Club del PanLegendary sandwiches in Parque Rodó
Gigantic sandwiches made with sourdough from a master baker and excellent coffee make this little corner cafe and bakery just off the rambla in Parque Rodó an essential stop
The tiny Club del Pan—or Bread Club—has no sign outside. It’s located on a street corner just off the rambla and Montevideo’s most historic park in an art-deco store that’s seen better days. There are usually a few bicycles or a vintage car parked outside.
Baker Gonzalo Zubirí is a local legend amongst us foodies – he was the first person in Montevideo to make really excellent bread. He bakes sourdough, focaccia and pastries five days a week in the basement at Club del Pan. His partner El Vasco used to run gastronomy tours in the countryside north of chic Punta del Este. It’s El Vasco who sources the local produce for the daily sandwich fillings.
Called Zukulentos, the sandwiches always have a vegetarian and a carnivore sandwich option. They are enormous. Be prepared to come with an appetite, or to split your sandwich.
Club del Pan is definitely one of the top three bakeries in Montevideo. Don’t miss their chewy sourdough pan de campo, the salty foccaccia studded with roasted tomatoes and the brown seed loaves.
Gonzalo has always worked in the orbit of Francis Mallman but it was when he was in the New York kitchen’s of his childhood friend Ignacio Mattos first tried “real bread”. Gonzalo and Ignacio grew up on the banks of the Santa Lucia river just outside Montevideo. Ignacio just happens to have been voted chef of the year by Esquire. Chad Robertson who Vogue called “the cult prince of American breadmaking” was in town and Gonzalo could not believe the difference between Chad’s bread was from regular bread. He set about teaching himself to make the perfect Montevideo sourdough. Now he’s one of those obssessive breadmakers who takes his sourdough starter (known as masa madre—or mother dough in Spanish) on holiday to keep it alive.
Mascha, a Dutch friend who has been living in Uruguay for the last eight years, declared her sandwich “the best I’ve eaten in Uruguay”.
What you should know
The sandwiches can sell out fast Mascha and I got to Club del Pan at 1.30 and the daily special sandwiches had already sold out! All the same Vasco whipped up a delicious bondiola and swiss-style cheese on foccaccia so we were happy.
Late night Thursdays Not sure how long this will go on for but during mid year, the Club has been offering a hot dish to eat in or take away with a guest cook. For instance in June Gustavo and Uruguayan slow food icon Laura Rosano (link in Spanish) prepared organic polenta with rabbit or mushroom escabeche, a traditional gaucho-style preserve. Any left-overs are typically served up on Fridays when the flavours have intensified and they are typically even more delicious than the day they were made.