Melbourne has seen many a culinary trend take hold of the city in the last decade. Mexican was having a moment for a while there, before that, Vietnamese had a sort-of golden era, and now we’re seeing the humble sandwich rise to glory. Coming in hot—or fresh, rather—this Saturday is Fitzroy North pop-up, Jolly Good Sandwiches from chef Raphael Exton-Pery.
The name may ring bells from his time at Spensley’s or Little Andorra in Carlton North, and now Andrew McConnell’s Gimlet; though with his current employer hitting pause during the pandemic, Exton-Pery has seized the opportunity to bring some joy to Melbourne in lockdown via some bloody good sangas.
“It’s a passion project and an idea I've always in my head, for now I'm just rolling with the punches and it'll be nice to see some faces on Saturday and give people something to look forward to.” Exton-Pery said.
While there’s a deli cabinet full of sandwich offerings out there at the moment, each is bringing their own style to the almost-universal menu item. Some are addictively over the top—think Rocco’s or Kelso’s—others like Hector’s are more refined; Exton-Pery, however, is going for a slightly lighter, classic style sandwich you’d recall from your youth.
“We’ve got the classic salad which is kind of a spin on the Australian salad sandwich, with grated beetroot and carrot and pickle, rich farmhouse cheddar, alfalfa sprouts, citrus mayonnaise, butter, lettuce and avocado.
“The chicken is an ode to your chicken and mayo sandwiches with lots of black peppers you’d eat as a kid, but this has got a bit of a boost with lots of dill and tarragon and fresh lemon and butter lettuce and cucumber.”
Along with the throwbacks, Saturday’s menu will see a spicier number heroing a feisty deli meat known as sopressa as well as a classic roast beef that references its American origins with bread and butter pickles.
There won’t be any shortcuts, either, with Exton-Pery pulling all the stops to make this a sandwich worth yarning about well into next week.
“If anything, I'm undercharging for these sandwiches, it's all going to be premium produce. I've got a good relationship with my suppliers so I'll be using their premium meats,” said Exton-Pery
Jolly Good is indeed giving Melbourne another reason to fall in love with the sandwich, though our rich and diverse hospo scene has taken its time to give it its deserved recognition, and Exton-Pery believes there may be a few reasons for that:
“You look at the people behind them and they're all people of pedigree. They've all come from awesome restaurants and they're all awesome chefs.
“The guys over at Rocco’s for example. Rocco's is going off, and even a few spots in Yarraville, there are places opening up, and hopefully this is the start of something.”
It only takes one look at Exton-Pery’s credentials to pop him, and his sandwiches, in the same category, and you can get your hands around one this Saturday from Jolly Good—popping up at Fitzroy North’s Underwood from 12pm.
The venue also has a providore licence, so you can take a beer home along with your sandwich. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Still hungry? Check out the best takeaway from in and around Melbourne here.
Image credit: Tim Harris