The Café Court in the recently opened shopping palace of Melbourne is bursting with gourmet goodies from popular local eateries like Charlie & Co. Burgers, Jimmy Grants, I Love Pho and Chinta Ria Soul. Emporium Melbourne is also home to one of the city's favourite sandwich shops, Earl Canteen.
I'm not a big fan of sandwiches in Australia. Most cafes dish out cold slabs of bread wrapped around limp pieces of meat and vegetables at $8 to $10. Even the warmed up versions are poorly made. I'm better off with a tasty bowl of noodles at Kitchen Inn for $8.50 or a slider from Owen's food truck at $10. Better yet, just make my own sandwich from ingredients purchased at Woolworths or Coles.
EARL Canteen has re-packaged and re-presented this Australian lunch staple in a form that's worth opening my wallet, featuring gourmet ingredients like roasted pumpkin, gorgonzola. candid walnuts and harissa braised lamb. Although prices are higher, averaging $13, I'm assured of a quality sandwich that is even worthy of restaurant tables.
Like the other outlets, EARL Canteen in Emporium Melbourne has an open kitchen which ensures all the sandwiches are made to order and served fresh to the customer in less than 5 minutes. The eatery has its own private long table seating for watching the kitchen theatrics.
My favourite is the EARL pork belly sandwich featuring wedges of roasted succulent Otway pork topped with a coleslaw of apple, fennel and cabbage, and caressed by a Turkish style roll from Noisette at $13.50. Each half of the crusty bread is easy to hold and bite; the flavours of the coleslaw is not overpowered by thick mayo; and the pork belly is moist and tender with a crunchy crackling. Perfection is just one extra slice of pork belly away.
This sandwich is clearly a customer favourite, with EARL Canteen selling more than 6 tonnes of pork over the past 3 years. Its easy to understand why with the nicely roasted Berkshire free range pork supported by a cast of gourmet ingredients. Its like having a roast pork meal beautifully prepared at Brandon Hotel or Old England Hotel during the Roast Collection festival but just in sandwich form.
After reading this review, being a pork roast fanatic, I had to grab myself a slice of heaven but to my dismay I didnt quite enjoy it as I should? I went on an empty stomach which will make any food taste better but only ended up eating the roast and part of the coleslaw. I appreciate the warm bun and slice of roast but the bread was a tad tough and the slaw underseasoned. Have to give them points for a well cooked meat but otherwise its relatively average. Got the same feedback from my partner who had a go at a different time. Their potatoes are delish though.