327 Lennox St
Richmond, VIC 3121
After over a year of being engaged, Chris and I have finally booked our wedding venue! The original plan was to go back down to Melbourne last May to check out, and hopefully book a place, but obviously that couldn’t happen. Thankfully we weren’t planning on getting married until the year after I finish med school, aka 2022, so there was no harm done, and we were still able to get the venue we wanted for when we wanted. And in case anyone is curious, we’re getting married at Glasshaus Inside, aka probably the most beautiful, and most millennial place to get hitched in all of Melbourne.
To celebrate that big to-do finally being ticked off, Chris, my sister (and my bridesmaid!), and I headed down the road to Big Dog’s Deli to reward ourselves with some sandwiches. True to its name, Big Dog’s Deli is pretty utilitarian, the front area taken up largely by the bar, with seating being restricted to a few tiny tables along the walls. However, if you walk towards the back and through the kitchen, you’ll find yourself in a gorgeous, light-dappled courtyard rife with greenery, fairy lights strung up between the boughs.
The namesake sandwich – The Big Dog ($16) – packs a real punch with its triple whammy of buttery prosciutto, pork and fennel salami, and spicy nduja. The complex salty, meaty flavours are balanced out by the sharp aniseed of pickled fennel, and the musky aroma of pecorino. Despite sounding excessive on paper, this is actually a remarkably balanced sandwich with indulgent flavours that nevertheless feels light and fresh.
The Buck’s Beef ($15) is your classic deli sandwich, but it’s anything but dull. The layers of melt-in-the-mouth rare roast beef, sweet caramelised onions, cheddar, and horseradish cream on the crusty ciabatta is a time-honoured combination for a reason, and each bite was hearty, sustaining goodness.
I can never say no to crispy roast pork, and the Piggy Wiggy ($15) lived up to my expectations and then some. It promised roast porchetta, and this is the real deal, with juicy herb-infused meat and generous strips of golden crackling. The additions of tangy pickled fennel and salsa verde were simple and effective, resulting in a sandwich that tastes like lunch the day after a big celebration.
Big Dog’s Deli is much more than it seems at first glance. Sure, it does a great restaurant-quality sandwich, but combined with the idyllic courtyard, ample drinks list, and excellent music, it’s less of grab-and-go deli, and more of a place to while away the summer afternoon with some great food and a cold drink in hand.
Rating: 14/20 – they let the dogs out.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.