Wednesday, October 24, 2012

EARL Canteen: not your average sandwich/salad bar.

Despite all the food on this blog, I actually try as hard as I can to eat clean and healthy. Most of the time, I'd count sandwiches as a healthy option for breakfast/lunch. So when I found out about EARL canteen, which specializes in sandwiches, I just had to give it a try.

EARL Canteen
500 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 
03 9600 1995
Mon - Fri, 7am - 4pm
(Enter via Lt. Bourke, Corner of Lt. Bourke and Lt. William)
EARL Canteen on Urbanspoon

The first thing you should look for is their green sign, and their giant 'EARL' upfront. You'd also notice that you are surrounded by office workers in their suits and slacks (if you go during lunch hour). Which I think is the main purpose of EARL Canteen: to cater for the busy lunch crowd.

Their interior is very clean, and very crisp. Minimal deco, with maybe a few plants here and there. Loved the little bit of green splashed around the entire café.

I've been here twice in two days, once with Demie, and the second with Adam, Iryan and our friend from KL, Lara.

Organic Cola, $4.

The last time I had any form of Cola was probably back in Malaysia when I sipped some of it with some Whiskey about 4.5 months ago. This cola that Demie ordered was different compared to the usual Coke or Pepsi though. It wasn't as sweet, but really, I didn't like it, mainly cause I don't like carbonated drinks at all.

Crisp skin freerange pork belly sandwich with apple, cabbage & fennel coleslaw, wilted silverbeet, $13.50.

I had mixed feelings about the bit that Demie fed me: both of us agreed that baguettes are a bit too hard a type of bread to use as a sandwich. Demie said the crackling was really, really crispy and the pork was good without any bit of that dirty-pork taste. What creeped me out was the strands of hair sticking out from the crackling: were you supposed to leave it there, or is coming across pork belly hair inevitable?! Eep!

As they cater for the busy lunch crowd, a lot of their items are pre-packed, or served in a sort of lunchbox. Really cute! Might remind some people of mommy's lunch boxes and tupperwares for school.

I wasn't too hungry, so I took a light salad. Don't look at me like that. Salad is food too.

Mushroom & hazelnut salad - roast mushrooms, zucchini, chickpeas, feta, kipflers, hazelnut dukkah,  $9.50

I actually really enjoyed it! The zucchini was the teeniest bit soggy, but what can you expect from sliced zucchinis? The mushrooms were cooked really well and tasted great, which is more than enough to make me really happy. The feta added a really good touch to it too, and it gave the right amount of saltiness to it.

Yummy.. mushrooms. I love mushrooms! Any kind except the smelly, Chinese, dried mushrooms.

The next day with Lara and the boys, we went at about the same time (1.30pm-ish). The place looked packed to the brim, but the crowd dispersed a minute or two after we were seated. Probably ordered to takeaway before heading back to the office.

The lunchbox I was talking about earlier! I think you'd only get this if you upgrade your sandwich to a lunch box, which comes with a house salad and something sweet for $4.

Corned beef sandwich - corned beef, provolone cheese, pickle, horseradish, 7 grain sourdough, $9.50

I completely forgot to ask Adam what he thought about his sandwich, but he seemed pretty happy that he got to have corned beef. Didn't hear any complaints from him, so I'm guessing it definitely wasn't bad.

Classic chicken sandwich - free-range chicken, dill, parsley, house mayonnaise, rocket, 7 grain sourdough, $9.

According to Iryan, it's 'just another sandwich'.

I did have a taste of 'something sweet', and it was pretty good. Some sorta muffin with lemon curd on top. I loved how it was a little crispy at the bottom. In your everyday café, that would've cost about $3-$4, so I suppose paying $4 for that and a salad was legit.

Gorgonzola pumpkin: Roast pumpkin, gorgonzola piccante, candied walnuts, braised leeks, $11.

Lara seemed to really, really enjoy this. We both have similar tastes, I wanted to order this as well, but as most may know, I never order the same dish as someone else. I'll try this out one next time. 

Prosciutto baguette - Berkshire prosciutto, roast tomato chutney, rocket & parmesan, crusty baguette $9.50.

It was an alright sandwich. There was a generous amount of shaved parmesan and it all tasted great together, but really, it would've been better if there was a little less bread, or a little more filling. But I suppose for that they'd have to increase the prices since prosciutto isn't anywhere near cheap.

Overall, I really think the sandwiches might be a tad bit too small a portion, especially for guys. The 'house salad' that came with the lunchbox looked like just a few pieces of broccoli, which I find a little disappointing.

The two of you... seriously............ 

I hope you enjoyed your day out with us Lara! I'll blog about the other places as the days go by, but for now, I need to sleep! 

Food: 6 - 7 (i really liked the salad, but the sandwiches could've been better)
Coffee: N/A
Ambience: 8
Value: 6
Staff: 7.5 

Frank Ocean's channel Orange is awesome,

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