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Ham On Rye, the stellar deli-style sandwich joint from the Remy’s crew

By George Hadgelias
The sandwich deli is such a well-known concept to most, it’s a surprise that they aren’t more ubiquitous in Brisbane. Well, as the city’s sandwich renaissance continues to pick up steam, every variant of sanga specialist is making an appearance. Ham On Rye, Paddington’s brand-new purveyor of deli-style two-handers from the Remy’s and Hai Hai Ramen crew, is taking the familiar formula and giving it a colourful spin. In addition to stacked spicy beef and cheese sambos, choice Cubanos, ripper Reubens and sensational salad sandwiches, Ham On Rye is flipping through a Rolodex of specials that will have fans of the most obscure options popping in with regularity.
When the PopMega team decides to open a new culinary concept, the most potent driver behind the group’s initial brainstorming period is deciding what they would want to eat. The concept of ‘want’ shaped how the hospo crew has cultivated its cluster of beloved Paddington chow spots, with its strip of eateries on Latrobe Terrace – Remy’sHai Hai Ramen and King Tea – a reflection of the team’s personal predilections. “We really wanted ramen so we made a ramen shop,” says PopMega’s Dane Huitfeldt of the group’s methodology. “A lot of it is satisfying our culinary expectations and the availability of these things.” PopMega’s latest addition to its Paddington portfolio is Ham On Rye, a sandwich shop that is somewhat of a love letter to the classic deli-style dispensaries of New York and a nod to new-wave sambo specialists, like venerated Melbourne joints Hector’s Deli and Nico’s Sandwich Deli. Seeing a neat gap in the local scene for something with a similar purview, Dane and the PopMega team decided to take it upon themselves to add to its Paddington pocket. “There’s a lot of pride in Paddington,” says Dane of his affection for the area. “Trying to make sure it has the range of things worth visiting during the week and on the weekend – and being a part of that – is really nice for us.” Ham On Rye occupies a small space at Paddington Central that faces Latrobe Terrace (next door to Lick! Ice Cream). Here, the team has taken the delicatessen decor staple – the subway tile – and used it to great effect. Instead of the usual scheme of white tile offset by a primary colour, Ham On Rye opts for a maximalist palette featuring blue and yellow. The walls will soon be adorned with pop art-inspired pieces, with works evoking Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein given some fun deli-related tweaks. As the joint is geared toward more of a takeaway trade, seating is minimal – two tiled benches flank the entry way, perfect for perching to wait while your sandwich is made.Speaking of sandwiches, Ham On Rye’s culinary brains trust – head chef Marcelo Oliveira (who previously manned the pans at PopMega’s Woolloongabba pizza joint Superfly) and group executive chef Alex Triffett have spent recent weeks whittling down a lengthy list of recipes until they finalised a six-strong collection of core sandwiches (a mix of butter-toasted items and fresh options). The range hews close to classic options, but the team has been eager to add a few tasty tweaks to imprint an identifiable Ham On Rye style.”We do want the familiarity of the deli sandwiches, but we do want them to be our take,” says Dane. “We want to stand out a bit.” Ham On Rye is using custom wide loaves baked by Bakeologists in New Farm, which ensure the usability of each loaf is maximised as opposed to conventional torpedo-shaped loaves, which have no defined edges. Leading the offering is a Reuben, with the familiar assemblage of pastrami, Russian dressing, sauerkraut and cheese layered between slices of rye. Up next is the Cubano, which sees leg ham, roasted pork, honey mustard, pickles and cheese enhanced by the addition of a tropical citrus and herb spread. Sausage, chimichurri, crushed potato salad and cheese comprises the ingredients list of the Argentinian-inspired choripan, while the Cold Cuts sandwich lives up to its name courtesy of copious slices of ham, roast pork and salami (plus cheese, of course). Rounding out the core range is the spicy beef sandwich with braised chuck rib, pickles, jalapenos, cheese and ranch dressing, and the deli salad sambo with lettuce, tomato, red onion, cheese, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, alfalfa sprouts and mayo. Customers will be able to vote on Ham On Rye’s specials, with the team keen to cycle through a huge list of banked recipes (including a chicken parm) on a regular basis. In addition to the sandwiches, guests can expect fresh juices and pour-and-go filter coffee from Coffee Supreme.Ham On Rye is now open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours and other important info.

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