Behold: The Fed’s grilled cheese (Photo: Babiche Martens)
Behold: The Fed’s grilled cheese (Photo: Babiche Martens)

FoodAugust 21, 2018

Take your toastie game to the next level

Behold: The Fed’s grilled cheese (Photo: Babiche Martens)
Behold: The Fed’s grilled cheese (Photo: Babiche Martens)

Hungry? Give these top-notch toasties from the Fed and Baker Gramercy a whirl. 

In The Spinoff’s humble opinion, the toastie is the absolute pinnacle of New Zealand cuisine, so we’re right on board with the Great New Zealand Toastie Tour. In a collaboration between McClure’s Pickles and Coffee Supreme, 20 cafes and food outlets across Aotearoa have come up with their own special toastie takes and added them to their menus for the month of August. 

Al Brown’s Federal Delicatessen uses cheese curds, the stretchy, melty goodness that features in the Auckland institution’s famous poutine, in a grilled cheese that dreams are made of. (Mozzarella provides a similar effect.)

Baker Gramercy‘s kūmara thyme sourdough, meanwhile, stars in the Wellington bakery’s delicious toastie featuring stout-braised onions, gruyère, béchamel and pickles.

If you can’t make it to Federal St or Berhampore, both places have kindly shared their recipes with us, so you can embark on your own great toastie tour (from the sofa to the kitchen and back) at home.


Makes 1 toastie

2 slices rye bread

30g Swiss cheese, sliced

60g McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles (or to taste)

40g mozzarella (the Fed uses cheese curds, but this is only sold to cafes and restaurants)

40g gruyère, sliced

30g clarified butter

Top one slice of rye bread with the Swiss cheese and layer the pickles on top. Add the cheese curds or mozzarella and the gruyère, then top with the other slice of bread. Cut the sandwich in half.

Heat a cast-iron flat grill or heavy-based frying pan over medium high-heat, add half the butter then grill the sandwich until toasted. Add the remaining butter then flip the sandwich and toast the other side until golden and the cheese is melted.

Baker Gramercy’s toastie of dreams (Photo: Supplied)


Makes 4 toasties

For the béchamel

25g salted butter

25g flour

250ml milk

salt and pepper to taste

whole grated nutmeg to taste

75g aged cheddar, grated (optional)

Melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour. Cook it through until it bubbles but don’t let it brown.

Slowly add the milk while whisking over a moderate heat and continue to whisk until it reaches a boil. Reduce the heat and whisk until it thickens noticeably.

Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a couple of gratings of nutmeg. To enrich, stir through the grated cheddar and remove from the heat.

For the stout-braised onions

50g butter

3-4 medium onions

50ml-75ml stout

50ml beef stock (we use Foundation Foods), optional

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Cut the onions in half and thinly slice. Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions on a low to moderate heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Crank up the heat and caramelise the onions – don’t let them burn! Add 50ml-75ml of your favourite stout and simmer to reduce.

For additional comfort, 50ml beef stock can be incorporated and again reduced until thick and glossy. Season with salt and pepper and stir in a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard.

For the toastie

8 slices of sourdough (a day or two old is better than fresh)

12 slices of McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles (3-4 per sandwich)

gruyère or other good melting cheese, sliced

Smear all eight sourdough slices with the béchamel, then top four of them with a generous layer of stout-braised onions, some McClure’s pickles and sliced gruyère or other good melting cheese and top with the remaining sourdough.

Lightly butter the outside of the sandwich and toast until golden brown and the cheese is running. 


Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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