I’m in Melbourne at the moment, and for the next few days will be working in the CBD. When using Foursquare to find a decent coffee place near my office (more on that later), I found a highly rated sandwich bar called Earl Canteen. After reading some reviews about the pork belly roll and drooling over the descriptions of other options, I went onto their website to find out if they would accomodate a gluten free diner. Luckily for me, the answer is yes, for no extra cost they will give you a gluten free wrap instead of the baguette.
Earl Canteen‘s philosophy is that they make ‘restaurant quality sandwiches’, or sandwiches made with ingredients that could be on the plate in a good restaurant. The fillings you can choose include Wagyu meatballs, confit duck, lime poached chicken and of course the signature pork belly. There are some great vegetarian options too, but after spending the weekend eating vegetarian food, I was in the mood for something else.
After taking the advice from Foursquare and Urbanspoon reviewers I selected the Pork Belly for $13.50. It contains Crisp skin Otway pork belly, apple, cabbage and fennel coleslaw and wilted silverbeet on a gluten free wrap. The macarons in their cabinet also looked delightful (if tiny), and at $2.50 each I picked two to eat later in the afternoon. I chose salted caramel, which I can’t go past if it’s an option, and white peach.
Upon opening my sandwich, I was amazed at how much pork was inside. The first bite of the wrap didn’t appeal to me, this is common with gluten free wraps. This one was hard and cardboardish, reminding me of the Freedom Foods gluten free wraps which I dislike. So I unwrapped my sandwich and ate the fillings with a fork. That sorted, I really enjoyed the rest of my lunch, as the pork was amazing, the crispy crackling was perfectly crunchy and salty, and the coleslaw was fresh and delicious.
I ate the macarons a few hours later. The white peach one was nice, although I felt the flavour was a little too much like jam for my liking. The salted caramel macaron was amazing though, I want more of those!
Overall I was highly impressed with the offerings at Earl Canteen. If you’re not gluten intolerant then the baguette would most likely enhance the meal. If I get a chance to go back I’ll try one of their salads, or ask for my sandwich filling without the bread or wrap.
Name: Earl Canteen
Address: 500 Bourke St, Melbourne (enter from Little Bourke St)
Hours: 7:30 – 5pm Monday to Friday.