Ham on Rye in Paddington – Big, Gourmet Sandwiches

I’ve wanted to try Ham on Rye in Paddington for a while now, as word on the street is it’s one of Brisbane’s best sandwich shops. Additionally, it’s located close to my neighbourhood and it’s from the crew behind Brisbane’s iconic diner, Remy’s (a local of mine). As I was soon to find out, this sandwich shop has simple but fresh ingredients, a spartan interior and a steady stream of customers. They must be doing something right. But just how good is it?

Ham on Rye in Paddington

The Atmosphere at Ham on Rye in Paddington

Ham on Rye is anything but glamorous inside. It’s barely more than a hole in the wall that’s designed more for takeaways than sit-in sandwich adventures. Saying that, there’s space inside for a few people to sit and eat, and there are seats outside too. It’s all just a bit squashed and the seating is pretty much stools on concrete floor. I chatted to a couple with a cocker spaniel outside, as I bought Cookie with me (my cocker spaniel) and later I saw them eating a few doors down on a public bench.

Gets pretty busy. It’s more of a takeaway place!

Saying that, part of the charm of Ham on Rye in Paddington is the lack of comfortable seating, as it feels a little like I imagine an exclusive canteen would. This is kind of cool and it does set a casual vibe, particularly if you stroll in with your dog like I did. There’s also simple, yet slightly abstract artwork on the wall which suits the place. This small sandwich shop is also very clean looking, partly as it’s new and has a rather minimalist design, which is smart.

The Service

As with other reviews on this site, there’s not too much to say about this section, which is generally a good thing. I walked in and asked the young girl behind the counter if they’d mind if I took some photos and video, which I generally do when I’m doing a post. She replied, ‘not at all’ and when I asked what she would recommend for colour, she said the ‘Deli Salad’ sandwich and that the ‘Cubano’ was the most popular.

Nice, laid-back vibe

I placed my order, gave my name, and even though it was brunch hour, at 11am, it was quite busy. Nevertheless, my food was ready in a timely fashion and the staff were courteous. I would say Ham on Rye has a pretty laid-back vibe in all.  

The Sandwiches

This is the first food review I’ve gone to solo, if you don’t count Cookie. So, to do this post some justice I felt I had to order two sandwiches. Even though the Cubano is the most popular sandwich at Ham on Rye in Paddington, it contains a little too much meat for my liking – pork and ham. So, I went with the toasted Reuben, which has pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles, mozzarella and Russian dressing. I’m a pretty massive sauerkraut and pickles fan so thought it was a good option.

My Reuben

To balance things out I went with the girl’s recommendation of a ‘Deli Salad’ sandwich, since it was fresh and supposedly colourful. The salad sandwich had lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, cheese, beetroot, carrot, alfalfa, mayonnaise and mojo. Colourful it was, although when I took a bite, I thought it was a little bland. It was just okay and the bread wasn’t particularly exciting either. The bread is custom baked for Ham on Rye by The Bakeologists in New Farm to be wide, tall and hence more filling (it certainly is!). Although sometimes less is more, and I had higher expectations for a specialty sandwich shop.

The Deli Salad sandwich certainly looks the part!

The Reuben, however, was a little better, as it was crispy, warm and the sauerkraut and pastrami gave it a novel New York-style sandwich flavour. It was a tad salty, but then again that’s the sandwich style, having pastrami and sauerkraut. The dressing was also a nice lifter here and this was a decent sandwich. Interestingly, when reading online reviews of Ham on Rye in Paddington, I noticed some people complained that when they ate their sandwich a short time after buying it, it became soggy.

Got better with age – my New York-style Reuben

I can attest to the exact opposite. I ate some of my sandwiches straight away out the front, then 10 minutes later at ‘Trammie Corner’ (at the top end of Paddington), then another 20 minutes after that at home. The sandwiches got better with time! Initially, I thought the salad sandwich was bland, but the mayonnaise and mojo seemed to soak in a little more and give it more flavour when I got home. The same with the Reuben.

I found the bread from The Bakeologists to be nothing special. I prefer good old sourdough

As Ham on Rye in Paddington is predominantly a take-away place, this is not a bad thing! Let those babies soak a little, like a good lasagna! At least that was my experience. Evidently, it isn’t everybody’s. As I’ve mentioned, the sandwiches are definitely filling, which is what they’re designed for. You could probably go halfies with your buddy/partner and that will be enough. If you have a whole sandwich, you’ll certainly be pretty stuffed! I thought this further justified the price, which in my mind was pretty reasonable anyway. Check out my facts section at the end for prices.

Some rustic holes with the Reuben. Not a criticism as I thought it was novel, the bread tasted better toasted and it was already filling enough!

Drinks & Desserts

I didn’t order any drinks or desserts for this post, I just thought I’d mention what’s on offer and you can get a glimpse from my photos and video below. If you can manage it after dealing with a sandwich, you could try the caramel and pecan or chocolate and espresso cannoli. There’s also the caramilk, chocolate and sea salt cookies; or a double chocolate brownie. As for drinks, there’s fresh orange, beetroot, and carrot; or apple, celery and cucumber juice. There’s also San Pellegrino and coffee on offer.

The drinks and desserts at Ham on Rye in Paddington

My Thoughts Overall

Is Ham on Rye in Paddington, as some people have said, the best sandwich shop in Brisbane? It’s a good addition to Brisbane, for sure, and certainly worth a visit, although I feel I’ve had a nicer sandwich at PepperJacks Sandwiches in South Brisbane (which I’m yet to review). Perhaps that’s because I’m into lighter sandwiches with pesto, green goodness and less meat. If you’re the same, try PepperJacks. Saying that, you should visit Ham on Rye in Paddington, as it’s decent and you might really love it. Many seem to.

The meat and cheese display – old school

I liked the spartan atmosphere and the simple menu with fresh ingredients, but I felt the bread and flavours could be improved upon. Was it worth the money? Yes, but I’m not sure if I’ll be back, as there are just too many other great places to eat in Brisbane.

I’m glad I came though! Check out my video below to get a better idea of Ham on Rye.

A Few Fast Facts

  • My Reuben sandwich was $18 and my Deli Salad sandwich was $14. Considering it was decent quality and large portions, I thought this was worth it.
  • Ham on Rye in Paddington also sells dill pickle potato salad.
  • You can add salads or meats to sandwiches and make your own combination.  
  • Ham on Rye is located just across the road from Remy’s, next to Paddington Central Shopping Centre.
  • Ham on Rye in Paddington also provides catering services.
  • Ham on Rye was created by the same people behind Remy’s, Hai Hai Ramen and King Tea (all of which are located across the road).
  • Ham on Rye sells coffee from Coffee Supreme.

Go for – the novel sit-in atmosphere, the Reuben.

Vibe – new, clean, bus stop canteen.

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