The best toasties in Sydney
Owners Byron Van Zyl and Chewie Stevenson are constantly transforming well-grilled slices of Infinity Bakery’s traditional tin loaf into killer toasties that demonstrate the stretching powers of good cheese. The best is the “Mi Goreng”, a genius collision of two great late-night snacks: instant noodles and the contents of a fridge-raiding session, wedged into a toaster. Dutch Smuggler’s version squeezes in noodles, a fried egg, shallots, a double meltdown of cheese (oozy mozzarella and sweet, nutty Gruyere) and a mysterious “magic sauce” between its crunchy triangles of bread.
While the cheeseburger jaffle put Neighbourhood on our radar – it comes with cheese, pickles, mustard and fries inside and it tastes like a flattened and toasted Big Mac – we're also fans of the Italian Job. Shreds of slow cooked brisket are encased by American jack cheddar cheese. It ends up tasting a bit like a grown up cheeseburger (and we're not complaining), but it’s messier to eat (still not complaining).
Toasties are called NLTs at Single O (that stands for Next Level Toasties) and they live up to their name. This sandwich comes filled with ham, cheese, and then drizzled in béchamel sauce before being grilled to perfection. Here the bouncy, chewy sourdough comes from the Bread and Butter Project, and it’s filled to the breaking-brim with generous swathes of tender leg ham, a lick of Dijon mustard and a thick layer of cheddar cheese-enriched béchamel. On the side: a tart salad of pickled vegetables and rocket to cut through the richness.
If you're in need of carbs, protein and butter Morris do a dang good croque madame. It comes oozing with cheese, has three thick slices of ham and comes perfectly golden crisp on the outside. A sunny side egg rounds things out, to make it a knife-and-fork meal over asingle hander, and you can add in an excellent coffee from Mecca, a mean miso salted caramel shake (add a coffee shot for seriously creamy, caffeinated adventure) or great spicy chai.
Getting a Reuben sandwich right is all about ratios. You have to get the sauce just right so that your toastie is neither wet nor dry, you need the sauerkraut to cut through the richness of the cheese, but not too much and you want plenty of the smoke wagyu they use here to carry all those strong flavours. Toast it golden brown and slice it into fingers for the ultimate cocktail foil.
Salads, smoothies and sandwiches – they aren’t a groundbreaking combo, but you’d be surprised to find that Bondi doesn’t have many places peddling the holy trinity of health conscious lunches. Now Side Room has arrived in the Pacific complex, on Campbell Parade, seeking to change that. Here they'll toast chunky brisket, zesty pickles, and creamy mayo between Brickfields bread; or a classic ham and cheese combo.
Before you fill your tank with party fuel in the form of tropical rum cocktails, lay a solid foundation for a night out with a proper jaffle. They do a classic baked bean or tinner spaghetti version that tastes just like your childhood, but we like the chicken edition too. It’s a blazing hot sealed pocket of chicken and cheese with a generous snowball of Japanese mayo on the side. Ask the bar nicely and they’ll let you add some hot sauce if you want to spice things up.
The three-cheese toastie at this Pyrmont café and bar is made with classic white bread and ‘glued’ together with melted layers of Gruyère, tasty and cheddar, sweetened by caramelised onions and riched up with truffle mayo. And since their all-day breakfast is available until 10pm it’s an anytime food.
There’s something about the American technique of pan-frying a cheese sandwich that has always made grilled cheese seem more impressive than your standard toastie. Of course if you really want to take your sandwich work to the next level you’d follow in the footsteps of the Swinging Cat where they put wafer-thin slices of pink, tender smoked wagyu, cheddar and raclette cheeses between two slices of bread before cooking it until it’s crunchy on the outside and properly melty inside.
We all learned the hard way that the tomato inside a cheese, ham and tomato toasted sandwich will be hotter than the surface of the sun, but sometimes after a few German beers or a Negroni you can forget so let us remind you to approach the classic toastie at Arcadia Liquors with due caution. It’s a simple pleasures bar snack that might not fill you up but it will certainly take the edge off – but don’t say we didn’t warn you if you go too hard too fast and burn the tip of your tongue.