What’s on the menu at When the Pig Came Home, the popular deli’s new location in the Junction

What’s on the menu at When the Pig Came Home, the popular deli’s new location in the Junction

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Name: When the Pig Came Home
Contact: 384 Keele St., whenthepigcamehome.ca, @when_the_pig_came_home
Neighbourhood: The Junction
Owners and chefs: Kimberly Hannam and Ryan Gatner
Seating: Takeout only
Accessibility: Not accessible

The food

When the Pig Came Home started life as a farmer’s market stand specializing in peameal sandwiches. Since then, Hannam and Gatner have grown the business into a full-fledged deli that’s become so popular they closed their original Junction store to move to a bigger location down the street. And that’s good news, because more space means more stock—and less of a chance your favourite sandwich is sold out.

Find someone who looks at you like Ryan looks at Kimberly

The menu draws from Gatner and Hannam’s culinary heritages—Polish/Ukrainian and Caribbean respectively—which is why you’ll find juicy smoked meat alongside jerk chicken and Jamaican beef patties. House-brined porchetta is another specialty here. Meats mostly come in sandwich form, but are also available by the half pound or in a meal with sides and pickles. There are also thoughtful vegetarian options, including a patty stuffed with actual veggies (instead of a meat pretender).

This is a community-oriented business, right down to relationships with suppliers: the pair make a point of cultivating strong ties to local meat purveyors like Perth Pork. Responsibly sourced meat helps yield top-notch sandwiches, and while that’s a good enough draw, there’s palpable warmth here, too: this is a place that remembers its regulars (and sometimes names sandwiches after them).

Where it all started. The Original Peameal was WTPCH’s first offering at the Junction Farmers Market, and remains one of its most popular sandwiches. Brined peameal, cured over seven days for optimal juiciness and flavour, is hand-cut into thick slices and layered with tomato, kale and maple aïoli on a pillowy steamed pain au lait bun. $7.45.

 

The Steamie dog: deli simplicity at its comforting best. A steamed hot dog on a tender bun, done up with coleslaw, green onions and yellow mustard. $3.95.

 

If you’re feeling a little bacon-and-eggy, this is the place to be.

 

Here we have an item off the secret menu. The Kim, named after, well, Kim herself: “It’s sweet, it’s spicy, and it leaves you wanting more,” she says. Amen. Fried apple slices, maple aioli, bacon, cheese, egg and hot sauce on pillowy pain au lait. $8.

 

At WTPCH, the Philly cheesesteak comes three ways: classic, “Whiz Kid,” and in this case, “Ryan’s Way”—or if you were to ask Ryan himself, “the only way.” Hand-sliced bavette and hanger steak is sourced from PEI beef—which, fun fact, has a unique flavour thanks to the cow’s special potato diet. It’s layered with sautéed peppers, onions, garlic, provolone, secret house sauce, crispy onions, peperoncini, green onions and, of course, lots of Cheez Whiz.

 

Slow-roasted porchetta, marinated for 24 hours in a blend of Italian herbs, gets a final blast of heat for the perfect crackly crust, which is sliced off for sprinkling. That crackling makes up the base, topped with six ounces of porchetta, sautéed kale, garlic, provolone, truffle sauce, honey mustard and house hot sauce—a moderately spicy blend of scotch bonnets and habaneros. You can also opt for a simpler “classic” version, topped with just salt and olive oil. $13.45 for house, $10.95 for classic.

 

Twelve-hour roasted and smoked brisket, spiced with coriander, black pepper, and other (secret) herbs and spices, doesn’t need much in the way of adornments. And so, it shines in the leading role in this hefty number: a half pound of smoked meat is piled on light rye, dressed lightly with yellow mustard, and served with a Kosher dill pickle.

 

Not in the mood for bread? No problem: WTPCH makes a killer chopped chicken salad. Jerk chicken, marinated for 24 hours in a carefully calibrated blend of scotch bonnets, pimento pepper, green onion, lime, and brown sugar (among other things) is the undisputed star here. It’s piled onto a bed of finely chopped kale dressed up with cherry tomatoes, crispy and green onions, deli sauce, olive oil and cheese. Light enough but, thanks to that jerk chicken, as satisfying as a salad gets. $10.95.

 

House-made Jamaican beef patties come in four varieties here, each a triumph in its own right: spicy beef (red dot), mild beef (no dot), vegetarian (green dot), and ackee and saltfish (purple dot). The vegetarian is no slouch: it has a ton of flavour and textural interest from its blend of sweet potato, cabbage, peas, onions, coconut, honey, and curry. And if you haven’t tried ackee and saltfish—a traditional Jamaican breakfast dish—this would be a perfect introduction. $3.10.
The drinks

Besides your usual soft drink selection, you’ll find Joe’s lemonade and peach iced tea (Hannam’s favourite—she says it “tastes like a cloud”), sparkling grapefruit Ting, Hitchhiker regular and peach lemonade, and Harvey & Verns ginger beer.

The space

Housed in the historic Campbell Block at Dundas West and Keele, the space is bedecked in original brick and, if you’re into this kind of thing, the uncanny sense of history that comes with a heritage building. There are a few counter spots where you can hover over your meal, but this is generally a takeout-only operation.

As they say: nom nom nom