Pegg asked me to find somewhere for brunch today. It’s our only day off together in 11 days so the stakes were high. After much deliberation we found ourselves looking for a park in Chippendale so that we could eat at A1 Canteen.
While we had previously had easy success parking for X23 Asian Fusion Cafe around the corner, today was not our day, and we ended up spending around 25 minutes circling the Central Park complex looking for a park. We finally found a 1-hour spot 10 minutes’ walk away, leaving us 40 minutes to get seated, order, eat, and leave. A true high-anxiety challenge, but one that we succeeded in.
A1 Canteen, I’m told, is run by the man behind Automata. Apparently is difficult to run two restaurants at once and thus this needs to be mentioned in every online review of A1, especially when they’re across the road from one another.
The Muffuletta ($20) is a vertical sandwich slice consisting of pressed meats, cheese, greens, artichoke, and olive salad. It is served with cutlery, and thus a dare to the patron to eat it with their hands. I enjoyed the Muffuletta as I would any other sandwich which would typically cost $7. It was meaty and cheesy, but otherwise not that special. The vertical cut of the sandwich meant that the filling to bread ratio was excellent, but the pedestrian taste did not justify its high asking price.
The slow roasted lamb shoulder ($27) was significantly more interesting. It is served with small grilled flatbread, brocollini, cauliflower, chickpeas, and yellow chili pickles, each adding an additional dimension. The yellow chili pickles were particularly juicy and delicious, and added a nice tang to it. The price again is a bit steep for what it is. Looking at an older copy of the menu it looks like the lamb shoulder was previously $24 with a choice of two salads.
A special mention needs to go to the service at A1 Canteen. The kitchen was speedy and our waitress very observant to our hydration requirements. The room was spacious and decor nice. I personally felt a bit underdressed and outclassed in my T-shirt and trackpants.
Overall A1 canteen was passable but overpriced. I would not recommend the Muffuletta and would not have it again myself. One of the ladies next to us had some curried scrambled eggs which looked amazing, so I think we will probably end up going back at some point to try them. Three and a half overpriced weighted sandwiches out of Five.
Ground 2/10 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008
NOTE: A1 Canteen is now permanently closed – Click here to read what I thought when I went back for a last hurrah.