With an aesthetic and online cult following that echoes that of a sneaker brand, Saint Dreux’s premium-priced and premium-packed katsu sandwiches had a lot of hype to live up to.
It took us two attempts to eat the promised Saint Dreux katsu sandwich, the first of which was thwarted by a premature closure. We were not alone in our disappointment on this first trip, and shared a failed elevator trip and a lap around the St. Collins Lane centre with two other hungry adults.
This is a photo of the Saint Dreux box before being marred by oily fingerprints. Look at that subtle deep-black colouring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has the name in Japanese under it.
The wagyu katsu sando ($28) was something I had been planning to eat for months, and whilst it was good, I was ultimately somewhat disappointed. I enjoyed the mustard sauce that accompanied both the beef sando and the pork sando pictured below. The saucing ratio – that is, the ratio to sauce to filling to bread, was bordering on perfect, adding a nice flavour and moistness to each bite. The beef, while appropriately moist and tender and juicy, just didn’t live up to the lofty expectations that I had formed in my head through the battery of social media hype, packaging, and expensive asking price. It was a beef katsu sandwich. That’s all.
Though not the advertised promised land of this pilgrimage, I actually found the Pork Katsu Sando ($16) to be more perfect a sando than its beefy counterpart. The pork in this sandwich was juicy, flavourful and tender, equal to the best I’ve ever had. The mustard-like sauce again made a strong showing, providing a familiar tanginess and pungency without any of the secondary sweeter sauce used in most other Australian pork katsu sandos, for example from Sydney’s Kentaro.
Though well presented and highly photogenic, I found the sandos at Saint Dreux to be merely good, but not life changing. I’d recommend a visit only if you’re in the area.
St Collins Lane Centre, Level 2, Shop 2, 08/260 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 7016 8973