“This is the best conti roll” are fighting words in Perth. Everyone has their favourite charcuterie-stuffed deli sandwich and most are layered not just with fillings but childhood nostalgia, too. “It’s what we all grew up with,” says chef Stev Makhlouta from Deli’s Continental. “It’s bread, some kind of cured meat, a bit of pickle, maybe lettuce and tomato. That’s home for a lot of people.”

When Makhlouta and his business partners decided to create a conti roll at the Inglewood sandwich shop that started as a pop-up in 2020, they figured it would be a sleeper hit at most. “We thought we’d sell maybe 20 rolls in our first week,” says Makhlouta of his Classico roll, which comes on crunchy housemade bread and is stuffed with two salamis, mortadella, provolone, homemade pickles and salad that’s glued together with olive tapenade and a piquant sauce of capsicum, garlic and chilli. How wrong they were. “We ended up selling out of 20 rolls within about 20 minutes.”

Conti roll, Perth

Now the team sells about 1000 rolls a week and the people of Perth have spoken: Deli’s double-hander has triumphed at several “best conti roll” awards, often winning the public vote. But the chef insists that “best” is still relative and while he’s delighted to attract so much acclaim, he bows graciously to the competition. “There are so many banging conti rolls in Perth and while many of them have good ingredients, a lot of them are loved because you remember going there as a kid. When it comes to a conti roll from Western Australia, nostalgia holds just as much weight and value.”

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