arl Canteen opened quietly last Wednesday. A sandwich shop in the CBD, it’s set to redefine what a sandwich can be and in the process create a culture where quality produce - local, seasonal vegetables; sustainable, ethically raised meats - is the norm rather than the exception in the world of the office sandwich.
You won’t walk into Earl and point to a pre-made foccacia with processed fillings. You order from a selection of fillings such as Moondarra wagyu meatballs in sugo, zucchini pickle, shaved parmesan (sure to be a signature sandwich soon) or slow-roasted pork belly with fennel and apple coleslaw and wait as the sandwich is made to order. There are also salads as well as sweets all made on the premises by Jackie Middleton, a former restaurant manager and food stylist while her husband Simon O’Regan a former manager and sommelier at Rockpool, Stokehouse and Attica runs the floor. O’Regan’s wine knowledge gives an edge to the tight wine list, the professionalism of both has seen them create a smart interior - designed by Byron George of Russell and George - and their ethos for quality sustainable produce carries over into the use of PLA biodegradable packaging.
With a structure and foresight already this developed don’t be surprised if you see the name Earl popping up again soon. “The plan at this stage is to open another Earl by the end of this year,” says Middleton, “with a handful opened over the next few years. We are looking at a hole-in-the-wall at the moment, so it may be Earl Sandwich, Earl Sweets and only sell a few products, always sticking to Earl ethics.”
Earl Canteen is down the ‘other’ end of town, directly underneath MoVida Aqui. Sandwiches may cost a few more dollars than the processed, pre-made ones but ... you get what you pay for.
500 Bourke, Lt Bourke St courtyard
(03) 9600 1995
Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am–5pm