Hearty, meaty and easily transportable for, say, picnics or sitting in rush hour traffic, the centuries-old sausage roll is prime for Angelenos on the move.
Sure, ground pork or beef sausage wrapped and baked in puff pastry doesn’t gel with the iconography of L.A.’s health-conscious dining, but look upon some of our biggest and best creations: The French dip, whether by Philippe’s or Cole’s, gave a classic meat-and-bread sandwich a swim in fatty jus, while stalwart burger shops and high-end pitmasters alike have long added pastrami to beef patties, tacos and even breakfast burritos. Health-obsessed Angelenos exist, yes, but to pretend we wouldn’t love a carby, buttery, flaky sausage roll is erasure of this city’s meat-loving history.
Strings of Life gets it.
West Hollywood’s new Aussie café from the E.P./L.P. crew regularly offers sausage rolls—and features some top-notch kitchen talent of its own—but it’s leading the sausage roll charge with an indefinite program spotlighting examples from guest recipes every week, including from some of L.A.’s biggest names.
L.A.’s mild climate, laid-back nature and plenty of coastline all contributed to a wave of Aussie cafés opening in the last few years, adding to the handful of British and Irish pubs that offer the rolls, and giving us ample opportunity to embrace a treat almost synonymous with the UK and Australia. But this particular Aussie café is helmed by Monty Koludrovic (formerly of the world-renowned Icebergs), and he’s taking it a step further with what he calls the “sausage roll world tour.”
The format is simple: Global and local chefs who’ve been tapped to collab will submit their recipes to Strings of Life (S.O.L.)—some traditional, some wildly creative—and the S.O.L. kitchen will bake them fresh and drop a new roll every Wednesday, selling them for $10 apiece throughout the week until they’re gone.
“We have genuinely loved bringing our favorite Aussie treats to S.O.L and Los Angeles, including our freshly baked sausage rolls,” Koludrovic says in a statement. “We certainly have our in-house favorites, yet if there’s ever a time to throw the doors open to the hospitality world to have some fun (without hitting the airport), then it’s now. It feels right to stay connected around food and friendship and bring some fun back into our kitchens during this wild time.”
Mozza magnate Nancy Silverton kicks off the program on September 3 with a sausage roll stuffed with Calabrian lamb, while the next chef up—Nightshade’s Mei Lin—will release a truffled cheeseburger take starting September 10. Following is an Aussie chef icon: On September 17, Ben Shewry of lauded restaurant Attica shares his “BTSSR” (the “Better than a Sausage Roll”), which involves potato and pepperberry, and closing out the month is Zen Ong, a former E.P./L.P. chef and the man behind one of L.A.’s best pop-ups, Inda; on September 24 he’s dropping a sausage roll version of his Indonesian rendang curry—a curry that landed on our Best Dishes of 2019 list.
Other future participants include Gwen and Maude’s Curtis Stone; SLAB’s Burt Bakman (whose pastrami roll is seen above); Berlin’s Jeff Claudio; Moscow’s Tom Halpin; E.P./L.P.’s own Sabel Braganza; and a number of chefs from across Oz.
We’d never considered ourselves sausage roll evangelists, but L.A.’s onslaught of Aussie cafés is making it easy—Strings of Life especially so.
Strings of Life (S.O.L.) is located in West Hollywood at 8535 Melrose Ave, open daily from 7am to 4pm.