Melbourne is experiencing a sandwich renaissance. Bread is back – even focaccia. Vegan sandwiches are around and they do not suck. But these places were championing quality food stuffed twixt slices before it was cool (again).
Supernormal, Cutler and Co
Andrew McConnell is the king of restaurant sandwiches. At Supernormal, both his New England lobster rolls on brioche buns, and thick, tonkatsu-crumbed pork cutlet with slaw on white bread have cult followings. Ditto the abalone katsu sangers with bulldog sauce at Cutler and Co. Collect 'em all.
Supernormal, 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne; Cutler and Co., 55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Earl Canteen's popular pork belly sandwich. Photo: Supplied
The little shop that's now an empire became an instant Melbourne classic when it opened in 2010, stacking its high-end breads to the gills with ethical, organic produce from its crisp hunks of pork belly to smashed peas and organic asparagus topped with a cheesy poached egg.
Various locations, earlcanteen.com.au
Heart Attack And Vine's porchetta roll. Photo: Pat Scala
Heart Attack and Vine
King and Godfree deli has just reopened after a long renovation and they now serve lunches on site including a hot porchetta roll with salsa verde. But can it usurp the one at Heart Attack and Vine a block away, where there's an extra bit of crackling, crunchy ciabatta, salsa verde and a spicy side of sambal and mustard? Do both and decide.
King and Godfree deli, 293-297 Lygon Street, Carlton; Heart Attack and Vine, 329 Lygon Street, Carlton
Beatrix cafe in North Melbourne. Photo: Jesse Marlow
The tiny North Melbourne shop is best known for its red velvet cakes and tarts but the sandwich action is just as potent. It's a roulette every day (see updates via Instagram) with lamb shoulder often being the most-sought and they always stock a solid vegetarian alternative.
688 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Mason Dixon's cubano sandwich. Photo: Tim Grey
Garrett Huston is Boston-born and Georgia-raised, and he has a good handle on the sandwiches that hail from both north and south of the namesake Mason-Dixon line from butter-brushed cubanos with double meat, cheese and pickles to his North Carolina-style pulled pork rolls with spiced vinegar to cut the fat.
600 Bourke Street, Melbourne