem somehow exotic. These days, with prices rising and the cost-of-living biting hard, money matters but with work paying for lunch, it felt wrong to forgo an opportunity to try the Marks and Spencer Mini Cocktail Sausage Rolls.
iving second chances can be rewarding and so it was this morning, as I walked around Hove in the spring sunshine. I pushed my young son in his pram and delighted in the quiet that the streets were missing all of yesterday. As I walked, I felt lucky to have escaped the hangovers that marked the long weekends of yesteryear. In the past, I’d have been returning home whilst others got their coffee. Now, I had an excuse to go to bed early and be more responsible.
The Sussex Peasant is farm shop that pitches up in parks around Brighton and beyond. They sell a wide array of delicious produce, the kind that makes you feel good for shopping locally. I had no intention of eating a sausage roll today but felt the urge, as I pushed my young son around the park in his pram. My desire to walk was spurred on in part by a hangover and also by the results of a BMI calculation that told me I’m overweight.
Getting a haircut should be relaxing and I needed that after a stressful few days. Gwydyr Hairdressing Saloon is a calm little place close to my flat and this week saw them open their long-planned munch bar. I love efficiency almost as much as pastry and so being able to get a sausage roll and a haircut in the same place was the ideal antidote to my worries. Now I just have to hope my hair keeps growing as the same rate.
I don’t often eat sausages from a jar but for Superbowl Sunday, I was willing to make an exception. The Superbowl is something that I look forward to each year. It’s an excuse to stay up late and gorge myself on snacks, whilst revelling in the spectacle of gross excess. I love how ludicrous it is and how protracted the evening can become. Watching it can feel like an endurance exercise and one that requires plenty of fuel.This year, alongside the light beers, pretzels, popcorn, M&Ms and selection of maize-based snacks, I bought some Wikinger Hot Dogs. Sausages in a jar were a far cry from the meat that I buy at the fancy butcher in Hove and through eating them, I confirmed something that I knew all along, that sausages in a roll are not the same as a sausage roll.
Are the people behind Coffeetzar mad men or are they innovators? I’m still not quite sure but my visit there was memorable. After a stressful morning, I’d gone for a coffee and a slice of cake but couldn’t help but try the sausage rolls, if only to find out if the flavour matched the appearance. The sausage rolls on offer stood out because the meat filling was dark and poked out beyond the end of the pastry. There was something unsettling, even ominous about them but they may have just been my mood.
With plentiful pastry available around Hove, I find myself mostly drawn to sausage rolls. The problem here is that I neglect the humble Scotch egg and I shouldn’t. When done properly, there’s something deeply satisfying about them. The crunchy outside and the meaty filling can be an utter delight, especially on days when the coastal wind whips through the many layers of clothes that you’re wearing. Having been out in that wind to complete Parkrun first thing, I felt in need of a treat. Thankfully, Canham & Sons were close by and open for business.
Sometimes, decisions get taken out of your hands and you’re forced to act. Today was such a day. I was walking around Brighton when the rain began to fall. Thankfully, the Flint Owl Bakery was beside me and so I went inside for coffee. I hadn’t planned to eat a sausage roll today but the baked goods looked appealing, waiting expectantly in their display case. It’s important in life to try and make the best of any situation. When rain starts falling, pastry comes calling.
Cafe Coho is a fine addition to Hove’s sausage roll scene. Serving small plates alongside excellent coffee, the cafe is a superb spot to sit in the sun and watch the world.
Truffles Bakery, Uckfield was a welcome sight on a rainy Saturday. After a morning spent shopping, I felt hungry and tired and in need of somewhere to sit and recover. Being unfamiliar with Uckfield, I’d walked a while in the rain, looking for a sandwich shop but was relieved to spot a branch of Truffles Bakery.
It’s been a long year and at times recently, I felt as if I were limping towards Christmas, desperate for a break and for time to do nothing. Christmas is the season of giving and as such, I thought that I’d treat myself to an experiment in pork and pastry. It’s oft been said that effort can get you a long way in life but this experiment taught me, not for the first time, that some skill is required also.
The best things in life are unexpected. So it was with the pork and mustard sausage roll that I bought today from Canham and Sons. Now, I’m no stranger to this purveyor of pastry. Canham and Sons is a regular stop on my weekday walks but I tend to avoid it on Saturdays, for fear of the queues.
I’d visited to the Brighton Sausage Co. many times before but thoughts of their pastry propelled me forward as I braved the bracing Brighton weather. Town was busy with hordes of slow moving strangers, out in search of Christmas bargains and as I moved with the crowds, I passed numerous people, tucking into tubes of steaming pastry. Heroes, I thought.
The Butcher is a short story about what happens when you see a stranger outside of their place of work.
This morning, after an appointment at the hospital, I couldn’t resist returning to Castles of Kemptown, the site of our top rated sausage roll. I was delighted to discover that alongside their usual treats, Castles had rolled out a selection of Christmas sausage rolls. After a brief deliberation, I opted for one filled with pigs in blankets, stuffing and an apple and pear chutney. With flavours this big and consistently excellent service, I fear that won’t be my last Christmas sausage roll.
Castles of Kemptown is a tiny café, just along the road from the Royal Sussex Hospital. I visited there on a blustery September morning, when the sea was wild and the seasons seemed to suddenly change. The clientele were mostly builders and the two staff working were exceptionally friendly. There was a wide array of freshly baked goods on offer, including cakes and pies but the selection of sausage rolls caught my attention. Those tasty little rascals had a rustic, homemade look to them that hinted at their deliciousness. I went to Castles of Kemptown with no expectations or prior knowledge of that part of Brighton but left feeling ecstatic at discovering a snack to top the sausage roll leaderboard.
There are several branches of the Flour Pot Bakery scattered around Hove but the one that I visited sits on a corner of Portland Road. It’s a good spot for a coffee, cake or a loaf but somewhere that I’ve not visited since moving closer to Brighton. Recently, I’ve been reminded of my previous visits when passing by on driving lessons. I’m yet to discover if distraction by pastry is a minor or major fault.
Gail’s Bakery sell a fantastic array or breads and baked goods. They’re situated on the corner of Church Road, at the bottom of George Street and close to my old flat. There’s better and cheaper bakeries around Hove but I’ll stop by if there’s no queue out front. Going to Gail’s reminds me of living in London. When working in Soho cocktail bars, I would stop at their branch on Wardour Street for coffee before shift.
Down to Earth Coffee is situated beside Palmeira Square in Hove. The front of the shop has large glass windows displaying handsome looking baked goods. Due to Covid, I’ve only ever been served through the doorway but it looks comfortable inside and much like a Melbourne coffee shop. Down to Earth Coffee have a second branch in Brighton but I’ve yet to visit.
The Flying Coffee Bean is a kiosk in the main concourse of Brighton Station. There are usually a few people queuing there for coffee, before heading through the ticket barriers to a waiting train. Service is efficient and the coffee is good, the smell of which fills the air. I stopped there before taking the train to London and then Liverpool for a stag do. With stomach lining in mind and a long journey ahead, I bought a sausage roll and wished I hadn’t.
Brod + Wolf is a fancy coffee shop on Church Road in Hove. Inside, the shop looks like a furniture magazine with walls painted the same colour as my living room, oversized light fixtures, plants and comfortable chairs to calm the patrons. The coffee is excellent but the sausage rolls left much to be desired.
Colemans Deli is a bakery and sandwich shop in the Derbyshire town of Hathersage. It’s a great place to stop off after a long walk along the Moors or after wandering around the bright lights of town. Two varieties of sausage roll were on offer and I went for the pork, caramelised onion and blue cheese variety.
Critchlows Farm Shop is a butcher and baker in the Derbyshire town of Bakewell. They supply sausage rolls to the Grindleford Community Shop, where this particular sausage roll was purchased. The quality of produce and competitive prices at Critchlows made me marvel at the north of England. If in Hove, this sausage roll would easily have been double the price.
Croque Shop is a sausage roll hotspot, situated on a busy street in the centre of Brighton. There are plenty of other places for pastry close by but Croque Shop stands out for their competitive pricing and wonderful window displays. It’s a great place to grab a roll on the move, before continuing through the winding streets towards the coast.
Arundel Castle is enormous and staggeringly impressive. I visited on a drizzly day in August and was awed by the scale and beauty of the place. The grounds are immaculately kept and the castle is home to a vast array of exhibits, from implements of war to paintings by Van Dyke, Gainsborough and Reynolds. Power and privilege emanate from the cavernous spaces inside the castle and speak to a level of wealth and status that few will ever know. After the drive down from Hove and some milling around the grounds, I stopped off at the coffee shop for a sausage roll. No day out is complete without baked goods.
Granier Bakery Cafe is situated near the centre of Brighton, on a busy part of Western Road. Immediately outside of the shop is a bus stop and to capture the passing trade, the bakery display their baked goods in the window. As well as sausage rolls, the shop sells cakes, drinks and a wide array of snacks. It’s the kind of place that is easy to walk past.
Ricci’s Deli on Dyke Road is a beautiful shop. Despite the plethora of fancy bakeries in the immediate vicinity, Ricci’s stand out for their signage and window displays. Inside, they sell a huge array of produce, from drinks and breads, to meats and cheeses. On the day that I visited, I was at the tail end of a long walk and arrived sweaty and tired. I’d passed the deli in the morning at the start of the walk and my expectations had built throughout the day.
Everyone’s been to Greggs. They’re a safe and predictable feature of most high streets and deliver big flavour for small cash. I’m fond of them because they’re familiar. Greggs have saved me from awful hangovers and from fast approaching fits of hanger. The sausage rolls are perfectly passable and I’m equally fond of both their steak bakes and their yum yums. My nearest Greggs is on Western Road, a busy part of town, just past where Hove turns into Brighton. That stretch of street is home to all the shops that you’d expect to see in a town centre and the air is thick with the fumes from buses and from the delivery drivers that park their scooters out front of McDonald’s.
Truffles Bakery reminds me of London. When I lived in Clapton, my flat was close to a Percy Ingle bakery and I’d visit on the weekends to buy bread, donuts and sausage rolls. The food market on Chatsworth Road would be running and the street would buzz with people taking pictures of their lunch. Although tempted by the food stalls, I’d often aim for the bakery, drawn by the comfort and predictability of buttery pastry. Like Percy Ingle, Truffles Bakery isn’t trying to do anything fancy, they serve the classics and do them well. It’s a place to go for a decent cake, pastie or a loaf of bread.
The National Trust café at Birling Gap overlooks a stretch of sea, far wilder and wavier than Hove. Close to the café are houses perched on crumbling cliffs and they enjoy postcard views. In the summer months I often drive from Hove, park up and then walk along the clifftops towards Eastbourne. Most recently, I walked to the café from Cuckmere Haven on a windy and overcast day in July. When up on the cliffs, there’s a sense of space and calm with views for miles out to sea. I like to watch the ships that slowly pass on the horizon or listen to the Spitfires flying overhead. People run or walk along the cliffs in small groups and say hello, but the sheep that graze on the grass don’t talk much.