Pig, beans, and a little bit of heart

Name: Lonsdale Street Roasters

Address: 3/7 Lonsdale St Braddon ACT

Ph: 02 6156 0975

Hours: Mon-Fri, 6:30am – 4pm. Sat, 6:30am – 1pm

For a man like me that really likes his meat, there are few things better than pig for breakfast.

This is particularly true when the pig is roasted pork shoulder, pressed in a Panini with chipotle sauce and coriander and toasted to perfection, otherwise known as the Cuban from Lonsdale Street Roasters.

In the last few years the Earl of Sandwich’s humble invention to keep his cards from getting dirty has gone through a revolution in this country. The idea of putting brilliant, fresh, beautifully cooked ingredients between bread is not a difficult concept, yet over the years there have been a lot of very average sandwiches.

But a movement came, with EARL Canteen’s pork belly baguette arguable at the helm, and changed people’s conceptions of what this simple dish can become.

With Lonsdale Street Roasters, this movement has finally made it to the capital. Their selection of Paninis take understandable classic combinations and make them with outstandingly good produce.

The Cuban is probably the most exciting, with the smokiness of the chipotle taking the rich, tender shredded pork on a trip to Central America, with the eater along for the ride. However, the rest of the menu should not be ignored, as there are some other gems.

A Chorizo special matches that famous paprika-laden Spanish sausage with creamy, freshly made mozzarella, sweet tomato sugo, and basil is a serious punch of flavour. It’s a very sexy sandwich.

If there is a nation with real sandwich credentials it is the US, with one of their greatest being the Reuben, a stack of meat, sauerkraut, cheese and Russian dressing. The LSR version of it doesn’t disappoint, with beautifully salty corned beef balancing the sharpness of the cabbage and the smoothness of the sauce. A great import.

For those less carnivorous of us there are some seriously good vegetarian options, including one with artichoke, olives and peppers, held together with Fromart d’Alpage, a wonderful Swiss cheese. There is also one with portabella mushrooms slow roasted in the massive woodfired oven at the back of the store that is worth a try.

The ‘Roasters’ in the name, however, comes from the joint’s real specialty – coffee. They have a selection of single origin coffees and house made blends, all roasted in the beast of a machine situated in the corner of the room, rotating which ones they are serving each day.

And they are seriously good coffees, with Johnny Cash and Brazil Blue being my personal favourites. For too long it has been hard to find a cup of this quality in Canberra, and judging by the crowds of attractive alternative people and lycra clad cyclists spilling out onto the streets every morning, the city has been begging for it.

Their sweet offerings, all made in house, are also a treat. Hot cross buns are dense and spiced, and are excellent when spread with honeycomb butter. Lemon tarts are short as short can be shells of pastry, filled with thick, gooey lemon curd. These are two ever-present and usually decidedly average pastries. Here, they were made as they should be, and who can ever ask for more than that.

Lonsdale Street Roasters don’t do anything particularly out of the ordinary, except that they do it right. With good ingredients and a little care, they take coffee, sandwiches and pastries and make them properly. It may sounds cliché, but this is food and drink from the heart.

And really, whatever time of day you eat it, that is always going to be some wonderful pig.

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About freehugstommy

Food, films and politics are my triumvirate of passions.
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