Autumn in Canberra has now well and truly set in and last week’s cooler weather was perfect for eating toasted sandwiches. After a short holiday away, I was keen to get back into this week’s Taste Off and warm up with some of Canberra’s best toasties. Big thanks to Alexandra for taking over while I was away!
This week’s call out for the best toasted sandwich in Canberra saw a three-way tie between three of Canberra’s cafes – The Cupping Room, Tupelo Coffee Co and Gus’ Cafe. After a little investigating however I discovered that The Cupping Room isn’t serving up any toasted sandwiches on its current menu, which made the Taste Off contenders a little more clear: Tupelo Coffee Co vs. Gus’ Cafe.
My partner-in-crime for this week’s Taste Off was my younger brother and, as a fellow toasted sandwich lover, he was pretty keen to help me decide between new-kid-on-the-block Tupelo Coffee Co and old Canberra favourite Gus’ Cafe.
First up was Tupelo Coffee Co on Alinga Street in the City. Tupelo only opened in January this year, but is already well established as one of the best in the Canberra coffee scene. When it comes to food, jaffles are their main game. For the Taste Off, I ordered the “Red Right Hand” with tomato, basil, capsicum relish and a healthy serving of mozzarella, while my little bro tried the “You Bastard, Reuben” with beef brisket, sauerkraut, mustard relish, swiss cheese, Russian dressing and served with a pickle on the side.
They were absolutely delicious – I don’t know what it is about the sealed edges of a jaffle, but they take toasted sandwiches to a whole new level. My brother reported that it was the best toastie he’s ever had and I was particularly taken with the oozing mozzarella in mine.
We then tried Gus’ Cafe on Bunda Street in the City. Opening their doors in 1967, Gus’ is a true Canberra institution and is well known for being Canberra’s first outdoor cafe. More importantly they also make a mean toasted sandwich. Gus’ toasties are a little more on the traditional side, made with thick slices of white bread and a generous slathering of butter on the outside. My brother tried the smoked ham, cheese, tomato salsa, lettuce, mustard and mayo sandwich and I had the avocado, cheese, roquette, sun-dried tomato spread and mayo combo. They were pretty darn good toasties – the cheese was melted just the right amount and to top it all off, Gus’ serve all their sandwiches with chips or salad – bonus!
With two very distinct takes on the toasted sandwich, deciding between Tupelo Coffee Co and Gus’ Cafe wasn’t easy. While I do rate the toasties from Gus’, this week I am awarding Canberra’s best toasted sandwich to Tupelo Coffee Co for its unique filling choices and oozing mozzarella.