Do you have a moment to talk about Cheeses (Murphy)?


If you’ve ever been out and about  uptown Waterloo on a weekend at an unholy hour of the night, chances are high that you’ve already encountered Cheeses Murphy.

The Waterloo location, nestled inside Princess Cafe, the famed pop-up sandwich shop opens late at night on weekends to cater to perhaps the best target market there is: ravenous drunk university students. 

A sandwich from Cheeses can feel like heaven — provided you’re in the right state of mind. This week though, my sober companion and I ventured to downtown Kitchener to see whether Cheeses’ cuisine fared any better during the day.

The Kitchener location is a tiny space with wood-panelled walls, the restaurant was stifling due to its huge windows on this uncharacteristically warm day. Almost exclusively occupied by a large counter where sandwiches were made and served, there wasn’t much sitting space to be had except on counters around the corners of the restaurant. 

I could tell sandwiches were seriously their one and only main dish when I noticed a plain juice/pop fridge and packets of kettle-cooked chips on the counter. No fancy shmancy drinks or desserts for you here. 

But oh my, the varieties of grilled cheese (and their puns).  I found myself torn between everything as it all looked so good (a foodie’s worst conundrum), especially because the Kitchener branch of Cheeses Murphy has so many  more variations than Waterloo’s.  

Finally making up my mind, I ordered the Gouda Old Hockey Game, with Bauer Butcher peameal bacon, basil aioli, Gouda, and hickory sticks. I also ordered their soup of the day (balsamic roasted cauliflower with chevre), along with the obligatory chips and drink. 

Every order at Cheeses is packed up to go in tin foil and styrofoam containers (tsk, environmentally unfriendly, tsk) which made it very hard to look appealing. However, Instagram pictures aside, this was a tasty grilled cheese that would nullify any hangover. 

The chewiness of the peameal bacon contrasted nicely against the slight crunch of hickory sticks, while the oiliness of both the bacon and aioli made for a truly rich sandwich. The subtlety of the Gouda cheese also lead to an overall melted goodness that tied all these elements together. 

The balsamic soup was intensely rich and flavourful, in a good way. With a tang that I couldn’t wholly attribute to either the creamy goat cheese or the balsamic, the soup ended up being better on its own, rather than  as sandwich-sidekick. 

Unfortunately, in some weird, convoluted plot twist, I suddenly began to notice the flaws of having too much of a good thing; the sandwich in combination with the soup was getting saltier and saltier, and it also didn’t help that the soup looked somewhat like baby food. 

I began to wish I had something other than chips and OJ to combat all of the increasingly overwhelming flavours — dear God, was I wishing I had SALAD? Something was seriously wrong.

I would recommend anyone, before going, to seriously think about your combinations before pairing two heavenly things together, as they may make a less-than-desirable whole (can you say #FirstWorldFoodieProblems?). Other than that though, Cheeses is a great joint, and the sandwiches and soups are amazing on their own; just take my story as a sign of precaution.


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