Meat & BreadPosted: 09/29/2012
Cindy usually doesn’t mind if I pick a venue for lunch, but she seemed a little skeptical about my choice of Meat & Bread. Actually, I was a little skeptical as well. Although I’d heard rave reviews of the place, I remained indifferent before my first visit–after all, how good can a simple sandwich be? Still, Cindy and I both trekked off to see for ourselves.
First of all, the restaurant was packed. A good sign–there was a considerable lineup and an eclectic mix of clientele. I think of it as a good sign when there’s a diverse clientele since it usually means that the food is universally appealing and not just catering to a certain crowd. That day there were some middle-aged couples, a forty-something mother with her three preteen children and a hipster couple. Cindy and I immediately joined the lineup and perused the menu (helpfully and clearly displayed as seen here) while we waited. We ordered our sandwiches (and, in Cindy’s case, some salad), and sat down beside other hungry diners. This definitely isn’t the place to go if you enjoy your privacy–we were literally brushing elbows with strangers. It was a little uncomfortable if you’re claustrophobic like I am, but the atmosphere is definitely an enjoyable one.
Cindy opted for the Porchetta–savoury, fatty pork with salsa verde. Within minutes, her skepticism about Meat & Bread vanished. The bread had subtle hints of sourdough flavour, but wasn’t overbearing. She felt that the bread was soft and chewy, and complemented the meat well. And the pork–it was crispy, tender, and flavourful, and a little reminiscent of Chinese barbecue pork, but not in a bad way. The salsa verde just improved an already delicious sandwich, adding hits of garlic and herbs. I don’t normally gush about much of anything (well, except my tendency to act like a little girl whenever I see Andrew Garfield), but this was one amazing sandwich.
I debated for a while but ultimately decided on the Lamb Shoulder, which was the daily special. I’m a sucker for any kind of special–I always feel like that if something is the daily special, then that day is the only time I can get it (even though clearly this is not the case). Plus, I love lamb–if I see it on a menu, I will usually order it (same goes for duck). In any case, the lamb here was a great choice–it was tender, juicy and meaty. Although gamy (which is expected from lamb), the meat was also fatty and rich. Still, I didn’t tire of the richness as I usually do. The crunch from the greens kept the sandwich from being monotonous and mushy, and the bread was similarly subtle but delicious. I’m not a huge fan of sandwiches but this one was a winner.
Two items is not nearly enough to comprise an entire blog entry. So, bless her heart, Cindy ordered the Quinoa Salad as well. This was my first time having quinoa (and my first time saying the word itself correctly as well). I tend to shy away from anything healthy, but the quinoa was light, fresh, and not too mushy. The flavours and consistency were both well brought out by the preparation. The strongest flavour present was that of apples–light, crisp, sweet and refreshing.I thought this was a perfect complement to the sandwiches we’d had, which didn’t feel healthy (but were delicious all the same)–in comparison to our rich, heavy sandwiches, the quinoa was deliciously light and refreshing.
So thank you to Meat and Bread for reversing my thoughts on sandwiches. I’ve always had an aversion to sandwiches (so much so that when I brought one for lunch one day, Pickles immediately declared me to be an impostor)–I avoid Subway and Quizno’s like the plague. But Meat and Bread. Any good restaurant is one that only has a few menu items–after all, doesn’t this mean that they focus on being exceptional at a few things rather than having a broad but weak range? Although Meat and Bread isn’t for everyone, I was definitely won over.
Meat & Bread
370 Cambie Street