Tuna Panuozzo at Theo’s, Camberwell

20 Oct


LOCATION: Theo’s Pizzeria, 2 Grove Lane, SE5 8SY [map]


BREAD: Lovely sourdough pizza base.

FILLING: Tuna, mozzarella, chilli, black olives, sliced onion.

PROS: I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, because for years I have upheld the belief that the tuna melt is basically the most disgusting sandwich of all time. I mean, tuna with cheese, FFS. Fish with CHEESE. Fishy cheese. Chishy feeze. Can you think of any other dish where that’s a thing? I can’t. Fish pie, maybe, if you’re the kind of idiot who puts cheese on a fish pie, in which case your opinions aren’t valid anyway. No, it doesn’t work, it shouldn’t be done and yet, here we are.

The reason Theo’s gets away with this, I think, is the quality of the ingredients. They use Ortiz, which, in case you don’t know, is basically really good tinned tuna. Not that grey mushy shite you get from Prince’s that looks like it was scraped out of the tumble dryer lint collector. No students, anywhere, are mixing this with mayonnaise and putting it on their jacket potatoes. So there’s that. Then there is the mozzarella which I know is Bianca la Bufala flown in from Naples because I asked about it when I wrote this review of their pizzas. Again, brilliant. There is sliced onion and chilli to give it some bite and there are shiny black olives. I don’t know anything about the olives except that they’re very good and I’m sad when they’re all gone. They’re glossy and plump and they slip around and out of the sandwich and you pick one up and eat it and feel happy.

It’s just a really classy sandwich, is what I’m saying. Tuna and sodding cheese.

CONS: Head fuck.

SCORE: 9/10

Shrimp and Crab Sandwich at Joe Allen, Covent Garden

26 Mar

Joe Allen Crab Sandwich

LOCATION: Joe Allen, 13 Exeter Street, WC2E 7DT [map]

PRICE: £13.95

BREAD: Brioche bun.

FILLING: Crab, mayo, shrimp, salad, micro-herbs.

PROS: I was supposed to be eating at an awards ceremony the evening I ate this sandwich (yeah, yeah, get me etc.), but when I arrived it became clear that the event was sponsored by a home delivery company, and consequently I would be eating mass catered curry while watching people I didn’t know step onto a stage to receive an award I didn’t care about and I thought you know what? Fuck this, I’m having dinner elsewhere. We ended up in Joe Allen because I’d never been and it’s somewhere that should really be ticked off the list. The history is that theatrical types like um, actors, or whatever, used to go there post-show because a) it’s close and b) it’s open. There are pictures of famous people all over the walls, a pianist and a TV showing films that would be referred to as ‘classic’ (old).

So anyway crab is my favourite thing to eat in the whole wide world, which is both a blessing (it exists, I eat a lot of it) and a curse, because if it’s on the menu I can’t order anything else. I always have a really bad case of FOMOOC (Fear Of Missing Out On Crab). Now I’ve eaten some very memorable crab sandwiches in my time, e.g at El Pescadore Fish Market and Point Loma Seafoods, both in San Diego, and yes of course they were better because I ate them on the coast in San Diego but really, that’s not the whole story here.

The plus points with this sandwich were that a) it had crab in it (INSTANT WIN), and b) it had prawns in it. Both were fresh and um, actually I’m a little bored just thinking about it again.

CONS: It was just fine, you know. The crab was in a little ball in the middle, plenty of white meat but crying out for more of the brown to give it that sort of funky, sea-offal flavour. It was polite and unremarkable, a bit like the rest of the menu. The prawns were cut in half and balanced around the outside in a dainty fashion. The bun was very sweet, even by brioche standards and the whole thing was small. Celebrity-sized. The Kylie Minogue of sandwiches.

SCORE: 5/10

Lamb Wrap at F M Mangal, Camberwell

30 Aug

Adana Wrap

LOCATION: 54 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8QZ [map].

PRICE: £6.00 – £7.50.

BREAD: A very large, thin flatbread, the like of which I have not seen elsewhere.

FILLING: Lamb, salad (carrot, onion, lettuce, peppers), garlic yoghurt sauce, chilli sauce.

PROS & CONS: F M Mangal is very close to my house and I have long since stopped eating in. I’ve discovered the way to do things properly, which is to order the wraps, embellish with a Turkish salad and flamingo tarama (if going all out) and then just get on with life. Straying into the wider menu is for idiots and the uninitiated. You’ll notice that I have titled this post ‘lamb wrap’ as I couldn’t decide between the lamb shish and the adana. We often order both, then halve them and share. The lamb shish should be eaten first, while the chunks of lamb are springy and hot from the grill; they bounce between the teeth, just cooked in the centre, smoke infused. They’re as juicy as a tense plum, and the not-quite-bloody flavours and fats combine inside with the thin garlic yoghurt, chilli sauce and salad. This is why you get the wrap; this magical cauldron of tasty will not bubble if things are presented just so on a plate.

The adana, conversely, is better when slightly cooled; at least, it can take it, unlike the lamb shish, which has a tendency to taste livery if not still jumping from the heat. These lengthy pucks of minced meat and spice ooze fat and glory. My one complaint is that they do turn up the odd nugget of gristle but this adds to the spit, smoke and flame-licked animal appeal of it all. The key to making a good adana that stays on the skewer lies in the kneading of the meat mixture beforehand, which increases the density of the kebab and stops it flopping off into the coals. This is a good, solid but juicy example that they bash out consistently like a sewing machine hammers fabric. Confident and relentless.

SCORE: 9/10

Rare Roast Beef on Ciabatta at Street Kitchen, Broadgate

25 Aug

Rare Roast Beef

LOCATION: Street Kitchen, Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2BY [map]. This place also has one of those posho air stream van things nearby but that’s not where I went. The actual shop is about ten feet to the right.

PRICE: Various, see website for menu and prices.

BREAD: Ciabatta.

FILLING: Rare roast beef, caramelised onions, horseradish mayo, salad leaves.

PROS: Street Kitchen sell sandwiches by the inch, which sounds like a swizz until you realise that they might only be an inch in width, but the length is very substantial. Arf. Or is it the other way around? Anyway, the sandwich is rare roast beef in a whacking great ciabatta bun, which they’ve had made by someone on spec. It’s quite hard to find two foot long ciabattas, apparently. The excellent meat is from a Welsh farmer called Tom Jones (yes really), and it’s very thinly sliced, then layered up like pastrami. This gives the sandwich a very satisfying texture, making it tender and easy to eat. There’s some carefully layered leafage, horseradish mayo and caramelised onions which I normally CAN’T STAND *goats’ cheese tart flashbacks* but in this case I think they work. I suspect this is all down to their attention to detail.

I spoke with the owner of Street Kitchen, Mark Jankel, and so I know that this is a man dedicated to the sandwich cause. They get their ingredients from many different suppliers, because they know that the best quality stuff cannot be consistently supplied by the same source; there just isn’t enough of it to go around. They circumnavigate the problem to ensure standards remain high. I was super impressed by this. I think they love sandwiches as much as I do. Okay maybe not that much. No one else loves them that much, right?

I shall give you another example of loveliness: the salmon bap. This juicy arrangement consists of Loch Duart salmon, just cooked, so it’s still a little wibbly. Over cooked salmon is a disgusting, mushy abomination. There’s beetroot, which doesn’t have even a hint of the granny sandwich about it, because it’s sliced so thinly and carefully stacked. There’s watercress, there’s home made mayo. No Hellman’s for Street Kitchen (although I am a big fan, in general). Like I told you, the devil is in the detail.

CONS: Well, it’s in the soul sucking suit-pit that is Broadgate Circle, which is a shame. There’s also a Yauatcha and a Franco Manca, so it’s not like the place is full of Pret and EAT, it’s just a weird corporate space, which is privately owned, I think, so it’s full of security guards. Anyway, that isn’t Street Kitchen’s fault, obviously, and they have plans to roll out further sites (there’s another in Battersea already). What I’m saying is, don’t let the prospect of eating amongst the T M Lewin shirted rat racers put you off. Unless you are one, in which case you’re lucky because you have a really sweet place to buy lunch.




Egg Mayo Bun at WA Café, Ealing

13 Aug

Egg Mayo Bun

LOCATION: WA Cafe, 32 Haven Green, Ealing, Greater London W5 2NX [map]

PRICE: £2.10

BREAD: Wellll, I’ll come back to that.

FILLING: Egg mayo.

PROS: Brace yourselves, guys, because this ain’t no ordinary egg mayo bap. This is, and I’m absolutely not kidding here, egg mayo in a sort of savoury doughnut, which has been coated in cornflakes and deep fried. Yes. Sounds disgusting, right? I know. This can’t possibly be good, I thought to myself; what kind of bonzo brained muppet puts all that savoury dairy inside a sweet bread? What kind of quack-assed twerp is still doing things that stink of the ‘dude-food’ trend, like coating doughnuts in cornflakes? The thing is, it’s brilliant. The Japanese have such a lightness of touch when it comes to frying. The egg mayo is rich with yolks, which makes it much more passable as a filling than if it were all wibbly bits of white hanging out in there. The doughnut-like ‘bun’ is very thin, and not very sweet. It’s also lightly curried. The coating is just so – enough to provide crunch, enough to be playful, enough to raise a smile but not make you feel like you’re chowing down on something conceived of by ten year old boys.

There’s also a curry bun. It’s very good. I’ll be publishing a full review of the place on Londonist, so head over there next week to find out what that’s all about (hint: curry, buns).

CONS: Ealing. EALING. Also, I went twice because the first time, I got there and the buns had run out. I ate a sandwich which I didn’t particularly enjoy, drank a can of cold oolong tea which I did enjoy, and then trudged off again. The buns are available between 12-2pm, I have discovered. The hard way.

SCORE: 9/10

Ham and Piccalilli on Wholemeal at The Delicatessen, Clapham Common

18 Jun

Ham and piccalilli at The Delicatessen
LOCATION: The Delicatessen, 5 The Pavement, London, Clapham SW4 0HY [map]

PRICE: £5, I think.

BREAD: Floury brown roll.

FILLING: Ham, piccalilli, watercress.

PROS: This is from The Delicatessen, which in case you’re not some food-obsessed, in-the-know, restaurant-slave, wobbly-thighed tit like me and everyone I hang around with, is the deli opened by a restaurant called The Dairy. It’s a really brilliant restaurant that makes us all go weak at the knees before we start drooling and making ga ga goo goo goo noises. The Delicatessen is just next door, and they have the seating areas joined up, so you can eat this sandwich while watching someone put away a tasting menu. Also, there’s the street life, and, as much as I will never, ever be Clapham’s biggest fan (although I feel I am slowly moving past the BUILD A WALL AROUND IT stage), it has to be said that the street life is excellent. Many an hour can be idled away slagging off and shamelessly categorising the people that walk past. I hadn’t previously noticed either, just how many people in Clapham have had bad plastic surgery. Staggering.

Anyway. The sandwich was very good and it includes their piccalilli which is really well balanced and crucially, has great crunch. We all know that the secret to a top notch piccalilli is keeping those vegetables crisp. Nothing worse than realising you’ve got a limp batch. Don’t quote me on that. The ham is of staggeringly good quality, obviously, and they leave all the lovely creamy fatty bits on which I used to hate when I was a child but now I’m a fully fledged fat munching adult who eats good quality meat I say, bring it on. The roll was good – kudos for making it wholemeal, nice bit of chew, not too thick but…

CONS:…VERY floury – as floury as an Irish blaa. I like blaas, but goddamn they’re floury. I think if I were to have this sandwich again, I’d want a bit more moisture in there, you know? The piccalilli doesn’t have quite enough juice to lube the sandwich. Also, how is one supposed to pick up a floury bap then go back to Instagramming one’s sandwich like a social media enslaved twat if one has digits covered in flour? Life in Clapham is HARD.

SCORE: 7/10. I mean there’s only so many points I can give to a ham bap, even if I do worship the ground they walk on.

Egg Mayo & Bacon on Wholemeal Baguette from Absolutely Starving, Tooley Street

11 May

snipped sarnie 2

This is a guest post from a guy called Jerry. I don’t know him or anything. We’ve never met. He’s done a review on here before though and then he sent me this and it made me laugh so I’m posting it.

LOCATION: Absolutely Starving, 51 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QN [map]

PRICE: £3.75 (I think – certainly wasn’t over four quid).

BREAD: Wholemeal baguette, lightly buttered.

FILLING: Egg mayonnaise, crispy bacon (proper slices, not that diced shit), rocket and cucumber.

PROS: Absolutely Starving (or ‘A-starv’, as twats probably say) is a good 15 minutes on the 343 bus from my place of employment, but I try to make the trip at least once a week. I discovered it by chance one day when I was releasing a live otter back into the Thames and needed somewhere to shelter from the rain. That story’s not true, but it doesn’t matter because their food is so completely delicious.

It’s an enormous place, built into the warehouses, populated by a battalion of not unattractive young continentals serving hot and cold meals, pre-filled and made to order sandwiches  along with all the artisanal, gluten-free biscuits/cakes/sauces etc. that you could shake a buffalo mozzarella cheese stick at. Despite clearly appealing to an upmarket crowd, they don’t take the piss with prices – they do a pre-filled sausage, red onion and mustard baguette which costs only £2.75 and is the absolute testes.

Last week I went back for my favourite – both their wholemeal and white breads are excellent – crisp, quite sweet to the taste and with plenty of give on the first penetrative bite. Straight in with a very generous base of egg mayonnaise; not the bland orangey mush that you often find in deli trays, but rich, creamy, peppery and yet still replete with the eggy texture and taste. God, I’ve got a saliva on just writing this.

In with the bacon; cold, but still soft, retaining its meaty tang. Lastly, my own particular salad favourites – a rocket base with a cucumber overlay. Two or three slices of cucumber should be enough as the watery taste CAN dominate at the expense of the bacon and if you get it wrong the only sensible thing to do is throw it in the fucking river.

CONS: Only the fact that the place is full of braying, cone-headed besuited consulting types from PWC up the road, who in ideal world would be only allowed in two at a time.

SCORE: 9.5/10