Sandoochie: the humble sanger soars to new heights | HerCanberra

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Sandoochie: the humble sanger soars to new heights

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Molecular gastronomy is all well and good until you want a sandwich.

Let’s face it, a well-executed and humble sanger can satisfy something primal within us that no amount of foam or leaning towers of unidentified suspensions surrounded by powdered freeze-dried spheres can satisfy.

It’s a culinary phenomenon and business model upon which Lucy Holm is basing her trust.

She has just opened Sandoochie in No Name Lane in the city after trailing her sandwich expertise during a pop-up last year.

The excellent news for city workers, ANU students, and sandwich enthusiasts in the vicinity is that Sandoochie is now a permanent fixture with an ever-changing menu of seriously toothsome sangers.

The eggplant, red sauce and provolone. Image by Ana Stuart.

The secret to elevating the simple sandwich to an artform rests on some immutable principles. First, one must source good bread. Lucy’s mate Lach Cutting conveniently opened Under Bakery in Mawson last year and is pumping out some loaves that are so good as to render one bread-loving journalist temporarily without the power of speech.

The pair worked together at Louis Coutouppes’ Kiosk and like many of us, Lach became obsessed with sourdough during the first lockdown. His bakery is bustling, and Lucy exclusively serves his sourdough focaccia and tin loaf sourdough stuffed to the brim with her creative fillings.

It was actually a staff meal that Lucy prepared for Lach and the Kiosk team which led her to “a full-blown obsession with things betwixt bread”. She recalls her sandwich was “not to toot my own horn, so good that I wanted to peg it against the wall”.

Bread is, however, merely the superstructure. What goes between Lach’s softy but stretchy slices is what sets Sandoochie apart.

Lucy is a believer in butter (the second principle of an exemplary sandwich). Good butter. Butter that provides that unctuous spread upon which the sanger filling can truly “sing”. Lucy uses Girgar, an Australian-made, Danish-style butter, and she’s not stingy with it either.

Then come the fillings (the third principle). With her experience in the kitchens of top local establishments including Bar Rochford and Rebel Rebel, Lucy has a way with flavours. She creates a Butter Chicken Sandwich which includes poached chicken, a rich spicy sauce, a cucumber, coriander and Spanish onion raita and an onion bhaji.

Lucy wants to keep the place fresh and change up the combinations every week, also nodding to seasonal ingredients. Which brings us to the final rule of sandwiches, and that is the filling should reach the edge of the bread. It does, I checked.

But back to what constitutes the fillings.

Lucy only opened on Monday, and when she swapped out the crumbed eggplant with red sauce and provolone after a few days there were a few disgruntled vegetarians at her window. They didn’t take long to appreciate her cumin-roasted Dutch baby carrot, kale, chimichurri and goat’s cheese replacement, however. Crisis averted.

The lesson here is you need to show up on the regular.

Each day there is also a salad, served in a recyclable bowl, and accompanied by Lach’s sublime focaccia and a wad of Pepe Saya butter to go.

Lucy is a fan of Ottolenghi and salads are likely to sound like cauliflower with fried lentils, blood orange and whipped tahini, depending on where Lucy’s head is at. She makes fresh batches three times a day.

There’s one sandwich filling likely to be a regular fixture just because it cannot be topped, and that is poached chicken with fresh corn, celery, almonds and mayo.

Taking this off the menu may incite rebellion… Image by Ana Stuart

“During the pop-up I must have sold thousands of them,” she says with an undisguised tinge of pride.

At the time of writing there was also a potato rosti, pesto, French onion dip and cos combination, and a masala Indian tuna, pickled green chilli, chips and iceberg sandwich. Dear lord. All of these creations are $13.

While Lucy professes she is no pastry cook, she does like to whip up some home-made sweet treats daily “just like nan used to make”. Please do save some room for her pineapple upside-down cake.

The shop itself is not fancy, but the outdoor seating is plentiful, and Lucy is seeking a liquor licence to include tinnies and the odd glass of wine with her artworks—sorry, sandwiches—for when things are a little more settled and she can cater for some night-time events. Sandwiches for dinner? You’re on.

The Essentials

What: Sandoochie
Where: No Name Lane, Shop 8, 40 Marcus Clarke Street, Civic
Open: Monday-Friday 11-3pm. Closed Saturday (for now) and Sunday.

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