The Reuben Jaffle.
Taste of the 70s: The Reuben jaffle. Photo: James Brickwood

What are they?

Two slices of bread with anything you want inside, jammed into a jaffle maker until hot, crisp and golden. It's the coolest (and daggiest) toasty around, and it's popping up in late-night bars and breakfast cafes, upgraded with great ingredients and a sense of fun. The electric jaffle maker was invented by Breville in 1974, becoming the biggest-selling small appliance of its time - and now the original is back, re-released with ''scissor-action plates'' that enable different breads such as focaccia, croissants or pita to be used.

 

Where are they?

NSW

At Grandma's Bar, the ''retrosexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch and faded granny glamour'', the roasted chicken jaffle with English mustard, onion and cheese is a hot order. ''It's nice to eat while you're having a drink'' says general manager Dean Simpson. Next stop, The Morrison, where chef Sean Connolly launched a jaffle menu this week that ranged from braised pork to corned beef cooked in a jaffle iron over the charcoal grill. Over at Gazebo Wine Garden, chef Matt Kemp upgrades the humble ham and cheese toasty by using Serrano ham, gruyere cheese and truffle.

But few people have as many jaffle-makers as Luke Bridgford and chef Marc Tucker of Jafé´ Jaffles, whose former RAAF 1967 VW Kombi van is a popular sight at music and food festivals. They believe toasted sandwich is a great vehicle to introduce new flavours.'' That means Moroccan My World ( slow-braised lamb, eggplant, chickpeas and tzatziki), the David Jafflehof (spag bol) and the Chilli Todd Carney (chilli con carne).

VICTORIA

At the swish Cafe Vue at Heide and elsewhere, the hot order is the breakfast jaffle of duck egg and bacon with warm Dijon mustard. ''It's one of our top sellers,'' confirms head chef Rick Person. ''When people see the word jaffle, they immediately think of their childhood, hanging out by the campfire with a jaffle iron.'' His top jaffle tip? ''Don't overcrowd it.'' At the Zeppelin-loving East Brunswick bar Whole Lotta Love, the vegan jaffles include Curry in a Hurry and Mexican Beanbag. But for sheer retro jaffle joy, it's hard to go past the old-school shakes and jaffles at the Little Rose Cafe in Port Melbourne. ''Jaffles are huge,'' says co-owner Steed Sherriff. ''My favourite is 'the hangover one', of Strasbourg, cheese and tomato sauce.'' Then there's the Trucker (bacon, egg, cheddar cheese and tomato sauce), the Savoury Mince (topped with a fried egg), and even a confit duck jaffle with pinot apple jelly. ''Use good butter and don't be shy with it,'' Steed says. ''This is not a weight-loss initiative.''

 

Why do I care?

Because there's a certain part of you that only a jaffle can reach.

 

Can I do them at home?

Yes, if you abide by the golden rules. 1: If you wouldn't eat it on its own, don't put it in a jaffle. 2: You can't have too much cheese. 3: Don't bite into it immediately, or you'll end up in the burns department.

 

Sourcing

NSW

The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room 225 George St, Sydney 9247 6744

Gazebo Wine Garden 2 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay 9357 5333

Jafé Jaffle food truck www.facebook.com/JafeJaffles

Grandma's Bar 275 Clarence St, Sydney 9264 3004

VICTORIA

Little Rose Cafe, 309 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, 9681 8550.

Whole Lotta Love, 524 Lygon Street, East Brunswick, 9386 8808.

Cafe Vue Heide, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, 9852 2346 and various locations.

The Breville Original '74 jaffle maker is available from Myer, David Jones, Kmart, Target, Harvey Norman.

 

The Reuben

4 slices good white bread

Butter for spreading

1 tbsp seeded mustard

100g corned beef, shaved

25g gruyere, sliced

25g cheddar cheese, sliced or grated

40g sauerkraut, drained

1 dill pickle, quartered

1. Heat the jaffle maker. Butter four slices of bread and place two in the jaffle maker, buttered side down. Spread the tops with seeded mustard and layer with corned beef, gruyere, cheddar cheese and sauerkraut. Cover with remaining two slices, buttered-side up, and close the jaffle maker. Cook for 4 minutes or until everything is hissing, sizzling, steaming and smelling unbelievably good. Serve with dill pickles and a cold beer.

Makes 2

TRENDING Devilled eggs. These spicy hard-boiled eggs have been retrieved from naffsville by New York chefs April Bloomfield and Bobby Flay. Spotted here at Bodega, Surry Hills.