Chef Raphael Exton Pery (ex-Gimlet, Spensley’s and Little Andorra) has officially opened the doors to Jolly Good's permanent location. What originally started as a lockdown project in a series of pop-ups across Melbourne's inner-north, Raphael’s freshly cut sandwiches quickly amassed a cult following. If you were ever lucky enough to beat the sold-out queues and score one of his sandwiches – you know just how good these crusty morsels are, stuffed with free-range chicken, citrus herb mayo, farmhouse cheese, house-made pickles, served in a warmed Cobb Lane bread. For those who missed out, you can now experience the real deal — Jolly Good has officially teamed up with Fitzroy boutique beer bar Near & Far and opened its new home on Brunswick St in Fitzroy.
I would say it was a combination of my professional experiences as a chef and many of my food experiences while travelling. I was inspired by the many famous delis of New York; the sandwiches in Italy that were made with as little as three ingredients and stole my heart. I wanted to make something iconic and unpretentious, combining great quality local ingredients with restaurant technique.
My current favourite in the colder weather is the rare roast beef and a delicious Grifter Pale Ale. Another popular combo is the Saturday Prawn Roll Special with a can of Kaiju Crush.
The flavours and ingredients of the Jolly Good Sandwiches really lend themselves to many different beers and the Near & Far team are truly experts in all things beer and wine, and would be able to match your sandwich to one of the hundreds of specialty beers they have available.
I wanted to create a sandwich that Melbourne would love. I knew it had to be first and fore-mostly delicious, but also fresh and healthy.
The style of the Roast Beef has always been my go-to sandwich, which made a great starting point. From there I wanted to create a sandwich that celebrated the country-style salad sandwiches we grew up with - cheese, grated carrot, beetroot, alfalfa sprouts and butter lettuce, but made with premium ingredients.
I also couldn’t pass by the humble chicken and mayo sandwich, keeping it true to its roots, but introducing fresh herbs and citrus for a well-rounded and light finish.
Travelling to Oaxaca, I was overwhelmed by the passionate food culture. It was here that I was first introduced to Tortas, a delicious representation of the unique and diverse flavours of Mexico, in a sandwich that is somehow soft, chewy, and crispy, all at once.
I can actually remember the very first torta I ever ate, I was travelling solo and had just arrived in Oaxaca from the Caribbean Coast. It had been a long day and I was more than a little exhausted and hungry by this point. I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to eat but I knew Oaxaca’s reputation for amazing food and was guided by the many delicious smells as a wandered out from where I was staying.
I didn’t have to go far before I saw this small, hole in the wall type place I might have missed if I wasn’t so hungry. The restaurant was run by an elderly couple who had clearly been there for a long time, and it seemed as though their whole family had come to the restaurant to hang out for the day. I ordered a pork, pickled chilli and queso Torta and a Cerveza. This was the first of many amazing food experiences I had throughout Mexico. It also reminded me of how satisfying a sandwich can be, wherever you are, whether it is Oaxaca, Istanbul, Florence, San Francisco, Ho Chi Minh City or Melbourne.
Jolly Good Sandwiches is located at 375 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065 VIC.
Photos by True Tribe