Disclosure: I was kindly invited to try Hero by Brand Works
What is it that makes a hero? A superpower? A sidekick? If you turn to many a comic book, or most kids films in general these days, the general consensus is that it's not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside that makes a hero.
Although it always helps if you have a rather funky skin tight suit (hello Captain America)!
The new 'Hero' in Melbourne's CBD, located behind the RMIT building, encapsulates this concept…but in sub form, where the filling is king, and is supported by some damn good looking exterior (bread) as well. Eleena and Michael (who you may know from The Grain Store and Reading Room Cafe) were inspired by the subs they had in New York, specifically in and around Brooklyn-Queens, which were filled with quality produce and big and generous flavours and wanted to bring that to Melbourne, with it's own local twist.
When I was first invited to go, I wasn't really that interested in going, as my general impression of subs equalled hard bread and dry and boring filling. However, with a bit of encouragement from Daisy, I dragged Brad down on a Saturday…although only after we had brunch (Brad's a little old-fashioned like that sometimes, it's kind of adorable).
Although having brunch before-hand was kind of a bad idea as there was a lot of sub to be had. A lot.
Whilst Hero may not have a bat cave to hangout in, they do have a rather slick and tidy HQ, where all the produce, that is locally sourced mind you, pops out in cheery colours against the black.
The menu's not giant, is entirely in capitals and with a lot of hashtags (to encourage a bit of twitter trending no doubt), but there's something there for everyone (except gluten free peeps unfortunately, crossing fingers this might change in the future), from muffins, to Italian bread pockets, to subs with all your favourite proteins (or polenta fingers, if you're vegetarian).
The first sub I tried was the #THROWBACK, with veal, pork, orange and fennel meatballs simmered in Nona's homemade sauce with baby spinach and shaved grana padano.
I braced myself to prepare to give the teeth a workout and make a mess tearing the bread apart. Oh goodness. I was about to get an education and be converted to the way of the Hero sub.
I was pleasantly caught off guard with how soft and fluffy the bread was, my teeth effortlessly sinking in and pulling it apart, along with delightfully rich and saucy meatballs, which were beautifully tomato-y with a bit of zing to it. So tender as well. And cheese. Yes cheese. Yes.
I wasn't very clever and ate this entirely with my hands. My grey jeans were soon covered in red sauce splotches, but it was glorious. A glorious reminder of the delicious Hero I had just consumed. Let's call them battle scars.
We also tried the #KIDROYALE, which seems to have become the signature for Hero, with it's smoked hickory rub slow roasted beef, onion jam, honey dijon, baby spinach and crispy onion rings.
Yeah, you heard me right, crispy onion rings.
This is not the type of sub you want to eat if you have to eat it in a rush and get back to a multimillionaire dollar deal in your suit after lunch at the office, as you'd be returning looking a bit of a mess. It is however, the type of sub you want to eat if you want good solid sustenance and a wallop of flavour that leaves you licking your fingers clean. The savoury beef, so tender, balanced nicely with the sweetness that the jam and the dijon had to offer, and the crunch of the onion rings provided a nice texture contrast.
I also had a nibble on a panko crumb prawn from the #CATCHER which was fried to crisp perfection, sealing in all the sweet juiciness of the prawn.
There were also a #PARADISE sub, with lemon and thyme roasted chicken, lettuce, hard boiled egg, crispy bacon croutons and caesar dressing (essentially a caesar salad in a sub), floating around…but I just couldn't have any more. Although as the theme seemed to go, it was delicious, but a messy eat!
When Eleena came around to ask how we were all doing, as we started discussing how full we were, and asked us if we wanted doughnuts…well, there's only one answer to that isn't there now? So we were soon presented with 7 freshly fried chocolate jaffa doughnuts.
Now normally jaffa is not quite my thing, whilst I love chocolate with just about everything, I don't really love it with orange. However, I honestly hardly noticed the orange in these hot, gently dusted with icing sugar, fluffy little beauties. Fresh from the fryer, they were an absolute treat, with a warm chocolate filling that gently oozed out. My only complaint is that the hole in the doughnuts where the chocolate filling is piped in is not quite big or deep enough, so you don't end up with chocolate in every mouth full…but I guess I'm just being greedy now.
Worth every calorie though? Definitely.
So let's be honest here. Hero subs are a hell of a mess to eat, which is a possibly downside, depending on who you are, but personally, I love food that's finger licking good, and that's exactly what I was doing post Hero sub session. Delicious, locally sourced, this is the sexy older brother that Subway wishes he could be. So to me? This Hero is solid.
Tenancy 1, Entry via Stewart St
RMIT Building 80
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