The poached chicken sandwich at Jolly Good
Tim Harris
  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy

Jolly Good Sandwiches

If Jolly Good is anything to go by, Melbourne’s sandwich craze shows no signs of abating

Sonia Nair

Time Out says

Sandwiches are by no means a new invention, but Melbourne’s obsession with them has intensified in the last few years. Hector’s Deli in Richmond has developed into a cult favourite since opening in 2017, so much so it’s expanded with a second shop in South Melbourne, while Fitzroy pop-up Nico’s Sandwich Deli stands in addition to its permanent storefront in the city. Numerous others, from Kelso’s Sandwich Shoppe and Wild Like Bakery to Smith & Deli, have paved the way for this sandwich explosion.

Enter Jolly Good Sandwiches, a former pandemic pop-up sandwich bar now with permanent premises nestled within cornerside craft beer bar Near & Far. If you’re struggling to find it, look out for Fitzroy’s divisive giant banana sculpture on the corner of Rose and Brunswick streets – an unofficial mascot for Jolly Good Sandwiches, which overlooks it. For those sick of resting their toosh on the ground after the year we’ve just had, Jolly Good Sandwiches helpfully has a row of tables that snake around the corner.

Manned by former Gimlet chef Raphael Exton Perry who’s exchanged fine dining with more unassuming fare, the setup is modest and no-frills. When we visit, a hunk of roast beef is warming up on a sandwich press, with baguettes toasted in a separate toaster grill. Plates are eschewed in favour of serving the baguettes in branded paper with an optional jar of corn chips and house pickles. The benefit of ordering a sandwich in a craft beer bar is the wide range of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beers to accompany your meal, though coffee is available too for those who need an injection of caffeine. We opt for every teetotaller’s favourite summer drink, Heaps Normal.

The menu is short but sweet, boasting one chicken sandwich, two beef ones (including one that comes with a stout gravy dip), a cheese salad one for non-meat eaters, and a toastie for those who prefer their bread browned and glistening. A crusty white sourdough mini-baguette, sourced courtesy of Cobb Lane and used in every sandwich, is a worthy receptacle – it’s light with a good crunch, not so much that you’d scrape the roof of your mouth but with a suitable amount of heft.

The tarragon and dill mayo in the exceedingly fresh poached chicken salad sandwich is light with a slight tang from the citrus in it, with plenty of vegetation present in the firm cucumber and sweet butter lettuce leaves. Balsamic-dressed leaves blanketed in melted Swiss cheese and a pickle sweeter than it is sour accompany the rare roast beef, pink and tender, in the roast beef melt. It’s the heavier option of the two. If you’d like to share your sandwich with your dining companion, Jolly Good Sandwiches is one step ahead of you – each baguette is expertly sliced in two. 

Rather than dessert, chase up your meal with a Cobb Lane pretzel. Opt for the original salted one or go for the cheesy one – either way you’ll be rewarded with pleasantly chewy strips of dough, best dipped in the accompanying horseradish mustard, and fluffy interiors.


375 Brunswick St
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