Sandoitchi is expanding in 2024, with a new cafe set to open in Chatswood as early as February.

Sandoitchi, a tiny Darlinghurst cafe that quietly opened in 2018, was one of the first cafes in Sydney to serve Japan’s most famous convenience store item: the katsu sando. Typically, this white-bread wonder involves a tranche of crumbed and fried pork, dressed with “bulldog” (Japanese barbeque) sauce and wedged between slices of fluffy shokupan bread.

Sandoitchi’s take on the genre is markedly different from others you’ll find around town. Chef Pureephat “Bhas” Kraikangwan has created a more textural and – although not by design – healthier alternative staked with pickled carrots, cabbage, cucumber, American-style cheese and tonkatsu-flavoured mayo. Plus, a slathering of umami-rich kombu butter.

That’s just the beginning here. Other sandos might include the gooey and rich eggplant option (brightened with yuzu-miso ranch dressing) or the fan-favourite prawn number with sweet corn. There’s even a sando who’s price and appearance wouldn’t look out of place next to the iconic Wagyu Mafia sando; a blushing block of full-blood +MS9 Wagyu on toasted white bread.

Besides things between bread, Sandoitchi turns out lunchtime bowls that take loose inspiration from Hawaiian poke, piled with grilled salmon (dressed with house teriyaki) and a cornucopia of fixings including edamame and apple kimchi. There’s also a tight breakfast menu, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies that are all worth your time.

Sandoitchi is modest in design and taste, with a wooden counter, an espresso machine pulling Single O coffee, a handful of seats and a few shelves showing off Keep cups and coffee bags. There’s extra dining space hidden out the back ("Club Sandoitchi") if you can’t see any free real estate from the footpath.

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Updated: December 18th, 2023

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