Steak sandwich

Steak sandwich

Hungry For That
Lauren Bamford

Since the mid ’90s, one of my favourite Melbourne restaurants has been Cicciolina. It’s an Aussie spin on an Italian trattoria and the first few times I ate there I just couldn’t put my finger on why I loved it so much. Sure, the food was amazing, but the small dining room was always packed and the wait for a table was always lengthy – and as a 19-year-old kid, I didn’t care for waiting, nor did I care for white tablecloths. My good friend and long-time mentor, Phil Ransom, who looked out for me from when I left school at 16 until I got married at 27, would shout me a meal every week at Cicc.

The restaurant was so busy they ended up turning their storeroom into a bar. This was a stroke of genius and before too long I was just meeting friends there to have a drink. One such friend was Beci who shared the same love for Cicciolina as Phil and me. Beci and I formed the basis of our relationship together over the tuna carpaccio and the roasted baby chicken while cramped into the corner of the bustling dining room. I cared not for restaurant reviews, hype or elitism – I cared for love and good vibes and this was exactly what was going down every time we pushed that side door open and stood awkwardly while they worked out if they had room for us.

Phil and I had a little queue-jumping scam. We would call Tascha, our friend on the inside, in the afternoon so she could get our names put in the queue. Whenever I would walk in with Phil, he would just hold up two fingers to Barb who runs the show and before too long there would be two steak sandwiches and a side of mash in front of us. I loved this sandwich so much I wanted to flip my own version as an ode to Cicciolina. Big thank yous to the team at Cicc – Barb, Virginia, Simon and Tascha – for all the good times your restaurant showed me and my friends and family. I hope I get the chance to make this sandwich for you one day.


Quantity Ingredient
10g dried sliced porcini mushrooms
20g butter
2 eschalots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 x 350g thick-cut scotch fillet steaks
2 tablespoons duck or chicken liver pate
lemon juice, to serve
4 x 15cm baguettes, halved lengthways
horseradish, finely grated or prepared, to serve
coriander leaves, to serve


  1. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 250 ml hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 125 ml of the soaking liquid. Be careful not to include any of the sediment. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms.
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the eschalot and garlic for about 1 minute, or until soft. Add the Swiss brown mushrooms and cook for 3–4 minutes, then add the porcini mushrooms, reserved soaking liquid and thyme. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 5–7 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has become dry. Remove and let cool.
  3. Bring a frying pan or chargrill pan to a medium–high heat. Rub 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto each steak, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 4–5 minutes on each side for medium–rare, or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a chopping board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the mushroom mixture with the duck or chicken liver pâté in a bowl and smoosh it into a paste using a rubber spatula.
  5. Slice the rested steaks and drizzle with some olive oil and a little lemon juice. To serve, spread some of the mushroom mixture onto one side of each baguette. Add slices of steak, a touch of horseradish, some coriander and top with the remaining baguette halves.
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