The humble sandwich is completely under-rated. In its truest form, it's simply bread with a thin layer of filling, but when it's taken to the next level it's a meal in itself.
And that's the goal of Lucy Holm who's just opened Sandoochie in No Name Lane in the city.
"I'm trying to do restaurant food in between bread really," she says, finding a permanent home after a pop-up last year was met with great approval.
You won't find ham and cheese on the menu here. It's ever changing, depending on the season and what Holm feels like whipping up. Think Cumin-roasted Dutch baby carrot with kale, chimichurri and goat's cheese or a Butter poached chicken sandwich with a spicy sauce and a cucumber, coriander and Spanish onion raita and bonus onion bhaji.
Holm was working at Kiosk with Louis Couttoupes (now at Onzieme) during lockdown when she was put in charge of a staff meal.
"Not to toot my own horn it was so good I wanted to peg it against a wall," she says. That's where the fascination with things "betwixt bread" began. Lachlan Cutting was also in the kitchen at Kiosk and when he opened Under Bakery in Mawson in 2021 he was the obvious choice to become the bread supplier.
"I think he does the best bread in Canberra," says Holm, using his sourdough focaccia and his tin loaf sourdough for her creations.
The bread is only the starting point for a good sandwich, she says. There's the butter for a start. She uses Girgar, an Australian-made Danish style better, and is generous in her slathering.
But the main star is what's in the middle.
"Say, you've got a potato sandwich," she says. (And yes, there is a potato rosti with pesto, French onion dip and cos sandwich on the menu.)
"That's the staple, that's the star, but it's what goes around it that makes it taste good.
"The sauce has to supply a certain amount of wetness, there's got to be a certain amount of fat, there's got to be crunch and acidity.
"If you're thinking about the mouthfeel of it, without sounding too weird, it's about how the sandwich feels in your mouth."
Holm also has experience in the kitchens of leading restaurants Rebel Rebel and Bar Rochford. As well as the sandwiches she's doing a salad or two each day, maybe a few batches so it's all fresh and ready to eat in or takeaway. At the time of writing, an Ottolenghi-esque salad of cauliflower, friend lentils, blood orange, whipped tahini, served with some of Cutting's focaccia and butter.
There are a few outside tables, that strip along No Name Lane is always bustling with Harvest, Terra and Baby Su the big names amidst a wide variety of venues.
She even might find time to make some sweet treats. We saw some pineapple upside-down cake on the menu last week.
"Our first week was crazy," she says, "but it was great to see people coming in."
All of the "dooches" are $13. The salads too. Cake is $6.
I've covered a few things here at The Canberra Times over the years, from sport to education. But now I get to write about the fun stuff - where to eat, what to do, places to go, people to see. Let me know about your favourite things. Email: email@example.com
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