Shop 4, Parramatta Square
05/12 Darcy St
Parramatta, NSW 2150
The humble sandwich is having a revival, and I for one am here for it. Just like ramen and pizza, a sandwich is one of those seemingly simple things that just teems with possibility in the right hands, and there’s always someone out there doing something new and surprising with it.
I had first come across Harvey’s Hot Sandwiches when I was making the daily trek out to Westmead Children’s Hospital to look after the kiddies, and whilst I was a little dubious about its fast-food-esque appearance, the promise of Big, Hot, and Tasty Sandwiches was enough to lure me back.
Turns out, the grab-and-go persona is only half the story here. Go around the side and you’ll see the eat-in area done up diner-style, and not even the tacky kind either. The leather booths, chrome accents, and feature wall of black and white photographs is utterly charming and convincing, and definitely made a good case for itself as a serious sandwich shop.
There were milkshakes and ice cream floats on offer, but given that I was about to stuff my face with hopefully ginormous sandwiches, I decided to leave it and have one of the house-made frescas instead. The Orange and Passionfruit Fresca ($6) was just lovely, the freshness of the orange underscored by the tropical fragrance of passionfruit. It’s pretty sweet, but to just a right degree where it’s addictive, but still refreshing.
Given Parramatta’s reputation as Sydney’s second CBD, it was clever of Harvey’s to make themselves takeaway-friendly for the nearby office workers. I do draw the line however at an entire pickle wrapped up in butcher’s paper; that’s just unwholesome, no matter how practical it may be.
I’ve always wanted to try a classic French Dip sandwich, and it’s literally taken me this long to find one. But oh boy let me tell you, the Beef Dip ($16) was worth waiting for. The thinly-sliced fillet melted like butter in the mouth, folded through with gooey provolone and creamy horseradish mayo that provides a lingering heat. The savoury richness was augmented with the addition of sweet caramelised onions, and when interspersed with crunchy bites of Dill Pickle ($2ea), was sheer perfection. It does come with a pot of beef gravy for dipping, and whilst the white roll is great for soaking up the meaty juices, I (dare I say it) don’t think the sandwich even needs it – it is that good.
Although there were plenty of other sandwiches I would have loved to try, the Reuben, aka the Pastrami ($15) served sloppy style (as opposed to simple, which comes with mustard and swiss cheese), is one that I can never pass up. And despite the Beef Dip being a hard act to follow, this one gave it a very good run for its money. The house-smoked pastrami was a highlight; instead of being dry and salty like pastrami often can be, the meat was once again rich and tender, the slow cooking process and suffused it with a deep, woody smokiness and the warm heat of black pepper. The accompaniments were similarly effective, and I especially appreciated how well the creaminess of the Russian dressing stood out against the bitter crunch of coleslaw.
I’m in the camp of loving anything salt and vinegar, and the Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad ($4) proved to be a good pick for balancing out the richness of the sandwiches. For those whose mouths are already puckering, don’t worry – this is actually a much milder tang than what you get with the chip flavour, and the vinegar was further mellowed out by the warm aniseed flavour of dill. And extra points to them for leaving the skins on the potato – that’s the only way to do it if you ask me!
By the time we had worked our way through all the food, I was ready just to lie down across the leather booths and have a nap – that’s how satisfying the meal was. I literally could not fault a single part of the meal, and we spent pretty much the rest of the night discussing which sandwiches we were going to come back for next. A somewhat pointless discussion, as we basically just went through and listed the entire menu. In fact, the only thing I could think of to complain about was the plastic drinking cups and straws, which are a little bit dubious in this day and age. I know it’s a bit out of the way, but definitely give Harvey’s a go – it is well worth the trip, I promise.
Rating: 15/20 – big, hot, and tasty.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.