Miss Ruben’s Canteen
Miss Ruben’s Canteen makes a strong case for Melbourne’s best pastrami on traditional rye. Not only because it dries, seasons and steams sides of Cape Grim beef in-house; but it preserves its own pickles and sauerkraut, too.
It’s a leaner sandwich than you’ll get from Katz’s at 3am – whether or not that’s a plus or a minus is up to you.
Owner Amanda Rubèn’s Ripponlea venture is shamelessly about the readymade – sandwiches on Baker D. Chirico bread to chow down straight away, or stews, soups and slow-roasts to heat up at home.
Ex-Stokehouse chef Nick Mahlook and Sam Hocking from Ezard come up with new salads daily such as heirloom beets, walnuts, leaves and tahini yoghurt, or tabouleh, eggplant and pomegranate molasses.
For take-home meals, there are roast Bannockburn chickens; whole slow-cooked lamb shoulders; lasagne in both the meaty and veggie varieties; house-cured salmon; Moroccan fish stew; Italian meatballs; and the occasional curry. There’s chopped liver on Fridays and chicken soup with matzo balls.
The space was originally an old banking building, and Rubèn has done a wonderful job preserving the art-deco atmosphere, trimming the canteen with Carrera marble, iron railings and brass.