Matt Standen gets to work early on a weekday morning and begins stoking the fire for the day ahead. The Pink Moon Saloon chef presides over the glowing brick oven, which he uses to char ingredients for the Leigh Steet bar and its neighbouring deli.
Opening two years ago a couple doors down from its flagship, the Pink Moon Deli has become a go-to for busy office workers and city-dwellers looking to wrap their hands around stacked-up sandwiches.
Their options include the hearty Club Sandwich, brisket, charcoal chicken, Reuben, and what has become a Friday lunch tradition, fried chicken. Add to that fillings such as Jamaican salsa, cauliflower “kimcheese”, pickled daikon, and of course, grilled cheese, and you’re onto a winner.
“The popularity is in their creation – all of the components of the sandwiches are made in-house, mainly in the brick oven,” Standen says. “We have a simple menu with good products that are balanced well.”
He says the charcoal chicken sandwich is the venue’s star attraction, followed by the Club Sandwich. “Everyone including [building owner] George Ginos wanted a club sandwich on the menu,” Mr Standen says. “So I made one.”
Two streets – and a bit – over at laneway bar Proof, partner Shane Ettridge is making a different style of sandwich. The Anster Street hideout’s extensive list of toasties has become famous within the city limits.
The menu includes ham and pineapple, pork belly, brisket and macaroni, and tuna varieties. The venue’s also been letting winemakers and chefs take over the sandwich press to create their own versions for one night only.
“Serving toasties at Proof was the brain child of Press head chef Andrew Davies,” Ettridge says. “We've been blown away by the cult-like following of our truffled mushroom with gruyere and the decadent beef brisket mac’n’cheese.”
Ettridge says there are a few “golden rules” of cooking up the perfect toastie. “Be generous with cheese and butter and always season,” he says. “Be patient. Achieving a golden, caramelised casing for your cheesy creation is crucial. Crunch is key.”
Here are a few more of our favourites:
Jock Zonfrillo’s swanky Rundle Street eatery beneath Orana serves a nostalgic mortadella sandwich, elevated. The just-sliced wafer-thin lunch meat is flame-licked then layered between white bread with a red-wine vinegar, green olive and herb bath for dipping.
The Flying Fig
No visit to New York is complete without sinking your teeth into a massive, over-loaded sandwich. But if you’re staying home, this North Adelaide eatery serves up some winners, including house-made pastrami on dark rye, and the classic Reuben with corned beef and house-made sauerkraut (plus a vego alternative).
Among the galaxy of star dishes at this Leigh Street restaurant is a dish that shines perhaps the brightest. The katsu sando has a halved pork meatball crumbed and sandwiched between two fingers of fluffy white bread.
Few can resist the delicious tea sandwich at this East End favourite. The Instagrammable sanga comes with crispy chicken skin and chilli-spiked mayonnaise between soft white bread – served with a side of hot chicken drippings from the restaurant’s signature peri peri chicken. Perfect.
This French bistro’s lunch menu not only includes the Parisian favourites, but some crowd-favourite sandos too. The standout? Roasted pork belly with cumin-spiced slaw and parsley. It’s the talk of the East End.
Lucia’s Fine Foods
The Central Market’s sister act next door serves freshly cut rolls daily, with ample olive oil drizzled atop the fillings. One of the stars is the “number seven”: an all-veg line-up of basil pesto, fresh tomato, smoked mozzarella, artichoke and marinated artichoke eggplant.
Speaking of meaty rolls, you cannot go past this other East End favourite. Tucked away on Union Street, this eatery serves up a great selection of sandwiches; the standout is the American mustard and corned beef.