The leaves have turned and it’s starting to get chilly. Winter is almost here. Lazy Sunday…
Is there anything more simply delicious than the humble cheese toastie? Chefs Alex O’Brien and Alex Royds don’t think so. That’s why they’ve opened Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium in Fyshwick.
Their days may be spent in pursuit of gastronomic majesty, but ask your average chef what he eats after work and more often than not, it will be something far more humble.
Like a cheese toastie.
At least that’s what former The Boat House chefs Alex O’Brien and Alex Royds used to quell their hunger after a busy night of fine-dining service.
As far back as seven years ago they began fantasising about running a café which elevated the cheese toastie to its rightful position as the centrepiece of a menu.
And yesterday, after months of preparation, Melted Toasted Sandwich Emporium grilled its first masterpiece.
The tiny shopfront, on Pirie Street in Fyshwick, has one mission: to serve excellent cheese toasties.
And it does so in six different ways. There’s the entry-level melted cheese mix with chilli jam, the melted cheese mix with Balzanelli ham, the marinated eggplant, zucchini and capsicum with mozzarella; the Rueben, with pastrami, sauerkraut, Dijon and melted cheese mix; the Asian spiced duck with miso, shallots and coriander with mozzarella; and the lamb shoulder with fetta, spinach, Spanish onion, parsley and lemon.
Unlike your more ubiquitous café toasties, these boys went home-style, using fresh soft white bread (sourdough is too hard to cut or eat in one hand).
“We really want to serve a simple but excellent homemade toastie that you can grab and eat,” says Alex O’Brien, whose CV includes stints at Sage, Aubergine, Courgette and Les Bistronomes—among others.
“We thought a lot about the bread and settled on the really fresh and really soft white loaf which toasts up beautifully.”
They also thought a lot about the cheese component too. This led them to conclude that grated cheese melts better than slices – a messy but sage choice. It also means a revolving door of 15 different cheeses may make an appearance on your sanger.
On opening day, we opted for a very traditional plain cheese which comprised a mix of a tasty cheese, mozzarella, Gruyere and a raw milk cheese sourced from Simon Johnson.
“We will be experimenting with all our combinations to try new cheeses and new tastes,” said Alex.
Meanwhile, you can wash the cheese down with sides including a seeded mustard potato salad, an Asian slaw, and an iceberg lettuce salad—all made fresh each morning.
Shoestring fries come with bacon seasoning, sriracha or chicken salt. There’s also Red Brick coffee.
With seating for only a handful, this is a place to grab and go, and on opening day already had a steady flow of customers from offices in Fyshwick and tradies.
“We thought this area has heaps of potential and is growing so fast,” said Alex Royds.
They’ve priced themselves into the fast-food end of the market, with sandwiches starting at $6 and the duck and lamb combos costing $10.
Melted is open early—from 6.30 am—and shuts at 2.30 pm Monday to Friday.
They are also serving breakfast rolls including a double bacon and egg, a pastrami, egg, cheese and pickle and a crumbed BBQ eggplant, rocket and egg roll—all $7.
But for us, the ultimate taste test was a plain cheese toastie. It was soft, golden, rich and had an abundance of melted cheese threatening to break free from the toast and down our chins. OK, we may have made a mess. But it was so worth it.
What: Melted Cheese Toasted Cheese Sandwich Emporium
Where: 2/3 Pirie Street Fyshwick
When: 6.30 am – 2.30 pm Monday to Friday
Call: 02 51058523