Forget the sad days of the limp lunchtime sanga. These nine winners are trending at top cafés and restaurants.

Abalone katsu at Cutler & Co

Resist the siren song of the luxe dining room for this take on the Japanese sanga available in the bar. Made with crumbed and fried abalone, instead of the traditional pork, it’s meaty, salty and squishy in all the right places. The Bulldog sauce (a cult-brand tonkatsu, all tangy and sweet) is the perfect pairing.
55–57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy; (03) 9419 4888   

Red curry cauliflower roll at Paperboy Kitchen

Vegos need look no further than the cauliflower in spicy red curry sauce at Paperboy. It’s propped inside a feather-light baguette with Asian slaw, a carrot and daikon pickle, coriander and a lick of Sriracha mayo.
320 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne; (03) 9642 0147

The Big Dog at Big Dog’s Deli

Big Dog, Melbourne

American-style deli sandwiches are served up in the backstreets of Richmond, where this signature sandwich stars a triple meat whammy of prosciutto, salami and nduja paste along with house-pickled peppers and fennel, pecorino and aioli. All between two crusty slices of toasted ciabatta.
327 Lennox St, Richmond; (03) 9429 0414

Pork belly sandwich at EARL Canteen

Earl Canteen, Melbourne

Any bread-and-filling slinger named after the Earl of Sandwich needs to put its money where its mouth is. Lucky the folks at EARL are wired to please. Try the signature free-range pork belly roll with apple and fennel slaw and wilted silverbeet, which punters have been queuing for since 2010.
Across Melbourne

Pig’s ear banh mi at Uncle

Uncle, Melbourne

Uncle chef Dai Duong takes the traditional banh mi formula and spins it with a soft white roll stuffed full of fried porker ear with peanuts, lettuce and slivers of tangy pickled veg.
188 Carlisle Street, St Kilda; (03) 9041 2668
Level 1, 15 Collins St, Melbourne; (03) 9654 0829

Ice-cream burger at Huxtaburger

Huxtaburger, Melbourne

They say burger, we say ice-cream sandwich with a twist. Huxtaburger rolls a vanilla ice-cream patty in crushed pastry flakes, drizzles it in either chocolate or caramel sauce then throws the lot into a petite brioche bun.
Across Melbourne

Lamington jaffle at Bad Frankie

What is a jaffle if not a crimp-edged toasted sandwich? Collingwood jaffle-and-gin specialist Bad Frankie slings an Aussie sponge cake covered in chocolate sauce and coconut flakes between the toaster irons for a truly unique dessert sandwich.
141 Greeves Street, Collingwood; (03) 9078 3866

Merenda at Bar Di Stasio 

It’s better known as an after-school snack in Italy but lucky indeed is anychild who receives a flattened piece of crumbed, fried veal sandwiched between two pieces of crustless soft white bread. The clincher? It arrives wrapped in foil; allowing the butter to melt and soak lusciously into the bread.
31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda; (03) 9525 3999

Pig’s head sanga at Congress

This Collingwood wine bar is full of surprises, including the fried puck of pigs’ head terrine sandwiched between two rounds of crustless, high-GI white bread with a pickle and green mustard leaf mayo. The real surprise? The terrine is set with chicken jus that explodes, xiao long bao-style, with every bite.
9 Peel Street, Collingwood; (03) 9068 7464

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