A wedding can be the start of more than just one relationship. For Narada Kudinar and chef Raymond Lim, co-owners of Woolloomooloo’s new sandwich spot John Montagu, it was a fortuitous meeting that would become a friendship and grow into a business endeavour two years later.
“Ray cooked at my wedding a couple of years ago. We said we should open a space in two years and so we came back together to look into it,” says Kudinar about how he met Lim.
Named after the British statesman, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who is widely believed to have invented the lunchtime staple, the cafe is decorated simply, with bright-blue striped awnings shading outdoor tables.
Take a seat at the blond-wood communal table while you enjoy a range of sandwiches, handcrafted from loaves by Mosman’s St Honoré bakery. There are four options: house-cured salmon with avocado; dill cream cheese and salmon roe on rye; or field mushroom with truffled parmesan, garlic crème fraîche and rocket on multigrain. For something that will fill you up all the way to dinner, the beef cheek is braised for 12 hours, served tender in a sandwich with cheddar, sauerkraut, Spanish onion and house glaze.
“Deciding on the menu was more about problem solving than creating because of the limitations of the kitchen and fridge space. We wanted to maximise what we could achieve,” says Kudinar. “It’s about the simple preparation of fresh and basic ingredients.”
The bacon-and-egg bun with house-made secret sauce is popular with the local tradies while the house granola with seasonal fruits and honeyed yoghurt is available on the go. Di Gabriel beans take care of the espresso, and cold-drip coffee is served in scotch glasses with a lime wedge.
“Locals are loving it,” says Kudinar on how the new venture is being received in this untouched part of Woolloomooloo. “When we watch them eating on the street, we see that they all know each other and stop to say hello. It’s a really diverse community.”
144 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo