To keep ourselves sane during lockdowns, many of us turned to upping our kitchen skills, whether that involved perfecting sourdough loaves or whipping up dalgona coffee. Libby Dunlop – a trained pastry chef who spent 10 months working at Quay before leaving to study finance and accounting – dedicated herself to the art of the sandwich. Part of her obsession was fostered by her convenient proximity to Darlinghurst’s Organic Bread Bar. But when she moved to the eastern suburbs, Dunlop couldn’t find anywhere to satisfy her sandwich cravings.

“I was just like, ‘What the hell, there’s nothing good here.’ This was before Frank’s [Deli in Waverly] had opened, and I just needed something good. Then I was like, ‘Okay that’s it. I guess it’s up to me,” she tells Broadsheet.

What Dunlop has come up with is Cut Lunch Deli, a deli-style sandwich shop in Randwick. It features a no-fuss menu divided into brekkie options, toasties and sandwiches, with all the fillings inspired by “modern Australian” flavours and seasonal produce.

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“In reality, modern Australia is not one thing,” says Dunlop. “When I was studying, most of my friends were Korean-Australians, and so they took me to all these cool, delicious Korean places and I became obsessed with kimchi. My partner’s half Italian so we eat lots of meat, and that’s where the deli piece comes in.”

Bringing all these influences together, Dunlop has developed combos including a Korean-inspired sanga with fried mushroom, kimchi slaw and pickled cucumbers; the Morty D, featuring mortadella, stracciatella, and pistachio pesto; and the Schnitz sandwich with sesame panko-crumbed chicken, shredduce, and sweet zucchini pickle mayo.

There’s also the Green, showcasing fresh local produce with avocado, wood-smoked mozzarella from Marrickville’s Vanella, and a yoghurt, basil and chive sauce, as well as a Hetty McKinnon-inspired Misomite toastie with miso, Vegemite and cheese. All fillings are sandwiched between bread – potato buns, l’ancienne rolls and focaccia – from Dunlop’s first love, Organic Bread Bar.

Besides sandwiches, there’s coffee by Wollongong roaster Abstract Coffee and a selection of sweets made daily by Dunlop, including burnt-butter choc-chip cookies that she says have fast become “a bit of a cult classic”.

The decor is bright and airy, with a curvaceous white-tiled countertop and splashes of bright sunny yellow throughout. Pull up a seat on either side of the bi-fold windows or, as Dunlop suggests, take the sandwiches to go for a picnic at nearby Clovelly Beach.

You can also pick up condiments from the back shelf, which is dedicated to stocking Aussie brands such as Oomami, Hotluck Club, Nice Pickles and Quinby’s.

Even though it’s still early days, Dunlop is already looking to change up the menu for winter, hinting that there may be the addition of a Cuban-style pulled-pork sandwich. She also wants to introduce picnic packs during the warmer seasons and eventually catering options, too. “We’re just going to keep playing and moving around to see what happens with the seasons,” she says.

Cut Lunch Deli
220 Clovelly Road, Randwick

Mon to Fri 6am–2.30pm
Sat & Sun 7am–2.30pm