So many good sandwiches, so little time (and stomach space).
By Kim Hana
Photos courtesy of Park Bench Deli
It was noon on a Friday when we arrived at Park Bench Deli. The place was already buzzing with a healthy lunch crowd fueled by hip hop music blaring from the sound system. The smell of bread and the grill filled the air.
Looking at the menu’s extensive offerings, we felt the task of choice near impossible. Mortadella Hero (S$16) or Cubano (S$16)? Cheese Steak (S$16) or Meatballs (S$17)? So many good sandwiches, so little time (and stomach space).
In the end, we chose the Meatballs, Cubano and Fried Chicken (S$15) sandwiches. The first is fresh off the “Sexy New Menu” and the other two are classics.
When people talk about Park Bench Deli, its portion size is always part of that conversation. And in case we’re not being clear, PBD’s sandwiches are huge.
Meatballs is a solid, rustic concoction of house-made meatballs cooked in tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil housed in a warm ciabatta bun. We’re told the meatballs are made from select cuts of beef that are ground in-shop and hand-formed with as little processing as possible. As a result, the meatballs are tender, but firm to the bite. The sandwich also comes as a neat stack, meaning no drippy sauce, or meatballs escaping your grasp with each bite. Meatballs may be a new addition to the menu, but we have a feeling it’ll be in it for the long haul.
The Cubano, a classic, is a failsafe option. It has supposedly been revamped, so if you’ve had the Cubano prior to March this year, it’s worth making a repeat trip to PBD to sample the new and improved sandwich. Overnight-braised pork shoulder, smoked ham and molten cheese meet their match in the tangy house-made aji verde sauce. And in case you suspect the Cubano is a sodium bomb, we’re happy to report that it isn’t.
We were told we scored the day’s last serving of the Fried Chicken. We were also told that people get mad when PBD is all out of Fried Chicken. Having tasted the sandwich, we can imagine why. A buttermilk coating gives way to a juicy sous-vide chicken thigh at the bite. Cabbage slaw and sriracha mayo give the sandwich a kick of spice to cut through all that protein. It’s the sandwich of fried chicken lovers’ dreams.
With three sandwiches in our system, we simply couldn’t handle more. That meant we regretfully had to pass up on a chance to have the PB & J (crunchy peanut butter, mixed berry jam, cornflake crusted milk & chocolate bread; S$8) and the Chili Cheese Taters (chili con carne, cheese sauce, sour cream, tater tots; S$14). But then those are the stuff of repeat visits.
Park Bench Deli’s “Sexy New Menu” is now available in shop and online at order.parkbenchdeli.com and Deliveroo. The shop is located at 179 Telok Ayer Street and is open from Mondays (Lunch: 10.30am – 4pm; Dinner: 5pm – 9.30pm) to Saturdays (Lunch: 10.30am – 4pm).