Making excellent sandwiches has paid off for Schezad Umrigar and Rakesh Nanda of Lucky Pickle, a hole-in-the-wall sandwich bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills. What’s their secret?

The press of customers outside Lucky Pickle is all the advertising that Schezad and Rakesh have ever needed. Their sandwiches are benchmark and, like all great sandwiches, behind the flash and glamour of the hero ingredient you’ll find a hardworking support cast, led by mayonnaise. At Lucky Pickle, mayo appears in three out of four of their sandwich combos.

“We’re always thinking up new combinations and we work for a long time to get the recipe right,” says Schezad. They also choose their ingredients carefully, aiming for a composition that’s tasty and harmonious. “With our mayo, for instance, we wanted one that was creamy and not too acidic or assertive.”

The menu features four set sandwiches – chicken katsu, pork belly, tuna mayonnaise and cauliflower cheese – that are all made to order. 

We asked the guys to share some of their sandwiches secrets.

  • The first bite must taste the same as the last. “With every bite, you should taste all the flavours”, says Rakesh. That means applying all ingredients evenly across the bread. With a Lucky Pickle sandwich, which might have six or more layers, that’s quite a balancing act.

For the pork belly, mayo is painted evenly over one side of the baguette and, Rakesh says: “Instead of putting a piece of spring onion in, as you see in the Vietnamese version, we chop and sprinkle it through the sandwich.” 

For their classic tuna sandwich, the tuna is folded through with just enough mayonnaise to hold it together and make it easily spreadable from top to bottom and side to side.

  • Make the sandwich your own. For Schezad and Rakesh, this means stamping your personality on your creations. Lucky Pickle sandwiches always include a pickle, which they make as part of their prep routine. Pickled carrot and daikon add crunch to the pork belly sandwich and pickled zucchini features on the tuna.
  • Organisation is key. With a floor plan of only 28 square-metres and very little storage space, daily food deliveries, a strict prep routine and a very organised approach is a logistical necessity. The sandwich and coffee-making team of four have well defined tasks, as well as working areas, to ensure the busy lunch period proceeds like clockwork. Also, they order food daily and aim to sell out every day. That way, they don’t need to store anything.

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