Rue Bebelons' famous pastrami roll is back, at Juanito's in Brunswick

The pastrami roll when it was being served at La Paloma.
The pastrami roll when it was being served at La Paloma.  Photo: Eddie Jim

Melbourne has some cult sandwiches, but the pastrami roll first served at one of Melbourne's first small bars, Rue Bebelons, could genuinely start its own commune up in the hills.

The roll, though quite simple, is a cracker: Turkish-style pastrami (pastirma​), avocado, slices of cheddar, tomatoes, cucumber, a little basil and a good slick of mayo, which is whipped up by hand, all in a crusty roll.

When Rue Bebs, as it's affectionately remembered, closed in 2013, there was such an outpouring of grief The Age printed an obituary. The sandwich, however, survived when one of the owners moved on to open tiny cash-only cafe La Paloma in Brunswick. Its owner, Todd, sold up in 2016, but the building's new owners have passed the lease to Juan Burgos, a former Paloma employee and long-time fan, who is serving the pastrami roll ($10) and a vegan version ($8) and coffee from Beat roasters to an already mobbish crowd.

The cafe, called Juanito's is serving rolls only for now, and possibly forever given instant demand and total lack of kitchen space. They were originally available from noon, but Burgos has had to pull that back to 10.30am to meet demand. They can take cards now, but bring cash.

Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat 9am-2pm. Rolls from 10.30am onwards.

259 Albert Street, Brunswick.