Meat & Bread

Sigh. There are a million blog reviews of Meat & Bread on Urbanspoon, so why even bother writing about the place?

Well...because it's really damn good! Meat & Bread is one of those new restaurants with a really simple concept: really good sandwiches, and quality ingredients. Their location at Hastings and Cambie is utterly perfect for me - literally a five minute walk from work, which is a good and bad thing. So this review is cobbled together from three separate visits, and these occasions made me like the place even more.

First of all, how cool is the menu? Small menu, with limited choices, which is a really good thing (they do have two staples: the porchetta sandwich and the grilled cheese). The whole restaurant has a modern / retro feel that makes one feel a little nostalgic.

Look at those wooden floors! There is very limited seating here; aside from a few tables near the front of the restaurant, the place features a big, stainless steel communal table (hi, neighbour!).

Along the side are water jugs, glasses and napkins, along with an impressive wall of condiments for sale: mustard, sambal, and salt. The whole thing is beautifully composed.

This the beauty shot. That is the porchetta - free-range pork rolled with herbs and topped with golden crackling, surrounded by piles of ciabatta buns.

Here is the porchetta sandwich ($8), pork with salsa verde and bits of crackling. The first bite was heavenly, and heaven just went on and on, with tender, well-seasoned, juicy pork and the surprise crunch of fatty skin. Can I confess that I would like to munch on a bag of those cracklings?

The salsa verde didn't do much for me, however, and it made the bun a little soggy at times.  The sandwich  is served with a dollop of delicious mustard, and a surprisingly tasty sambal sauce. To be honest, the sandwich reminded me exactly of the one I had at a Tuscan market in Italy, which I remember as one of the best meals I've ever had.

On another visit, I tried the meatball sandwich ($7), which didn't consist of whole meatballs, but more of crushed variety. While the meat wasn't spectacularly flavourful, the sauce had a nice spiciness and the sandwich had a nice layer of Romano (?) cheese. It was a comforting dish.

A friend of mine had the grilled cheese ($7), consisting of Gruyere (I think the cheese changes) and onions. She liked it a lot. She also had a side of tomato soup, which she also liked. However, I must say that the sides, at $4 for a small bowl, is not the best deal.

The restaurant also boasts quite an unusual dessert: maple bacon ice cream sandwich. It's served between two thin waffle wafers. It was quite good, though not mind-blowing. The bacon goes surprisingly well with ice cream and lends a chewy texture amidst the creaminess.

Meat & Bread is a great addition to the neighbourhood. The focus of the menu is impressive, and so is the whole look and feel of the place. I must, however, refrain from visiting too often. Porchetta is not a friend to my health!

Meat & Bread on Urbanspoon

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