King + Bannatyne
Neighbourhood: Exchange District
Address: 4-100 King St
Winnipeg is in the midst of a sandwich revival, with many eateries turning back to the old standard of meat stacked between two slices of bread. Slow-roasted meaty marvels are the hallmarks of this revolution, and King + Bannatyne is on the leading edge.
A casually factual name and 3 item menu show that here, stylish simplicity reigns. Serving suits by day and plaid flannel by night, the little shop shows its chops by catering to every demographic of the artsy yet business-adjacent Exchange.
It’s easy to eat through the roster of beef, pig, and meatball, so start with the highlight: pink tinged brisket, flaked into flavourful chunks from a luxuriously long roast time. Between thick slices of rye, the sandwich flaunts the new school (read: return to old school) tradition of piling meat high, accompanied simply by a swipe of mustard. Porchetta, another roast seeing recent resurgence, is heaped with chopped herbs, wrapped in pork belly, and roasted to its crispy, juicy peak. The herbaceous hit from flecks of fresh greens is worth the post-lunch selfie required to check teeth–in fact, take a food shot while you’re at it.
The meatball sandwich shows a little love to the overlooked sub, dousing golf ball-sized morsels in rich tomato sauce and stretchy melted cheese. Featured sandwiches change weekly, designed to tempt even the most habit-happy diners with creations like bourbon black coffee pulled pork.Meat-free grilled cheese specials take the childhood favourite to new heights–gooey, nutty gruyere with soft onions was a highlight on one visit, encased in crispy bread marked with panini-press char lines.
Ever-changing sides, like potato salad made of warm roasted spuds, enrich the meal. Local brews and wines by the glass turn a lunch or late night bite into an haute affair undermined by perfectly playful housemade caramel corn, another example of a casual food classic executed with care, skill and style.