18 January 2018

CBD Banh Mi Round up ~ new pork roll providers in Sydney

An update on new additions to our list of pork rolls in the CBD.

The last time we did a complete round up of the pork rolls available in the CBD we trudged endlessly up and down the central business district looking for these wonderful anytime Vietnamese sandwiches. There's been a lot of change in the city since we last went hunting - currently George Street is thoroughly shut down with construction of the light rail and Wynyard Station is undergoing a complete transformation with La Vie closed and Little Vietnamese moved around the corner but no longer selling rolls. Some of the Taste Baguette stores have closed too (George St Myer, Martin Place). Banh Mese on Liverpool St opened and closed between updates. Even Malcolm Trumbull has gotten in on the pork roll action.

For our original lists of pork rolls in the CBD you can look at Central Station to Town Hall or Queen Victoria Building to Wynyard Station.

During the meanwhile, there's new places opened and some perhaps were missed on the first round up, so here's an update on what's new in the ever wonderful world of pork rolls in the city. It's amazing that over 20 new places have sprung up in the CBD in just a few years, may there be many more. There's still room for a stall at AMP Plaza, Foodbase on Park, World Square and with Roll'd taking up a stall in nearly every major city food court it probably won't be long until they have one.

As usual we followed our rule of testing rolls:

1. Ask for a pork roll and only a pork roll. No chicken, meatball, fusion or 'specials'.
2. Different types of pork are allowed, including pulled or roast pork if that's all they do.
3. If asked for chilli say yes.
4. No variations, even if it means tomato or loads of lettuce added.

So heading down from Circular Quay, here's some new places for you to try and some to possibly give a miss where there are better options nearby. There's so many places to choose from, walk that little bit further around the block for a better roll, you can do it.

Banh You - Alfred St, Circular Quay ($7.80)
Take & Taste  - Bridge St, Wynyard ($5.00)
Dong Pho Vietnamese Home Kitchen  - Hunter Connection ($5.00)
Destination Roll - York St ($5.50)
Bun Me - MLC Centre ($8.70)
Holy Basil - The Canteen, Barangaroo ($7.90)
Gardenia Espresso - Kent St ($6.50)

Roll'd - There are seven Roll'd stores in the CBD. We only tried two of the stores and that was enough. They are the most expensive rolls as well, and didn't offer much ROI.
Gateway Sydney - Circular Quay
O'Connell Street - Wynyard - $9.50 (Roast pork with crackling)
Australia Square (we couldn't see them on the menu here)
Chifley Plaza
Met Centre
Rowe Lane
Sydney Central Plaza - Pitt St - $9.50 (Roast pork with crackling)

Daily Delicious - one of the only hot bread / bakery style stores in the CBD and cheapest roll ($4.50)
Banh & Butter - longest roll - Pitt St, Town Hall ($8.50)
Chloe's Vietnamese Rolls - Pittsway Arcade, Town Hall ($6.00)
VietBowl - The Passages, Pitt St ($6.00)
Saigon's House - Sydney Central Food Court ($5.00)
Chi Fong - Eating World Food Court ($6.90)
Krispy Roll v2.0 - Haymarket ($5.50)

Let's chomp!

Banh You - Circular Quay



It's a shame to start off this list with not quite one of the finest pork rolls we've had in the city, and one of the more expensive. At $7.80 this roll was light on the meat (just a couple of slices of cha lua) and was drenched in a sweet chilli and hoisin sauce mix. We can't say we would really recommend this place, but we'll include it for completeness.


Banh You is at 2 Alfred St, Circular Quay.

Take & Taste - Region Food Arcade, Bridge St


Thanks to Stan and Greg for the tip on this place and the little secret food court it hides in. The Region Food Arcade is mostly known for a popular sandwich joint, but these are the only sandwiches on our minds. Tucked away at the Dalley St end, we'll be heading back to try their pho and pork chop specials.

Their pork roll is a beauty, good crisp roll and not too much orange shred. Just enough pork and light coloured pate to our taste too. At $5.00, its a great deal as well, and you'll be in and out faster than the trendy sandwich shop.


Take & Taste is at 2 Bridge St, with an entrance hidden on Dalley St as well.

Dong Pho Vietnamese Home Kitchen  - Hunter Connection


Lettuce. So much lettuce. But the rest of the roll was excellent, good crisp bread and nice pork flavours with plenty of little bitey chillies thrown on. At $5.00 it's also another Wynyard area bargain lunch.


Dong Pho Vietnamese Home Kitchen  is at Shop F17, Hunter Connection, Wynyard right off the George St entrance.

Destination Roll - York St



There's a standard price for all the rolls at Destination Roll of $5.50, which is probably why the queues are so long. That's a cracker of a good price for a sammich in the CBD. The roll is crisp and a little smaller than average, we like a well balanced bread to filling ratio. The pate was salty and full flavoured, with just enough carrot, cucumber and a little sliced white onion. Not too drippy with sauce.


Destination Roll is at 36 York St, Sydney, near the Grace Hotel.

Bun Me - MLC Centre ($8.70)



One of the more higher priced rolls in the CBD without much extra value added. It's still a good basic roll, nicely crisp, with a reasonable amount of meat and salad inside but nothing too flash for $8.70. 



Bun Me is at the MLC Centre, 19-29 Martin Place.

Holy Basil - The Canteen, Barangaroo


While this one isn't a Vietnamese pork roll (it's called a 'Mixed pork meats' roll and the menu is mostly Thai/Lao), it closely fits the bill so we decided to throw it in. Using all the same elements of meat and salad it comes up as one very good roll, but sits on the more expensive side at $7.90. 

The bun was denser and softer than the typical baguette, and it had a few slices of cha lua and just a scrape of pate. There was a good balance of pickled orange shred and shredded daikon too. The large slices of chilli look mean, but they really just kittens of heat. We also liked the cardboard box it came in, good for transportation back for al desko.


Lunchtime at Barangaroo was a bit much to handle, so super packed. It was stressful negotiating the crowds, waiting for your order. The future of office work is right here and now at Barangaroo.


Holy Basil is at The Canteen, Tower Two International Towers Sydney, 200 Barangaroo Avenue.

Gardenia Espresso - Kent St


Gardenia Espresso is a new cafe on Kent St that held some promise. We liked the crisped up roll, but the amount of lettuce and the very basic level of pork and salad didn't give it much extra zing or oomph. At $6.50 its still a good lunch time buy, but there's some competition around and you'd be better off heading up around York or George St for better options.


Gardenia Espresso is at 361 Kent St.

Roll'd - O'Connnell St


Right next door to the Wintergarden food court is a street level Roll'd store. They mainly specialise in what they call 'soldiers', rice paper rolls with different fillings. Some stores do a banh mi as well, but the only pork version is a BBQ pork with crackling and they don't do the traditional meats. At $9.50, it's also the most expensive roll in the city. Is it worth it? In our opinion, there's better and cheaper options around.

The roll itself was fine, but wasn't particularly crisp. The pork was thickly cut and the salad had a little zing to it. There was just enough crackling to avoid being called up by consumer affairs for misleading advertising. If you have a Destination Roll nearby, their version of this at $5.50 is far superior.


Roll'd is at 10 Spring Street (enter via O'Connell St).

Roll'd - Sydney Central Plaza


We decided to have another crack at a Roll'd roll just so we were a little more fair. However, this one wasn't much better, in fact the roll was soft and we didn't notice a crack of crackling at all. On top, it was really, really salty. So we decided not to try any more Roll'd rolls, our stomach space and wallet just deserved better.


Roll'd is also at Sydney Central Plaza, off Pitt St Mall.

Daily Delicious - Castlereagh St near Town Hall


Another 'blink or you'll miss it' pork roll outlet in an arcade, and the cheapest roll you'll find between Circular Quay until you hit Sydney Pork Rolls down toward Chinatown. At $4.50, its a bargain and a cracker of a roll too. This roll redeemed our whole pork roll hunting mission. The shop itself is also as close as you'll get to a typical Hot Bread Shop in the 'burbs, we love it. The roll was crisp, lots of fresh salad, coriander and a little red onion with a strong pate base and a neat amount of meat. This one was one of our favourite eats, and the price was a bonus.


Daily Delicious Bakery is down the Citisite House arcade, look for the shoe repair shop at 155 Castlereagh St.

There's a number of other Daily Delicious bakeries around Sydney, including Cabramatta, Kingsford and Mascot.

Banh & Butter - Pitt St near Town Hall


This roll wins the prize for the longest banh mi in the city. At $8.50, there's value in the size of the roll, which is similar to those found at Taste Baguette. The roll is filled with a good amount of both salad and meat, lots of carrot in the mix. We like it when the BBQ pork is also shredded, it makes it easier to eat than thick hunks or slices.


Banh & Butter is down another little arcade at 7/250 Pitt St, close to Park St.

Chloe's Vietnamese Rolls - Pittsway Arcade, Town Hall


Just look at the hunks of pork in this roll, so chumpy you could carve it. Chloe's has replaced Soups n Rolls which had the legend of having the option of putting anything you wanted from the salad bar into your roll. At $6.00, this is a good porky sandwich with just enough salad to be almost healthy.


So hard to get a good photo in a dark food arcade! Chloe's Vietnamese Rolls is at the Pittsway Arcade underneath Wooworths Town Hall, 303 Pitt St.

VietBowl - The Passages, Pitt St


Our run around the city has led us down so many food arcades. The Passages has been around for a while, and we've found a few other things that look worthwhile down there. Vietbowl offer a Hectic Pork Roll for $6.00 that made us happy, it's filled with lemongrass flavoured roast pork so again a little different to the usual banh mi, but it was mighty pleasing all the same. We liked the big shredded carrot bits.


VietBowl is underground at The Passages, 233 Castlereagh St.

Saigon's House - Sydney Central Food Court, near Central Station


Food courts are being developed in all places. Down towards Central on Pitt St the Sydney Central Food Court, right where the last bus stop for Railway Square terminates, has been redeveloped and has the usual pick of stores. Saigon's House is one of a few stalls at this smallish food court, selling soups, rice rolls and banh mi.

At $5 this is a cheap roll but oh so much orange shred we almost didn't taste the rest of the fillings. Still, it makes a decent roll with a good meat to salad ratio if you ignore the carrot.


Saigon's House is at 5/477 Pitt St, Haymarket.

Chi Fong - Eating World Food Court


Chi Fong is a newish stall at Eating World with some great Hanoi and classic Vietnamese dishes. While the price for this roll is middle range for the CBD at $6.90, the roll was filled with good BBQ pork that lifted it above the usual simple cha lua served with salad.


Chi Fong is at Stall 208, Eating World Food Court, Chinatown.

Krispy Roll (version 2.0)


Krispy Roll has been on a bit of an adventure since we last posted about it. It closed down, then decided to reopen one shop down from the original site (now taken up by Kusuka). They've redone their menu, and the price and style of their pork roll have also changed. This is mostly roast pork, with mayonnaise and a little pate for extra flavour. There's a little bit of salad hiding in there as well. For $5.50, it's more expensive than the original version a few years ago that started out at $3.50 but still a good buy.


Krispy Rolls (version 2.0) is at Shop 5/107-121 Quay St, Haymarket, enter off Bijou Lane.

Any new places we missed in the CBD? We're already on to Kenny's Pork Rolls in Darlinghurst, but that's for another post on east central rolls. Let us know in the comments below.

We love pork rolls, oh yes we do.

2 comments:

  1. Where is the super thick cha lua?? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very thorough round up, as always. I'm glad you enjoyed Take and Taste, but i noticed that it literally changed hands just after i made my comment, so glad that the new owners are good too. I tried one the day they took over and it was a bit disorganised, but I'll try again this week.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).