The sandwich: a concoction that seems overwhelmingly simple yet could be labelled as the most versatile of all dishes. With a multitude of different fillings ranging from peanut butter and jelly to truffle-infused gouda and kobe beef, what was once labelled as the lazy man’s lunch has certainly been given a glamorous makeover in North America. In fact, there was a week over the last final session where I lived off of sandwiches, wraps and paninis for my two meals of the day. Hurrah for the power of carbohydrates! Of course, one’s expectations for a good sandwich also have to be raised. What makes it worth more than something I could slap together lazily at home half-asleep in my drawers? It would obviously have to be both the meat and the bread, components that Meat and Bread is executing extremely well.
Located on the edge of
glory Gastown, its minimalist decor is reflected in their nondescript storefront. I would advise making your best effort to dress up hipster chic to visit this particular establishment.
The interior consists of white walls, wooden floors, a plethora of plaid shirts, a large, wooden communal table, mirrors, and a couple tables by the window. I have been to Meat and Bread twice: once solo and another time with Apple, who was convinced to go after DJ Skeet Skeet promoted his love for it at the Katy Perry concert (I’m not kidding). Coincidentally, sat at the same table near the door for both of my visits. Their menu is written on a giant chalkboard on one wall by the counter: porchetta, meatball, grilled cheese, and an ever-changing daily special. When you walk in, a man approaches you and explains the menu and how to order.
On my first visit by myself (typical #foreveralone), I opted for their roast lamb sandwich ($8). The goods are given on a slip of wax paper on a wooden board and served with a dollop of their homemade mustard. The lamb meat and herbs were tucked away in an artistic-looking ciabatta bun. The bread here is definitely top-notch, with its hard exterior giving it a bit of a chew while the inside was light and fluffy. Although its large width may be somewhat intimidating, squeezing it to fit inside your mouth shouldn’t be too much of a problem for most. Of course, the meat included was also noteworthy. Lamb is certainly well-known for its unpleasant gangy taste, but this was well masked by the seasonings used. The flavour was dynamic and much more than one-dimensional thanks to the herbs included. I would have to say, however, that the mustard steals the show at Meat and Bread. Tangy in an addictive way and with just the most subtle of kicks, one can liven up the taste of their sandwich by dipping it in, but I could probably just eat the mustard straight-up. I’m tempted to buy an entire jar of it, but I’d probably grow sick of it after putting it on everything.
Something worth mentioning is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find your conventional mass-produced carbonated beverages here. They stock a variety of English sodas such as Fentimans. Dandelion and burdock soda is something I usually order if I get the chance. You can also opt for free-for-all water by the entrance.
On my second visit, Apple and I both got that day’s special beef brisket sandwich ($8). Loaded with coleslaw and BBQ sauce, this did not disappoint either of us. The beef was tender and not tough at all, which was contrasted by a inclusion of the crunchy coleslaw at a very ideal ratio. The BBQ sauce certainly made the flavour of this creation a bit bolder, although I still constantly dipped it in the helping of mustard given.
Overall, I really do enjoy Meat and Bread. For what you’re paying, you’re getting a top-notch sandwich served in an interesting environment, friendly service and a scoop of sauce heaven. The only complaint I would have is that depending on your appetite, the sandwich may not completely fill you up. Considering the price you’re paying, this may be a bit of a problem. While Apple was unable to finish her beef brisket sandwich, I downed it and wanted more afterwards. Need proof? Nonetheless, if you consider quality over quantity, Meat and Bread is certainly worth its hype, and I can envision it maintaining its place as a buzzed-about Vancouver institution over the next few years… but who am I to make that call?
Conclusion: Andy ate a lot.
Meat and Bread
370 Cambie St.