Why Karalee on Preston has Perth’s best steak sandwich

Perth's best pub steak sanga - officially - is at the Karalee on Preston. Picture: David Baylis
Perth's best pub steak sanga - officially - is at the Karalee on Preston. Picture: David Baylis

NOT all steak sandwiches are created equal, and Mickey Phull’s latest award-winning creation is certainly one of a kind.

Mr Phull’s sandwich, which sells for $26 at Como hotel Karalee on Preston, is a long way removed from the traditional piece of meat and some sauce slapped between two bits of bread.

Marinated scotch fillet, wood smoked maple bacon, pepper jack cheese and a home made barbi-aioli sauce with Lawley’s specialty bread… it’s no surprise that it tastes as good as the menu listing sounds.

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Head chef Mickey Phull with some of his best work. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au

What is surprising is that there is good science as to why lettuce and tomato actually belong underneath, rather than atop, the piece of delicately soft prime meat.

“When you take a bite the food generally flips backwards in your mouth, so the first thing you want is the sauce and the steak,” the Karalee’s manager Rueben Dias explained.

“If you build the sandwich the other way round you are getting tomato first, which is not the star.

“We want to showcase that creaminess of the sauce which gets your taste buds to open up, the meat hits it, and then you’re getting the freshness (of salad) which makes you want to come back for more.”

Sous chef Scott Mathea, venue manager Reuben Dias and head chef Mickey Phull with the Karalee on Preston’s award winning steak sandwich. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d493258

Mr Phull said the 200g steak, when topped with the bacon, onions and melted cheese, also provided the weight to keep the sandwich stable and able to be eaten the way it should be – hands on.

It’s clear the team at the Karalee put considerable thought into the combination of flavours required to win the Australian Hotel Association’s steak sandwich competition – again.

Also winners in 2014 and 2017, this third triumph in six years has elevated Mr Phull into the category’s hall of fame.

AHA WA chief executive Bradley Woods said the quality of sandwiches in the competition was constantly improving with chefs creating new masterpieces to raise the bar each year.

“Whilst the competition is obviously a lot of fun, the steaks are high and venues quite rightly take it very seriously,” Mr Woods said.

“We are amazed by the creations that WA chefs produce, with the real winners being local punters who get to enjoy the best steak sandwiches in the country.”


  • KARALEE ON PRESTON: Char grilled scotch fillet, wood smoked maple bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, rocket, caramelised onion and signature ‘barb-aioli’ sauce on Turkish bread. $26, includes chips and pork crackle.
  • THE CARLISLE HOTEL, Carlisle (2019 finalist): scotch fillet marinated in homemade spices, caramelised onion, egg, rocket, fresh tomato, homemade mustard relish, bomemade BBQ sauce on ciabattini roll. $24 with chips
  • HIGH WYCOMBE TAVERN, High Wycombe (2019 finalist): 200g pitch black angus with pork belly, swiss cheese, tomato, rocket, caramelised onion, cabbage and fennel slaw, homemade BBQ sauce, ciabatta Panini. $24.50 with steak fries
  • CY O’CONNOR, Piara Waters (2019 finalist): herb Panini, continental bacon, swiss cheese, beef-fat fried onions, tomato & chilli chutney, rocket, caper & cornichon béarnaise. $24.90 with chips
  • THE MERRYWELL, Burswood (2018 winner): Grilled lamb rump steak, chipotle and fig relish, beetroot pickle, feta mayonnaise and pistachios on potato and roast onion bread. $27 with sweet potato fries.
  • BALMORAL HOTEL, Victoria Park: scotch fillet, tomato, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, swiss cheese, beetroot, beer onions, texas toast. $22 with chips
  • BROKEN HILL HOTEL, Victoria Park: sirloin, beetroot & chilli relish, tomato, mixed leaf, Yankee cheese on a flour bun. $22 with chips
  • THE COMO, Como: 150g scotch fillet, cos lettuce, beetroot, swiss cheese, tomato, caramelised onion, sweet mustard pickle. $22 with chips