Friday, July 27, 2007

July 21, 2007: La Panella

Cindy has been agitating for a trip to Preston for a few weeks now on the back of this review of La Panella vegan bakery over at this is vegan melbourne. We decided to make the trip worthwhile with a trip to the Preston Markets - a grungier, smaller version of QVM - it's got meat and deli sections, a little organic stall and a range of clothing and other household bits and pieces to go along with the regular fruit and vegie stalls. We loaded up with vegies for a Sunday night soup (watch this space for the recipe/review) and, with the smell of doughnuts driving Cindy crazy with hunger, headed off to find La Panella.

It's a little walk away along High Street and, unfortunately, doesn't have seats or tables. It really just seems like the kind of suburban bakery that I remember from my childhood - although in this case you can be reasonably confident that there's no anus in your pie. The crowd around the counter was quite pushy and it took some observant work from the lady behind the counter to save us from being left hungry while more forthcoming customers made their way forward. We blurted our order out and scurried across the street with our haul: a mushroom pie, a 'sausage' roll, a couple of packets of tomato sauce and four doughnuts.

The pie was for me and it disappeared in no time - it was the perfect bakery snack, slightly soggy pastry filled with gravy and unidentifiable brown things (which I'm pretty sure actually were mushrooms) slathered in tomato sauce. In terms of sheer pie-quality, it fell short of Cindy's homemade efforts, but for speed and price (something like $2) it was a winning effort.

Cindy opted for the sausage roll, which seemed to have slightly crunchier pastry than the pie. The filling remains unidentified, but it fulfilled the guilty weekend lunch role as well as more sausage-y rolls used to back in Cindy's meat-eating days. Again, it probably fell a bit below the home-made version, but at $1.50, who's going to complain?

The doughnuts (so daintily held in the photo below) were our dessert and were a little disappointing after the aromas at the markets, if only because they were served up at room temperature. I think there should be a rule that doughnuts are only to be eaten fresh from the doughnut making machine. But that's just me, Cindy seemed to have no such qualms.

So, with our mouths lined with tomato sauce and bits of cinnamony sugar and our arms laden with groceries, we made our way to the tram and back home, with the weekend off to a very satisfying beginning.

Address: 465 High Street, Preston
Ph: 9478 4443
Price: Pies $2, Sausage rolls $1.50, Doughnuts 4 for $1


  1. been wanting to go to Preston Market but haven't got the chance. Is it got anything special there? as compared to Victoria market (normally i go to Vic market)...


  2. Hi San! The Preston Market isn't really that special - you might like to go once just to see what's happening there but I think the Vic Market has a lot more variety.

  3. WOW! i so want to try this out... if i ever get to your beautiful part of the world... another place to check out!!! Go Veg!

  4. If you're interested in making pies or sausage rolls at home, Kleopatra, I've posted my own recipes. (Pies here and rolls here.) I think they can both be veganised relatively easily if that's your preference. :-)

  5. looks v interesting - will have to check it out - and I agree with you about fresh donuts being best - although I have been known to eat the supermarket type which are never as fresh as they can be so bakery types are always going to be a step up from that :-)

  6. Johanna, when it comes to semi-fresh doughnut or no doughnut, I know which one I'm choosing. :-)

  7. Great great great.
    I rode here on the weekend with 2 vegan friends and we were all very ready for some lunch after all those kilometres.
    And we all agreed it was worth it... the sausage roll was good but the mushroom pie... wow!
    I bought 3 to take home and freeze (they have them in a fridge to buy for later) and my friends each bought 4.
    I am officially a fan.

  8. That's quite a ride, Stu! I would tend to agree that those mushroom pies are worth the effort. :-)

  9. I just discovered this place. Never tried any of the sweet things as I don't sweet food, but the pies are sooooo tasty in a 4 and 20 way. I actually prefer their pies to Smith and Deli's more "gourmet" style pies, as the latter have chunkier "meats" that you can taste are TVP. Mushroom and curry pies were very good, as was the regular flavour. The sausage roll was also very good, with an Asian touch in them with mung bean noodles in the filling. Yum.

    1. Hi Anon! We like buying a few frozen ones to take home - we pulled a couple of 'em out last Saturday, in fact. :-)