The old lunchtime favourite, the humble toasted sandwich, is receiving the gourmet treatment at Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium.
Owned by two hospitality mavens with over 20 years of fine dining experience between them, they have been elevating the status quo in Fyshwick with freshly made bespoke creations using top-notch locally sourced ingredients.
Located on Pirie Street, the small shopfront is unassuming from the inside with a standard sandwich shop layout but look up at the chalkboard menu, which is ever-changing with the creative whims of the chefs, and you know you are in for a treat.
The toasted sandwich options read like a restaurant menu, each with layered flavours and interesting combinations. From Asian spiced duck to the lasagna toastie, and mie goreng noodles toastie with fried eggs, it is hard to choose what to eat.
The business is the brainchild of sandwich lovers chef Alex O’Brien and hospitality ace Alex Royds. Between them, they have worked in the region’s most celebrated dining institutions, including Dojo Bread bakery, Aubergine and The Boat House.
“The inspiration for the business started many years ago in fine dining kitchens around Canberra. We’d all go home and make toasties on our split shifts or for dinner. We started throwing ideas back and forth with crazy things to put in them. The weirder, the better!” O’Brien explains.
“A toasted sandwich business was always in the back of our minds, so a couple of years ago, when Alex (Royds) and I began seriously thinking about doing something on our own, this was one of the ideas.”
The menu is driven by tasty, outrageous combinations sandwiched between bread and quality local ingredients and relationships formed with nearby suppliers.
“We try to use as many quality local suppliers as possible. Our bread is baked fresh every day at the Vietnamese bakery on Isa Street, and all of our cured meats come from Balzanelli Smallgoods on the same street. Our coffee is Redbrick, located a stone’s throw away. Sourdough is from Three Mills Bakery. Vegetables from Regional Fruit and Veg and pastries from Under Bakery,” O’Brien says.
“If we can get it from a Canberra small business, we will. It’s super important to us to support local as our menu revolves around the best we can get from these guys.”
Open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, the shop has gained a steady following since opening in January last year from passing tradespeople, shoppers in the area and those who work nearby. They’re lured by the bright yellow umbrellas and tables outside, but become regulars thanks to the casual, friendly service, and the thick fluffy bread laden with delicious fillings, toasted on the grill to perfection.
For hungry first-timers, Alex steers them towards the big juicy meaty sandwiches that are the Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium’s trademark.
“My recommendations depend on the time of day and the individual’s hunger levels, but our favourites to recommend are the Reuben toastie or the 24-hour BBQ beef brisket. We also do the basics if you’re feeling less adventurous, but the sky’s the limit, and we’re always adding and removing toasties so we can’t always fit them on the menu board. Really, you never know what your new favourite toastie could be next.”
Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium is located at 2/3 Pirie St in Fyshwick. It’s open Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm.