144 Cathedral Street
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Opening Hours: 7am - 4pm daily
It's easy to find sandwiches in this city since almost every cafe serves at least one version of it but it's difficult to actually see a good one. It might seem easy to slap some meats or vegetables between 2 slices of bread (or on 1 if it's an open faced sambo) but it isn't.
I've always said that I love a good sandwich and I'm happy to say that I finally know where to get a really good one now. One of Sydney's newest cafes, John Montagu, specialises in handcrafted sandwiches and they're not fooling around here. Chef Raymond Lim, who graduated from Sydney's Le Cordon Bleu and has worked in places such as Galileo Restaurant in Sydney and Heirloom in Melbourne, is charge of the kitchen here. It might be a cosy one but big things sure come out of there.
house-cured salmon, avocado, dill cream cheese, salmon roe, rye
with truffled coddled egg
R and I tried a few sandwiches here and enjoyed every single one. I particularly liked the Salmon which consisted of some of my favourite ingredients such as avocado and cream cheese. What's special here is that the salmon is cured inhouse. Curing the fish, and not smoking it, gives the fish a crunchier texture and I liked that I could taste the salmon better. There is an option of adding a truffle coddled egg for an additional charge which I highly recommend as well.
12 hour beef cheeks, cheddar, sauerkraut, spanish onion, house glaze, white
If you're into a heavier option, the Beef Cheeks sandwich is a must-try. 12 hours of slow braising makes this cheaper cut of meat incredibly tender and rich. Cheese is melted in the pan with the cheeks before it is served up. The special bit here is that the chef makes their own veal stock from scratch to braise the cheeks in. The choice of bread for this is good too - soft white bread from Organic Republic to soak up all the juices from the beef. One might think it's a lot of meat but the slight acidity from the sauerkraut and the sweetness and crunch from the red onions help to cut through the richness. R thought about eating another one of these on his own 3 hours after we left - that's how much he liked it.
field mushrooms, truffled parmesan, garlic crème fraîche, rocket, multigrain
There are also a few options available for vegetarians on the menu and one of which is the Mushroom sandwich. Mushrooms are lightly sauteed in a pan and assembled with rocket leaves, truffled grated parmesan, garlic crème fraîche and some multigrain bread. I also managed a small tasting of the Maffra Cheese and Sage Toastie. Maffra cheese is an Australian-made cheddar which has won several awards. Made from cow's milk, this cheddar imparts a sharp yet sweet flavour which makes it an incredibly tasty cheese to enjoy when it's melted on toast.
A sandwich can be as simple and humble as just spreading some peanut butter onto bread or just by adding a slice of Kraft Singles (which I love!). It is also very versatile and can be eaten fresh or toasted with a multitude of fillings and that's why I love it. Anyhow, it's great to see the humble sandwich elevated to new heights at one of Sydney's newest spots and if you're also a fan of a mean sandwich, be sure to hit up John Montagu sometime soon.
P/S: Coffees are available but since summer is hitting us pretty soon, I highly recommend the Elderflower and Mint (from their mini garden!) Soda to go with the sandwiches. Nothing better than a cool, refreshing and slightly fizzy drink to take on the weather!
Disclosure: R and I are both acquainted with the staff at John Montagu.