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Beat Eats: the best sandwiches in Melbourne

Nothing gets the blood pumping like a simply good sandwich.

My heart sings for good produce that’s made simply, with love and devotion – and there’s nothing simpler than a sandwich. So, here are the best around town.  

It’s safe to say the passion-filled folk at Hector’s Deli will leave an everlasting impression. They dance around the kitchen, chop with flare, and it’s not unusual to hear a blasting “hot sandwiches, get your hot sandwiches” ringing down Buckingham St, Richmond – where this sweet store lives. Their aesthetic is simple yet energetic; crisp white t-shirts with bright orange lettering, white tiled bench-tops with white-washed walls, and a single-standing lemon tree that marks their entrance. Their menu works in a similar manner, with odes to all the classics made with extra punch. We’re not quite sure how they do it. Their take on a classic chicken sandwich ‘The Chicken Schnitty’ is their star, using crumbed chicken schnitzel, tarragon butter, iceberg lettuce and secret mayo on a white bun. I also adore their mushroom sandwich or ‘Fried Mushy’, with crumbed mushroom, hectic sauce, hot butter and lettuce, also on a steamed white bun. 

Happy Tummy –also situated in Richmond – although discreet in appearance, is a store not to pass-by. Their sandwiches are a perfect lunch for those Cremorne/Richmond workers seeking health and affordability. I often order a simple salad sandwich that’s stacked high with almost every vegetable out there, layered with turkey or chicken. Sometimes I’ll order a vegetable fritter too, made with zucchini and Parmesan, if I happen to be vegetarian-minded that day. There are plenty of choices here in terms of bread and wraps – wholegrain or white, rye or multigrain – and the charismatic sandwich-assembler will often commend you for your healthy choice that day. It’s all quite a lovely experience. 

And then there’s the king of all sandwiches –The Reuben. While it’s recipe is familiar to all, the battle for who makes it best rages on. Personally I believe Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie – of Melbourne Chef Scott Pickett – nestled between the Queen Victoria Market, wins above all. The House Reuben works with housemade pastrami and sauerkraut, Dijon mustard and Emmenthal cheese all in a hot roll. It’s comforting and decent-sized, so you’ll feel well-indulged. Other hot rolls worth trying are their crispy pork with pineapple chutney and coleslaw, or their chicken and gravy, with crispy chicken skin and tarragon aioli.