Selfridge’s Brass Rail Classic Salt Beef & Reuben

16 Jan

Two sandwiches for you today! See the lengths I will go to in order to find London’s Best Sandwich? Let’s deal with the Classic Salt Beef first:

LOCATION: Selfridge’s Brass Rail, on the ground floor at the back of the food hall.

PRICE£8.75 (for regular size; there are also half sandwiches and a large size available)

BREAD: Caraway-seeded rye.

FILLING: 200g of salt beef plus your choice of mustard (I chose American – mistake) and a pickle on the side if you want it (of course you do).

PROS: it may cost the bones of £9 but the amount of salt beef is very generous. 200g generous. They slice it and weigh it in front of you, see. I’d say this is the best salt beef I’ve tasted in London so far and the texture was fantastic – incredibly soft and juicy, it just melts in the mouth. Some of the pieces had fat on them which made me feel delirious with happiness.  The pickles are ace too – excellent crunch – the sort of crunch that they didn’t even have pre-pickle. Nice and sweet. Perfect. The caraway-seeded rye is dreamy and to be honest, I wouldn’t deviate from rye anyway when it comes to a salt beef ‘wich.

CONS: There’s a choice of mustard and I chose wrong because I panicked. While my brain was saying ‘get English, get English, that’s a lot of beef you need the kick’, I made the decision to get American. No. I wanted it to work but it doesn’t have the backbone. Also, £9 is still expensive.

SCORE: 6/10

LOCATION: Selfridge’s Brass Rail, on the ground floor at the back of the food hall.


BREAD: A massive white sourdough bun of immense crustiness.

FILLING: Salt beef, sliced pickles, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and sauerkraut.

PROS: This is a right beast of a ‘wich and so it should be for FIFTEEN POUNDS. A very generous layer of that wobbly beef again though, and those perfect sweet pickles topped with two slices of Swiss. The sauerkraut and dressing smoosh together into a juicy layer of sharp/sweet mush which oozes out all over your hands, your chin, the table. Good stuff.

CONS: I know this is Selfridge’s and the sandwich is big but OUCH, that’s expensive. I also think the bread is wrong. I know it needs the structural integrity to hold up under all that filling but it’s just too crusty and it overwhelms the fillings, which frankly, takes some doing. I couldn’t believe my ears but I heard myself saying I preferred the simplicity of the Classic Salt Beef.

SCORE: 5/10 

40 Responses to “Selfridge’s Brass Rail Classic Salt Beef & Reuben”

  1. Chris January 16, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I don’t know whether it’s the perspective on that photo but I don’t think the Rueben looks substantially bigger than the salt beef sandwich, and surely a bit of cheap cheese and ‘kraut and different (and by all accounts worse) bread can’t be worth an extra 6 notes? But yes, the salt beef classic is well worth it, one of my favs.

  2. Alicia (Foodycat) January 16, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I haven’t tried their reuben, because I can never go past the classic salt beef. But it looks good, even at that price!

  3. Matt January 16, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Did you eat both of those in one sitting? *doffs cap*

  4. Paul January 16, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Love the way the receipts are splattered with Reuben sauce! I didn’t know about this place will give it a try though only for the salt beef. £14.50 for what looks only half the fun of the Ribman’s big £5 bap of joy is crazy money

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 16, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      I wouldn’t get the reuben again but I would definitely get the salt beef. In terms of value though, you’re right. Rib man’s bap is the clear winner. Salt beef is obviously more expensive than ribs though…

  5. hollowlegs January 16, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    WHEURFFFFF! That Reuben is oozy but for that price, Christ; I’d want it dusted with gold. I now have a salt beef craving dammit.

    I’ve read somewhere that Reubens are either salt beef or corned beef, but I’ve never seen the latter. I suppose it is infinitely less sexy than it’s salty beefy brother.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 16, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      Exactly. I mean, it’s a massive sandwich but the bread isn’t right and it should be bloody perfect for that price!

    • Catherine January 17, 2012 at 5:13 am #

      Corned beef is the name for salt beef in the United States. Reubens are be made with pastrami or salt beef. They are also not made with a roll!

  6. Adam Osborne (@Degenerate) January 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I must say, that the Salt Beef on Rye is the one for me. Anytime I’m in the area I have this compulsion that drags me to Selfridges for the sandwich

  7. Paul January 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I must say i’m likeing the thought of this blog more and more. How great of you could add an international dimension too? I’m thinking pastrami or smoked fish in New York, open sandwiches in Scandinavia, those amazing grilled fish baguettes in Istanbul. Perhaps some nice centre of learning could offer you a grant? 😉

    Looking forward to new posts!

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Ha ha! Love it although, don’t talk to me about grants right now!! Imagine that though…IMAGINE!

  8. Marina Huxley January 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    I am LOVING this new blog! Great idea!
    I have always wanted to try the salt beef but I always change my mind when I’m reading the menu before I go in, as I think its probably a bit too pricey for a quick snack. But you have convinced me to try the Classic next time I’m in Selfridges (which, after reading this post, I had almost decided would be tonight, but actually I had a massive lunch so am not that hungry – d’oh!). Soon though.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Hey Marina, you could always go for a half if you wanted to keep the cost down. Problem is, you’d just want the other half afterwards. It’s too nice.

  9. Catherine January 17, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    The Brass Rail needs to go to Reuben making school. That thing is not a Reuben. It should be made with sliced rye or pumpernickel bread which has been buttered on the outside. The sandwich is then cooked in a pan or on a griddle. I would go return and ask for my money back under the Trades Description Act.

  10. Russ January 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Had always wondered if the SBS there is any cop, glad I know now to give the Reuben a miss!

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

      Yeah, salt beef = great. Reuben = not so great. It’s still tasty and HUGE but seriously, FIFTEEN QUID!

  11. Elsey and Bent | London fruit delivery January 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    wowsers, now that is a sandwich!!

  12. cwildman January 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Salt Beef and PROPER Corned Beef are basically the same thing, not to be confused with Tinned Corned Beef which although has it’s place is a different thing altogether! I have recently made a few batches of our classic Yorkshire Pickled Beef (old Wildman family recipe) and it has been getting some great feedback, actually had a Yorkshire version of the Salt Beef & pickle sandwich for tea last night, yum!

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

      Thanks Chris! Do you sell the corned beef?

      • cwildman January 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

        Yes Yorkshire Pickled Beef, made to order 10 day lead-time, as demand grows hope to have stock all the time, just been selling on the stall & a bit online.

      • londonreviewofsandwiches January 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

        Right, I need me some of that beef, Chris.

  13. Robert January 22, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Mmm looks lovely but I cannot betray my first love, Beigel Bake on Brick lane again. I love their salt beef but I haven’t tried it elsewhere other than Katz Deli in NYC. Which is too far for a treat!

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 22, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Beigel Bake does have value on it’s side but the salt beef at Selfridge’s is much better quality. At 2am on Saturday morning though…HELLO!

  14. Theo February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Hey, have you tried the salt beef bagels from the shop at the top of brick lane? only £3.50 and its some of the best salt beef if tried! open 24h a day as well !!!

    • londonreviewofsandwiches February 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Hi Theo, yup, many a bagel has seen me through many a drunken evening. I wouldn’t say it’s some of the best salt beef in London, though.

  15. Carly March 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    A thousand thanks for opening my eyes to the Classic Salt Beef – my boyfriend and I nipped into Selfridges yesterday pretty much just to try it (also to buy a teapot, but the sandwich was obviously the main event). You’re right about the meat melting in your mouth – it was almost like having a religious experience. Took your advice on shooting for English rather than American mustard, and wasn’t disappointed. Sadly I forgot the part about rye being the best bread to go for and went for white, but it didn’t matter. Definitely having it again, but perhaps not before I try the TEN ON TEN LOBSTER/BRIOCHE PHENOMENON.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches March 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Ha ha! Thanks Carly for your awesome comment, it made me laugh. So glad you enjoyed the salt beef and oh my goodness, THAT LOBSTER! You must let me know if you try it. Drools…

  16. Catherine April 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Have you tried the Salt Beef sandwich at De Gustibus bakery/cafe at Borough Market? They a shop on the edge of the market. If you go there, ask for it on the Polish Rye bread.

  17. Mike October 18, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    Love yer blog! Was down at Selfridges a couple of weeks ago and polished of the mixed combo. Loved it all, but for me, the tongue was the bomb. Absolutely wonderful, and will be hard resist next time. I look forward to your review of that one!

  18. Geordie Jon January 17, 2014 at 2:41 am #

    ‘The Brass Rail’ was my little discovery in London. Something I came upon one day, wondering around not far away from home. My father used to drop by here in the 70s, hence I knew it’s name. It’s sort of ‘hidden’, except to those that know it. One of the ‘quiet gems’ of London…

  19. Querino de Freitas September 16, 2019 at 9:51 am #

    What is the name of the jewish restaurant in Gt Titchfield Street in the west end..?

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