17 April 2024

The best thing since sliced bread: Canberra's Best Sandwiches

| Lucy Ridge
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A toasted sandwich with egg, pork and noodles on a white paper bag. A Melted branded paper bag is in the background.

So bad it’s good: The Mee Goreng Toastie from Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The humble sandwich is having a moment in the limelight. From boutique toasties to traditional banh mi, New York deli sandwiches and fine-dining flavours – it seems like there’s a sandwich for everyone out there at the moment!

The current trend takes sandwiches far beyond the soggy, white bread in your school lunchbox and elevates its culinary status. The hospitality industry has infamously tight profit margins and faces a lower spend-per-head as customers hold onto their dollars during the cost-of-living crisis. However, sandwiches are easy to make in bulk with fewer staff members, representing a canny business choice in a challenging economic climate. But this does not translate to a lack of creativity or quality: we’re seeing fantastic flavours with top-notch ingredients in this new sandwich era.

Celebrity Chef Matt Moran has jumped on the sandwich train with small sandwich shop &Sando accompanying his first Canberra restaurant Compa.

“There has been a pretty big sandwich boom across Australia recently, and we look forward to bringing our own offering to the table,” Chef Moran said before &Sando’s much-hyped opening earlier this month.

But can the hatted chef compete with Canberra’s already excellent sandwich offerings?

A tasty looking sandwich with figs with a paper bag on a wire rack table.

Fresh figs from Gollion Farm feature on this seasonal ‘dooch’. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Sandoochie was a leader of the sandwich trend after Chef Lucy Holme was inspired to open her shop after the popularity of her sandwich staff meals at fine-dining restaurants. With a daily changing menu written on butcher’s paper, regular customers have come to love the creative fillings ranging from butter chicken to katsu-fried butternut pumpkin or fig and goat curd.

On pillowy-soft bread from Under Bakery and made fresh daily, it’s no wonder Lucy has found a cult following since her early pop-up in No Name Lane. Throw in fresh baked goods and the delightfully irrelevant slogan of “get off your cooch, come get a dooch”, and there’s plenty to love about this local gem.

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Whether you call it a toastie, a Breville or a grilled cheese sandwich, The Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium is the place to get one. Their offerings range from a simple cheese and vegemite toastie to a grand ole Cubano with roast pork, ham, mojo sauce, mustard and cheese. And don’t pass up your chance to try the 24-hour BBQ brisket with slaw and pickles. It’s seriously good. Or for the ultimate guilty pleasure (and guaranteed hangover cure), I recommend the Mee Goreng Toastie, with chilli jam and a fried egg. Take the advice of owner Alex O’Brien and add some roast pork to the mix. You won’t regret it.

They also do some very decent shoestring fries and a kick-ass chocolate chip cookie.

Four delicious looking panini with deli fillings.

Fillings from the deli make up the panini at Tutto. Photo: Tutto Delicatessen, Facebook.

Tutto Delicatessen in Mawson makes the panino of your dreams. Sliced cured meats, fresh from the deli counter, with slices of provolone cheese and antipasto vegetables. Think prosciutto with sun-dried tomatoes, salami with roast capsicum or mortadella with artichokes on a crusty baguette with fresh rocket and olive oil. If you’re lucky, you might even get one of their legendary meatball panini with melted cheese and morish tomato sugo and basil. Or choose your own adventure at the deli counter and pick your favourite fillings to create the sandwich of your dreams at home.

And there’s fresh cannoli, baked ricotta cheesecake and so many Italian treats to be discovered on their shelves. Tutto Deli é tutto bene.

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Canteen in Fyshwick recently topped our picks for Canberra’s best ramen, but their Chicken Katsu or Mozzarella sandos make an excellent snack, too. Al’s Deli and Diner is a newcomer to the sandwich scene in the city with their New York deli-style sandwiches. Sure, it may not be the iconic Katz Deli, but it’s still a great sandwich.

Before you post an outraged comment, yes, banh mi is one of the world’s greatest sandwiches, and there are plenty of great places in Canberra to get one. In fact, there are so many great Banh Mi places that it’s worthy of a full article (so stay tuned!)

Did we mention your favourite sandwich? Let us know in the comments!

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Matt Flinders4:05 pm 20 Apr 24

If you’re ever over Mitchell way then try the awesome sandwiches and rolls at The Oven Door Bakery Cafe. They also have some awesome pies and easily the best sausage rolls in the region!

I haven’t been there for a while but definitely the best bread in town!

Is that the same Oven Door that was at Centrepoint in Civic???

Capital Retro4:35 pm 17 Apr 24

As long as it isn’t using sourdough bread I will give it a try.

For some reason, the two major supermarket chains are now making all their “artisan” breads with disgusting sourdough.

What about sandwiches with nice gluten free bread? Most gluten free bread is not very nice. La Bakehouse Exquisite if very nice GF bread. Who has that for sandwiches?

Am interested in the bread from La Bakehouse Exquisite. Could you please tell me where you buy it from.

Not The Mama1:08 pm 17 Apr 24

We ordered several Tutto Paninis for a small wedding reception. That’s how much we love them! It’s the crusty bread and the simple tasty fillings that don’t make the sandwich soggy.

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