We’ve said it before, but Melbourne’s sandwich deli boom isn’t slowing. Hector’s Deli, Stan’s Deli, Saul’s Sandwiches and Bala Sanga have made their mark, and now newcomer Hugo’s Deli proves there’s always room for another.
Owners Jim Mavrogiannis, Ash Davies and Jonathan Leondakis, alongside head chef Tayne Akyalcin, have decided to come together to create the city’s next big sanga shop on Richmond’s bustling Swan Street (where once lived Sushi Plus). A resident of Richmond for eight years, Davies said Large format the region “needed something that seems to have been there forever”.
“I think it’s a real cultural phenomenon, which we’re going to be looking to take to other parts of Melbourne, other parts of Australia as well,” he says. “You need a big brand to really get started – and you need a great menu.”
On the menu, you will find a four-cheese fondue with cheddar, mozzarella, comte and gruyère; a vegan fried mushroom with shredded lettuce, homemade sauce and pickles; and pastrami barramundi with Russian cream cheese and capers.
But the stars of the show are the fried chicken sanga served on shokupan with shredded lettuce, pickles, American cheese and Hugo sauce; and the Reuben, an early favorite, with Uncle’s Smallgoods pastrami, sauerkraut, American cheese, Hugo sauce and pickles.
Hugo’s team share a passion for Melbourne’s tumultuous food industry – and they source their supplies from locals, such as Brioche by Philip, Uncle’s Smallgoods and Produce A La Carte. Plus, the coffee comes from Odyssey Coffee Roasters, which you can order on tap, served hot or cold.
After securing the storefront in September, the team knew they had to pull out all the stops to make the most of the prime Swan Street real estate. The plan was to create something that felt like it belonged in the family. “Because that’s really who we are,” says Davies. “We’re just a few personalities who really love sandwiches.”
Each brings a different expertise to the table: Mavrogiannis has a number of cafes and restaurants under its belt, including Laneway Espresso at Dromana and Odyssey Coffee Roasters. Davies is the founder of the self-publishing group Tablo.
They enlisted interior specialists KT Designs and graphic designer Pete Salmon-Lomas to create this family deli look in Brooklyn. Hugo’s logo, for example, is designed so that the last letter looks like it’s been replaced with one that doesn’t quite match. “It looks a little crappy but in an approachable way… The coloring is a little old-school, the music is fun,” says Mavrogiannis.
They are looking for that relaxed atmosphere, including with the menu, which they will add over time, such as the introduction of homemade pastries later. What’s here to stay is that old-school deli charm, which the Hugo’s team already has.
119 Swan Street, Richmond
Wednesday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.