Gourmet quick bite restaurants are popping up all over the city, but few are anything like SLICED Gourmet, which recently opened on Bay and Elm. This restaurant, with its rustic interior, features both packaged, ready-to-eat sandwiches as well as the standard pressed with delicious fillings such as fig and prosciutto, a delicous-sounding Nutella-based sandwich called Baci, as well as vegetarian and vegan options such as HLT (hummus, lettuce, tomato, pea sprouts and grilled zucchini) and “old standbys” like peanut butter and jam. SLICED also tries to source as many local and/or organic products as they can. Late last month, I had the chance to speak with Jordana Appugliesi-Zakaria, the manager of the restaurant as well as try some of the sandwiches.
Fig and prosciutto sandwich
Jordana on how SLICED started why the gourmet grab-and-go concept is growing:
There are a lot of similar concepts in other parts of the world, but not too many in Toronto (and mostly counter service quick bites), so we saw it as an opportunity to grow. People here are also very busy – many of us use our lunch hour to run quick errands – but at the same time, want a quick lunch that has better quality than traditional fast food.
On why they chose a sandwich shop rather than other foods:
Sandwiches are a little more delicate, and definitely less messy to eat than, say, a burger. For busy people, they can grab their sandwich and eat on the way to another commitment.
On what makes SLICED different:
We have a lot of international flavour in our sandwiches, much of it influenced by our backgrounds (Jordana is Italian and her husband, Nabil, is Moroccan) and experiences travelling abroad. Brick Lane, for example, is named after an area of London where there are many Indian restaurants. The sandwich is made with curry chicken, mango, toasted cashews, sultana raisins and baby spinach. Not too many sandwich places offer prepared half orders – people can buy two different sandwiches at a time without having to eat two full sandwiches. Some people also buy half to create combos with our soups or salads.
On the most popular thing to order:
The hangover – an omelette with crispy bacon, house-made sausage, tomato, bibb lettuce and “signature sauce.”
Jordana’s favourite item on the menu:
“The Roast” – Roast Ontario beef, horseradish and grain mustard aoili, onion confit, portobello mushroom, brussel sprouts and gruyere.
On where she sees SLICED in the near future:
We’d love to expand to other locations around the city and perhaps even get a food truck!
Peanut Butter and Jam
After speaking with Jordana, I stayed for a little bit of lunch, trying three half portions of their sandwiches – the HLT (hummus, lettuce and tomato with zucchini), fig and prosciutto and Brick Lane. The HLT is absolutely delicious and as a flexitarian, I’m always happy to see eateries offer more than one meatless option. The prosciutto and fig was excellent as well.
In addition to sandwiches, SLICED also serves soup and salads as well as steel cut oatmeal (complete with a selection of toppings) and granola with yogurt are available at breakfast.
Images courtesy of ButterPR