Located on the corner of Oxford and Crown Street in Darlinghurst in Sydney is the unassuming Sandoitchi Cafe. This cafe is tiny with minimal sitting space, but people are happy to wait or they can opt for the takeaway option.
Sandoitchi is a Japanese word for sandwich. Therefore, you can expect the popular Japanese pork katsu sandwich to make an appearance here, as well as a few delicious cafe dishes with a Japanese twist.
When my Japanese friend invited me here for a casual brunch, I was very excited when I saw the menu. The dishes all sounded delicious and all reasonably priced as well. Where else can you get a quality cafe dish for around $11 these days?
For start, they have decent Japanese green tea, the good premium kind, not the diluted version type. Consider the history of green tea, it was nice to see my matcha latte was served with a proper Japanese ceramic mug.
Pork Katsu Sando $11 (Crispy pork, nori, pickled carrot, salted cucumber, cabbage, cheese, tonkatsu mayo on thick cut white bread)
Katsu sando is the Japanese-style sandwich that started with a Tonkatsu pork cutlet, rolled in panko crumbs and deep fried to perfection, served with refreshing cabbage slaw and sauce on super soft white bread.
At Sandoitchi Cafe, their offering was close to the original Japanese version. The salted cucumber, pickled carrot, thinly shredded cabbage, cheese and tonkatsu mayo all added to the joyous experience when you bite into this delicious sandwich.
Fresh press juice is another popular item at this cafe. They offer special Banh Mi with juice combo for $15, so it made sense to get my vitamin C with my chicken roll.
Chicken Katsu Banh Mi $11 (Crispy chicken, pate, apple kimchi,nori, pickled carrot, daikon, spring onion, coriander, spicy tonkatsu mayo on crunchy white roll)
Sandoitchi also added some Japanese twist to the traditional Vietnamese banh mi roll. Instead of slices of pork ham, they replaced with bite-size crispy chicken katsu. The spicy tonkatsu sauce paired quite lovely with apple kimchi, cucumber, and pickled carrot. Also, they embedded a nori sheet in between for the umami flavour. It is served on a super crunchy white roll and open presentation looked very inviting.
Fish Katsu Burger $13.50 (Crispy barramundi fillet, Japanese tartare, cheese, cabbage, tomato)
The iced matcha tasted a bit watery. They used large ice cubes instead of shaved ice, therefore it diluted the green tea flavour and intensity. For $6, it could use a bit of extra balancing.
Salmon Salad Bowl $14.00 (Raw salmon, soba noodle, apple kimchi, mushroom, rockmelon, spicy nahm Jim dressing, served with edamame, wakame, nori, pickled carrot, salted cucumber, cassava crackers in white soy ginger dressing)
Sydney is witnessing a poke bowl trend. Part of poke's appeal is the way it can be customized to different tastes. Plus it's fresh, healthy and tasty. I must say Sandoitchi's poke bowl tasted amazing, much better than the franchise version.
I was excited to receive a beautiful bowl piled with freshest ingredients. I ordered a raw salmon salad bowl. Instead of heaps of tasteless kale or salad leaves, I've found buckwheat soba noodle underneath. It was topped with house-made apple kimchi, edamame, wakame nori, pickled carrot and a crispy cracker.
It was such a healthy dish people can feel good about eating. If you are looking for food that's close to its natural state, yet seasoned with spice, heat, salt, and herbs for a flavour kick. You don't need to look any further.
So the crumbed eggs was on the special menu - meaning this was a test-dish until it has gained market approval. The crumbed egg looked like an upscale version of the traditional avocado on toast topped with eggs; except, in this case, the poached eggs were replaced with crumbed eggs. It was garnished with enoki mushrooms and home-made kimchi.