Sometimes, a regular sandwich just doesn't cut it. For one, the fillings are forever falling out the back and sides, making it more like a lap-wich (amirite?). Two, there's a sense of accomplishment from unsheathing a long sambo roll from its paper wrapper, squashing it between your hands, and working your way through a horizontal sandwich feast. We've made a list of where to find the best subs to subdue that appetite.
Lucky Pickle | Surry Hills
This hole-in-in-the-wall joint just off Crown St is a Sydney cheap eats lunch spot for those in the know. For the un-indoctrinated, you're about to be let in on a sandwich secret – their chicken katsu is the bomb. 'Crisp as, bro!' slabs of chicken are drizzled with creamy tonkatsu sauce and mayonnaise, purple cabbage adds crunch and health, and it's all nestled on a fresh baguette. Pull up a milk crate and chow down, you lucky thing.
Bootleg Meatballs | Potts Point
Formerly an Italian restaurant, the owners of Bootleg decided to up the ante and focus on their extremely popular meatball trade. Their 'balls are made on premises with hand-ground meat, and the attention to quality really pays off. You can choose-your-own menu adventure, and we recommend the pork & fennel with Napoli sauce and caramelised onions on a sub roll. 'Succulent' is such a meat-describing cliché, but it's pretty apt here. They're now open till 1am Thursday to Saturday too, so put down that kebab and treat your post-party body.
Devon Café | Surry Hills
Given its menu popularity, pork belly is a viable contender for Australia's national dish. Surry Hills' favourite café-named-after-childhood-luncheon-meat always impresses with its modern cafe food with South-East Asian touches, and they've done a masterful job with the pork belly roll. The melt-in-your mouth free-range belly meat contrasts wonderfully with faithfully crisp crackling, and a bed of slaw dressed with nahm jim relieves your cholesterol levels somewhat. Brioche may not be a typical sub-sandwich vessel, and you might not need the accompanying camper mug of chunk chips, but when it's this tasty, who cares?
Sourdough Panini Bakery & Café | CBD
City workers, breathe a sigh of relief! No longer do you need to do the 1pm zombie walk through soulless food courts proffering stale sushi and bland salads. Sourdough Panini Bakery & Café is onto a good thing, pairing Certified Organic Sourdough bread with their moreish filling inventions. Everyone raves about the meatballs, and for good reason. The warmed, juicy meatballs are squashed into a long roll, and accompanied by Napolitana sauce with provolone and parmesan cheese. Incredible.
Monty's Sandwich Shop | Bondi Junction
We have a lot to thank John Montague for. The Earl of Sandwich was the inventor of the humble sambo, and this Bondi Junction eatery pays homage to the man himself. If you're after a real sub sandwich experience, pick the white baguette roll, and then – here comes the tricky part – choose your fillings. Menu regulars such as the ploughman's (ham, cheese, salad and pickle) never fail to please, but also keep an eye out for their daily specials. Who can say no to corned beef with sauerkraut and house-made relish?
Original Meatball Company | CBD
So, the CEO of Gelatissimo and a male model pair up to start a New York-style meatball eatery. It could almost be the synopsis of an Adam Sandler comedy, but thankfully, it's the story of how the Original Meatball Company came to Sydney-town. And what about the subs? Well, they're technically called heroes, and they're gooood. The classic 'Mamma's Balls' is a combo of pork and veal meatballs with ragu sauce, provolone cheese and rocket on a long white roll. There are all sorts of variations too, but make sure you follow up with the mind-blowing cookie crumble milkshakes.
Mr Crackles | Darlinghurst
Rozelle's loss, Darlinghurst's win. The former Rozelle Market stall Mr Crackles has nestled into a shopfront on Oxford St, and these fellas do a cracker pig 'n' bread deal. Cheap eats in Sydney? You betcha! Go for the house specialty of slow roasted five-spice pork belly served Vietnamese bánh mì style. If you're feeling ambitious, consider the Manwich – 'twice the meat, half the salad'. You'll probably have to tackle it while listening to Eye of the Tiger on full blast. And if all that pork just ain't enough, you can order a side of extra crackling, just because you can.
Still hungry? Check out more of Sydney's best restaurants and cafes.
Image credit: Mr Crackles, Kit Baker