Originally published in Atlas Obscura’s food blog, Gastro Obscura, in 2018.
In Murray Bridge, South Australia, the path to pastry glory is paved with a curious sandwich.
Pies are a cultural icon in Australia. In 2015, Eliza Barr wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Australians worship them “at the altars of the service station, the quaint bakery, the footy oval and the friendly local pub.” She’s right. But in South Australia—in particular, the Murraylands region—there’s another little-known pastry that’s attracted a passionate cult following: the savoury slice.
To make this hearty (and, yes, savoury) meal, cooks simply glue two pastry sheets together with a layer of meaty gravy, then cover one side with cheese and bacon before throwing the pizza-like creation into the oven. There’s little more than a handful of bakeries in the area that make the savoury slice, and each has a slightly different recipe. Local fans argue that the version at McCue’s—unchanged since 1975—is the undisputed champion. In addition to their bakery, McCue’s run a pie cart every Saturday during the summer (which comes in handy for swimmers taking a break from the nearby public pool).
But before you tuck into your treat, there’s something you should keep in mind: Decades ago, kids at one of the town’s many public schools invented a “right way” to eat the slice. Upgrade your experience by sliding the cheese-and-bacon-coated pastry into a flat buttered bread roll with a coating of tomato sauce. Bon appétit.