We at Black Sheep Restaurants have a soft spot for sandwiches. Square, round or oblong; flattened in a panini press or stacked like an Italian sub; slathered with mayo or pesto, on focaccia, sourdough or French bread—we welcome any combo of meat, cheese, pickles and fresh herbs served between two slices of bread. At Stazione Novella, that is our breakfast panini starring pancetta and eggs with a slick of chilli mostarda; while Le Petit Saigon cranks out classic bánh mìs all day, fluffy baguettes chock full of pâté, assorted cold cuts and bright, crunchy pickles.
Simple as a handheld on the go, or a DIY snack, sandwiches have soared in popularity during this period of lockdowns and work-from-home arrangements—quick to assemble and comfortingly familiar. They present a blank canvas that you can easily ‘chef up’ at home: Go to town on that unopened can of truffle paste, stack up those expensive cold cuts for a splurge-worthy sub, or crack open that tin of caviar tucked away in your cabinet for a posh panini. Pair it with an easy three-ingredient cocktail and you have yourself a restaurant-worthy repast.
For our chefs, the ultimate sandwich is all about packing in maximum flavour with well-balanced proportions, quick assembly and easy portability. The next time you feel the carb cravings hit, skip the PB&J and take inspiration from these stellar sarnies that our chefs deem their all-time favourites.
Jowett Yu, Ho Lee Fook
Bánh mì thịt. It is the best sandwich in the world that comes fully loaded with everything you want in one handheld bite: a variety of pork charcuterie, pickles for a jolt of acidity and crunch, chillies for heat, flavourless mayonnaise and pâté for richness, and green shallots and coriander for freshness and herbaceous notes.
Braden Reardon, Carbone
My favourite sandwiches have got to be some great New York City classics that I am missing: the pastrami and the Rachel. The latter is essentially a Reuben sandwich made with turkey instead of corned beef, sometimes coleslaw, and Russian or Thousand Island dressing. It can be found across NYC diners, and also makes a great leftovers option for when Thanksgiving rolls around.
Joshua Stumbaugh, Associazione Chianti
Nothing beats a New York-style Italian cold cut sub, which is a mix of Italian cold cuts such as cured ham, salami, spicy salami with lettuce, tomato, pickled peppers and provolone cheese on a light and fluffy sub roll. You can make a rendition of this at home with a nice sub roll and mix of different cold cuts sold at an Italian specialty shop or city’super. Feel free to mix in some of your own toppings but the classic is lettuce, tomato, pickled peppers and provolone cheese!
Luca Marinelli, Osteria Marzia
When it comes to sandwiches, the simpler the better; that means three to four ingredients max, using the best quality ingredients you can find. I have to go with a Caprese sandwich: there’s nothing like it in summertime, with juicy Italian tomatoes, fresh basil and dry oregano, and creamy buffalo mozzarella. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is the finishing touch, served on warm and toasty bread. Of course, I also have to recommend the Panino Con il Bollito I just created for Le Petit Saigon’s Bánh Mì Du Monde series! It stars 8-hour slow-cooked Australian beef cheek paired with sun dried tomatoes, salsa verde, Pommery mustard and chilli oil for a kick of heat.
Billy Otis, Taqueria Super Macho
Sandwiches for me depend on the mood you are in, and what you are craving at the time. That being said a sandwich I often seek out is a classic Greek gyro. Technically a wrap, it is bundled in warm, soft pita, and is fast, easy and affordable. Sliced, crisped lamb is the star, with cooling Greek tzatziki, tomatoes for freshness, red onion (sometimes lettuce) and a garlicky vinaigrette. Delicious!
Yen Chan, La Vache!
I can’t pass up a good Reuben. There is something so simple yet satisfying about the combination of corned beef and spicy sauerkraut dressed in a liberal amount of Russian mayo. I prefer it with griddled, marbled rye bread with a healthy layer of melted Swiss cheese to bind it all together.