Meat & Bread is famous sandwich shop located across from Victory Square in Gastown. I had read great reviews about them on the food boards so I had kind of put them on my list of places to try in the future but it wasn’t that high on my priority list. When I was visiting in October, my foodie friend Grayelf mentioned to me she thought the porchetta sandwich at Meat & Bread is worthy of the hype. That got my attention and I made sure I saved a slot in my eating schedule to go and check it out when I was in town again in November.
We went for lunch on a Saturday as I was hoping it would be a little less busy without the regular weekday lunchtime crowd. When we first arrived at a quarter to noon, the place was still quite empty. I was surprised at how quickly the place filled up over the next fifteen minutes as noon approached. As we were in line, it was clear that the porchetta sandwich is the signature item. In assembly line fashion, the porchetta roast was getting sliced and chopped up. The golden crackling was chopped separately and evenly disbursed amongst the meat. The chopped porchetta pieces were then loaded on to sliced ciabatta buns and topped with dollops of salsa verde.
The Porchetta Sandwich ($8) was served on a paper-lined wooden chopping board with a dollop of French mustard on the side. I don’t think words can adequately describe how good this sandwich tastes. I’ve tried many porchetta sandwiches before but I think this is definitely one of the best porchetta sandwiches that I’ve ever had. I liked that the meat was diced up into bite size pieces with the golden bits of crackling evenly distributed so you get a crispy bit every couple of bites. The meat was moist, tender, and flavourful. The herbaceous salsa verde helped to cut the fat so the porchetta didn’t taste overly greasy. And the ciabatta bun was the perfect vehicle for this sandwich as it still held up well after soaking in all the juices from the porchetta.
For dessert, we tried the Bacon Maple Ice Cream Sandwich ($4). This ice cream sandwich was mentioned in Vancouver Magazine’s list of 101 Best Things to Eat and Drink in Vancouver 2011 so I was curious to see how good it was. It consisted of bacon maple ice cream in between two pizzelle. I get the whole idea about the salty-sweet combination and I think that’s what this is about. But personally, I didn’t really understand the hype about this ice cream sandwich as I thought it tasted just ok. I’ve had bacon maple ice cream before and I thought the maple flavour in this ice cream wasn’t pronounced enough. In fact I could barely taste it. Also, I didn’t think the bacon chunks were very evenly disbursed and the few chunks that I did get were not crunchy. I didn’t find the texture of the ice cream to be as creamy as I would have expected. And I didn’t think the pizzelle themselves were as crispy as I would have liked them to be so there wasn’t really a good textural contrast between the pizzelle and the ice cream. Hence, I think I’ll take a pass on the ice cream sandwich in the future.
I liked the Porchetta Sandwich so much that I went back to Meat & Bread again a couple of days later just to have another one. As I was raving to Grayelf about how much I loved this porchetta, she mentioned to me that the porchetta from Roli Roti in San Francsico is even better. I can’t even imagine what that would be like as this version from Meat & Bread is already pretty darn good to me. Roli Roti will definitely be on the top of my list to try for my next trip to San Francisco. In the meantime, whenever I visit Vancouver, I will be stopping by Meat & Bread to satisfy my porchetta craving.
Meat & Bread
370 Cambie Street