A true melting pot of international cuisines, Melbourne is no stranger to burgeoning palate-pleasing trends. In recent years, we've seen the explosion of Spanish tapas joints, Mexican eateries, American style bars and Vietnamese bakeries, just to name a few. Now, Team TUL believe it's time for Cuba to take over Melbourne.
While Melbourne's current Cuban scene is somewhat limited – with Smith Street's Cuban rum bar Los Barbudos doing most of the heavy lifting thus far – there is one item in particular that's making its presence heard: the Cuban sandwich, aka, 'the Cubano'. Traditionally, the Cuban is made from roasted pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard, but because this is Melbourne (and because tradition is really more of a guide line), our fair ol' city has given birth to a wide selection of delicious variations. So, feast your eyes (and chops) on our pick of Melbourne's best Cuban Sandwiches.
Dos Diablos | Various Locations
The Torta Cubano dished up by food truck Dos Diablos features a toasted roll slathered with chipotle mayo and filled with pulled pork, grilled cheese, salsa verde and jalapenos. As their truck is a frequenter of festivals and events around town, Dos Diablos understand that their clientele will likely be forced to eat standing up and with beer in hand, and therefore their Cuban toastie is super easy to consume one handed. It packs a spicy punch, too, as it breaks with tradition and turns up the heat. To get your hands on one, just hit up Dos Diablos's Facebook page, which is updated constantly with their current locale.
Pope Joan | Brunswick East
We already know Pope Joan dish up some od Melbourne's best sandwiches (check out our round up of Melbourne's best reubens), but their Cuban counterpart is making mouth-watering waves as well. Made with pulled pork, pickles, cheese, carrot and lettuce on a fluffy white bun, this spicy sammich is a noteworthy take on the classic. Ideally consumed on warm summer days in their fantastic courtyard.
Acland St Cantina | St Kilda
Existing solely on this St Kilda bar and restaurant's take away menu, the Acland St Cantina 'Cubano' is a serious treat. One of the best Cuban sandwiches in Melbourne, this bad boy features pulled pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard on a toasted roll; breaking with tradition, but doing so in style. The flavours are almost overflowing, making this a two handing endeavour, but one well worth the effort. It's dude food done fancy.
Sookie La La | Northcote
Step back in time at Sookie La La on High Street; this old-school diner style café is dishing up all the feel good dishes you can handle, including sundaes, shakes and, of course, a spot on Cuban sandwich. Crafted with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, honey mustard mayo and a crusty fresh baguette, this juicy mammoth of a sandwich shows perfect harmony between the tastes of Cuba and the ingenuity of Melbourne.
Benson's on Martin | Brighton
While only opening four months ago, Benson's on Martin understands the crucial reality of breakfast on the weekend: sometimes, it's just not going to happen before midday. As such, Benson's have made the breakfast and brunch menus applicable until 4.00pm, and this of course includes their take on the Cubano. This modern 'pulled poke' sandwich consists of pork (obviously), American mustard, lettuce, sour cream and carrots on toasted Turkish bread, served with a side of shoestring fries – perfect for whatever time you decide to roll out of bed. This untraditional combination of Cuban sandwich makes for messy eating, but then, that's always the best type of eating.
Enjoy our pick of Cuban sandwiches in Melbourne that cut the mustard, Listers!
Main image credit: BS' in The Kitchen