Fine dining is his forte but Neil Perry also loves a good, old-fashioned sandwich. These are his top sangas in Sydney.

Sydney has so many great cafés and restaurants – we really are spoiled for choice, even when it comes to the (not-so) humble sandwich. Once a quick and simple lunch or snack, these days “sangas” are a mini meal in themselves – filled with all sorts of gourmet delights inspired by flavours from Japan to Italy and every cuisine in between. Here are four places I go to for smashing sandwiches. They’re not the onlything on the menu but they’re certainly my favourites.

Lucky Pickle

Lucky Pickle is a smart little café tucked away in a side street in Surry Hills, on the city fringe. At this cool-looking concrete bunker, there are two brekkie options: granola or eggs on ciabatta bread. And from 10.30am, they turn out some of the best sandwiches in Sydney.

The chicken katsu – with cabbage, sesame, mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce – delivers juicy, tender crumbed chicken, crunchy red cabbage and a hit of slightly sweet, vinegary spice from the dark tonkatsu sauce.

Pork belly more your kind of meat? It’s paired with duck liver, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, coriander, mayo and sriracha hot sauce – a combination inspired by the classic bánh mì. Unlike these traditional Vietnamese rolls, however, Lucky Pickle’s version is filled with quality produce (duck instead of chicken liver, for example) and perfectly cooked pork – just awesome.

But what really sets these sandwiches apart is the bread: Vietnamese baguette. I like that it’s not too crisp and the texture treads a tasty line between a slight chew and a shatter.

6 High Holborn Street, Surry Hills 

Cafe Oratnek

Located near the corner of Pitt and James streets in inner-city Redfern, Cafe Oratnek has a sweet, old-school fit-out and an outdoor terrace that’s lovely at any time of the day. An all-day breakfast menu includes apple Bircher muesli with yoghurt, a bacon-and-egg roll and toast with a poached egg and either mushrooms and goat’s cheese or greens and jamón serrano.

It all sounds good and I’ll definitely be back for breakfast but what I come to Oratnek for is the pork-fillet katsu sandwich with cabbage, Japanese barbecue sauce and mustard on white bread. The crumbed pork fillet is thick, crispy and cooked to order, while that classic, fluffy white bread is what makes it.

4 Pitt Street, Redfern 

Continental Deli, Bar and Bistro

Continental, in inner-western Newtown, has a bistro upstairs and a deli/bar downstairs. You can sit at the bar and order a cocktail, beer or wine then choose from the wide selection of canned goods (including anchovies, mussels and scallops); sliced charcuterie like salami, prosciutto and mortadella; and cheese – Pyengana cheddar from Tasmania, say, or Italian Taleggio. 

Put together your own platter to graze on – very civilised – or pile up any combination of the canned seafood, cold meats and cheese from the menu to create your own “continental” sandwich on ciabatta. I love watching the bar attendant make it – my pick is the mortadella, Comtè and mustard sandwich but the combos are virtually endless and I’m keen to try every one! 

210 Australia Street, Newtown

Boon Café

By night, Boon Café – part of the Jarern Chai Asian grocery store – serves Isaan regional cuisine from north-eastern Thailand. And by day it’s all about the “sarnies”, a wonderful mash-up of Thai flavours with some Western overtones, layered on sandwiches I love.

Take the Nahm Prik Ong with spicy pork and crunchy crackling, tomato relish, lots of refreshing herbs, shallots, cucumber and pickled cabbage, sandwiched between toasted sourdough.

During one visit, we had a delicious som dtum (green papaya salad) and a plate of boat fried rice surrounded by five-spice sticky pork, fried fish, cucumber, Spanish onion, finely shredded green mango, chopped beans and egg – you just mix it all together and add chilli.

The menu at this place is huge and the food is amazing at any time of the day but, please, don’t miss out on the sandwiches. 

425 Pitt Street, Haymarket

SEE ALSO: Neil Perry’s Favourite Los Angeles Food Stores

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