Building 80 RMIT
445 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9995 4655
Disclaimer: Libby paid for her first meal at Hero, but dined as a guest of Hero and Brand Works on her second visit.
I’m not normally one to buy sandwiches (except for Vietnamese pork rolls) when I’m out because I am never satisfied with what I get. ‘Sif pay $8 for a piece of two pieces of stale bread smeared with processed mayonnaise and filled with a limp sheet of lettuce and meat that’s probably be sitting around for days! I’m not sure whether that makes me a food snob or a tight arse but whatever. Plus, I also make a mean chicken sandwich at home.
So when I heard that Hero, a new sandwich place – or more specifically, sub sandwich place – was opening up behind the new RMIT building on Swanston Street, I barely batted an eyelid. Surely this was just a copycat Subway joint? But then people started giving it the thumbs up on Twitter. And people started posting pics of their subs on Instagram. I can’t remember who posted a filtered photo of their sub loaded with onion rings but that user was responsible for me rocking up to Hero one Saturday afternoon during a study break. Because, well, onion rings.
Hero is the newest baby in Michael and Eleena Tan’s café empire. With Reading Room Café and the Grain Store all operating in full swing, they decided to open up a Brooklyn-inspired sandwich joint in the now-bustling RMIT section of the city. Half-sized subs are $7.80 while those with larger stomachs can purchase a full-length one for $11.80. You can choose from seven winning flavours, or Hero’s equivalent of a daily special – a ‘limited 6’ sub. As its name suggests, only six of these are made each day so you’d better get in quick before they sell out. In any case, you can buy the subs on their own or in a combo, the latter of which I did on my first visit.
The three-peat combo comes with half a sub, a drink and your choice of a cookie or a donut. Normal people would go for either a soft drink or a coffee but I’m not normal so I asked for water instead (yeah, WTF).
I chose the only sub that had onion rings in it: the #KIDROYALE. It was jam-packed like Rod Laver Arena during a Beyonce concert and bursting with so much flavour. I especially loved the contrast between the soft slivers of beef and the crispy and salty onion rings. My only criticism would be that the onion jam was too sweet though, especially given the fact that the spice rub was sweet enough on its own.
My lunch ended on a sweeter note, if that’s even possible. The jam donut was piping hot and full of sweet, sugary strawberry jam. It wasn’t bad at all but I don’t think anything can compare to the jam donuts they serve at Queen Vic Market and Olympic Donuts in Footscray. Ever.
My second visit was more of a savoury affair. This time I decided to get a coffee because, well, screw water! Also, I was on the pointy end of a really long semester so I decided all the caffeine that I could get that afternoon.
I can’t say that my Americano
coffee cawfee tasted fantastic but hey, American coffee isn’t meant to be great. For that, I give props for authenticity.
I was very happy with my #CATCHER which was, thankfully, not as sweet as the #KIDROYALE. The prawns remained crunchy despite being lovingly drizzled with a creamy Thousand Island dressing while the slaw formed the vegie component. It was like a shrimp po’ boy, but better.
The fries were excellent; they were golden and crispy and covered with what tasted like a quasi-Old Bay seasoning mix. Delicious.
Of course, Hero isn’t all about sub sandwiches and hashtags. You can also buy muffins, Five & Dime bagels and Italian bread pockets here if you want something a little lighter. Meanwhile, I’m hoping that Hero’s current ‘limited 6’ sub #KAYNESREVENGE makes another appearance in the not too distant future. After all, I do like a nice crumbed fish fillet sandwich… (haha, Kayne, fish fillet, gedditgeddit?!?!)