As far as I’m concerned (which isn’t very far), reubens have no business calling themselves just that unless they’re stacked so high you can barely fit them in your mouth, and then once you take a bite you take ages to chew, and then can’t talk to your dining companion, and you do that weird hand movement thing that everyone does while they chew quickly. That, friends, is the sign of a quality reuben.
Cheesy, meaty, bready, pickley, krauty, dressing-y, there’s no better sandwich to enjoy when you want something hearty. But where do you find them in Sydney? I’m about to tell you.
I’m not sure who Uncle Kurt is, or if he was indeed named after the chubby kid in The Sound Of Music, but I do know he makes one hell of a reuben at his Parramatta establishment. Self-described as Brooklyn deli meets wine bar, Uncle Kurt’s will sort you out with a cocktail, a reuben, and good times galore. You might have to search a little to find it, but once you’re in, there’s no turning back. Until they close, then you have to leave. It’s the rules.
Call me Sherlock Holmes if you must, but there was just... something about this place that suggested they knew their way around a good ol’ reuben, and I should check it out. They do, and I did, and you should too. Except, they don’t call it a reuben, they call it a not reuben. Probably because it’s made with 5+ salt wagyu brisket, pickled coleslaw, manchego cheese and horseradish mayo, which isn’t strictly traditional. So yeah, it’s not a reuben, but it is. And it’s really good. Make it your business to give it a red-hot crack.
Benjamin And Daughters
Forget your yummy mummies, Double Bay, Benjamin & Daughters has arrived, and it is curing more than beef. The reuben at this American deli-style cafe and bar is exactly what you want it to be: stacked high, topped with a generous amount of tangy sauerkraut, laden with cheese, and sitting happily between two slices of rye bread. Oh, and pickles. Always pickles. It’s enough to distract anyone from their rosé for a minute. Get involved.
Cook & Archies Cafe
Thank heavens for places like Cook & Archies; the ones that save the world from walking around the supermarket for discount tuna and beans on their lunch breaks. When your stomach
is growling and nothing but Black Angus corned beef will do, these guys will sort you out. Good. It’s the perfect break from your usual sad desk lunch or weekend staple of eggs benny (don’t deny it), and you absolutely can go all out and request a side of beer battered fries. Because Huggies was right, you’re a big kid now. And big kids do what they damn well please.
Another one of those joints that set my psychic sense alight and on a quest to see if they could produce a satisfactory reuben. They can, by the way. In fact, the menu at Marrickville’s Reuben Republic is chock full of reubeny goodness, plenty of cheese, and a fat helping of sauerkraut to keep your breath on track by reminding everyone what you had for lunch. But you’d tell them anyway, right? Because delicious sandwiches are life.
What is it with Marrickville and really, really good Reubens? Is it something in the water? I’m not one to question the makers of an excellent sandwich, so let’s stop with the questions and get on with the explaining of delicious, meat-stacked, cheesy sangas that are worth your time and respect. The reuben at illihill Cafe (try saying that five times after a few wines) is made in the traditional way, and comes with spicy Russian dressing that will end up on your shirt, but who cares, because sandwich.
Remember when Jack Black and that other guy had a band called Tenacious D and they had that really weird song called Tribute? Did anyone ever figure out what that song was about? Probably not, but I can tell you that Newtown’s Cuckoo Callay serves up a tasty morsel called tribute to the greatest reuben. And it’s awesome. So maybe the song was about this? Likely. Stacked with Wagyu corned beef, gruyere cheese, watercress, and Russian dressing, this is worth writing a song about. Now go.
Monty & Maurice At The Dolphin
Who else remembers The Dolphin before its oh-so-Surry-Hills makeover? I do, but I definitely don’t remember them serving one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Monty & Maurice (the awesome sandwich joint inside The Dolphin) has a somewhat new ‘proper sandwiches’ menu that is as eye-grabbing as it is jeans-popping, and you should make it your mission to work your way through it if you haven’t already. Starting with the reuben. Oh, are you going to have some seriously adult dreams about that cheesy, meaty, carby reuben. I’m excited for you. Be sure to check ahead, friends, because the menu is on rotation.
Now move onto the sweet stuff here with best everything maple in Sydney.
Image credit: Iris Tian