The third project in Melbourne by the New Mexican Balleau brothers – 5 Points Deli – opened recently week in Carlton. It’s a New York-style eatery – adding to their Mexican cantina (Chingon in Richmond) and their New Orleans smokehouse (Le Bon Ton in Collingwood). It’s a substantial project replacing the old Mutti restaurant near the corner of Lygon and Elgin Streets. They are capable of seating 200 on the ground floor, with more of a rock ‘n’ roll vibe upstairs at their 200 seater Longhorn Saloon which opens late afternoon. The brothers have teamed up with chef Nick Stanton (formerly of Nieuw Amsterdam) and the establishment promises authentic East Coast grub.
Downstairs the walls are aglow with hand pressed copper accents highlighting the deli’s display. Upstairs, the mood is more rustic – thanks to the dark timber panelling, large iron candelabras, and distressed leather seating.
For breakfast there is a $25 all-you-can-eat buffet with eggs cooked to order, housemade bagels and free coffee refills aplenty.
For the lunch crowd, there is more of a deli feel about it where you order at the entrance, and then meander down the cook line to see your order being assembled. It’s definitely a good tease which is bound to get you salivating and your digestive juices pumping long before you get your hands on your highly anticipated meal. On offer are smoked meat sandwiches, housemade bagels, salads and soups. Don’t over order as we did and you might be able to squeeze in one of their truly delectable homemade American pies for dessert!
Toasted Reuben Sandwich – Dark rye, 5 Points Deli corned brisket, sauerkraut, Swiss, Russian dressing ($16)
This was a truly authentic and absolutely mammoth sandwich. It was served with house made potato chips and a trademarked pickle. The sauerkraut was mildly pickled, and the corned brisket was lovely and tender and certainly not overly salty. The slice of Swiss cheese separated the two components and tied it nicely together. Despite being on toasted rye, the moisture got the better of the sandwich and we ended up using cutlery to manoeuvre this monster into our mouths.
I seriously can’t believe they made the potato chips on site. They were absolutely incredible: super thin, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. Le Bon Ton Cheeseburger – Wagyu beef patty, bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles, spicy ketchup and aioli ($16)
I ended up pulling out the raw brown onion (I’ve never been a fan of raw onion) but was utterly impressed with the flavours, juiciness and satisfaction I felt after polishing off one-third of this beauty.
Smoked Meat Poutine ($16)
This was under the ‘ Sides’ section so we mistakenly thought it was going to be much smaller in size! It was huge and definitely the equivalent of a main meal. People rave about the Reuben here but I was absolutely besotted by the poutine – despite the fact that there was no cheese curd involved. It featured delicious, well-seasoned, super crunchy potato chips, coated in the perfect amount of an absolutely brilliant bechamel-type sauce with loads of crushed peppercorns. Atop was some grated hard cheese with corned brisket, caramelised eschalots and a good quantity of finely sliced jalapeños. It’s one of those dishes that’s impossible to describe how brilliant it was. It’s a unique rendition but I’m 100% head over heels in love with it!
So I guess the question is – would I return? Most definitely. Serve me up more poutine please on a day when 5 Points Deli’s chowder is available with a slice of homemade apple pie.