Bifana Especial at Cafe Max, Brixton

9 Apr

LOCATION: Cafe Max, 18 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PD [map]

PRICE: £4.50

BREAD: White bap

FILLING: This Portugese beast is packing fried pork, a fried egg, a slice of processed ham, a slice of Emmenthal style cheese, lettuce and tomato.

PROS: Well, no-one could accuse them of being stingy with the filling. That’s a lorra lorra protein for £4.50. The bap was nice; fresh with a good bit of chew.

CONS: Let’s start with the pork, shall we? It was fine; clearly cheap meat but you know, fine. I think it had been marinated but didn’t have much flavour save for one bite when I found myself dealing with a piece of garlic. It was chewy, too. The egg was okay; they cooked it on both sides, I assume to make it easier to eat. It’s annoying to be presented with a fried egg and yet denied the joy of the oozy yolk though, don’t ya think? The processed protein products on top were um, unexpected. I don’t shy away from a slice of mystery meat and I regularly plunge headlong into the guilty pleasure pool of processed cheese but jeez, what was the point here? The lettuce and tomato underneath was…well it was there. Yes, definitely there. The sandwiches (I subjected a friend to this delightful lunchtime experience also) arrived at the table with mayo and ketchup. I squirted a bit of mayo on mine, mainly because I wanted to do a pattern with the squeezy bottle. Also, I don’t know what that substance is on top of the bun that was clearly left behind by the knife used to cut it, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in my sandwich.

We were hungry, me and my mate, so we managed about half of our sandwiches. As I looked up at him to declare defeat I noticed he looked pale and concerned, “my pork” he said through a mouthful of four kinds of protein, “it’s raw in the middle”.

SCORE: 1/10

21 Responses to “Bifana Especial at Cafe Max, Brixton”

  1. Chris Pople April 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Oh God that pork…. just thinking about it makes me feel sick. But I guess I should just consider myself lucky it didn’t make me very very actually sick.

  2. Ed Jones April 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Your fatal mistake was going to Cafe Max in the first place. Although station road is on the up. Friday Food hotdogs from Fleisch Mob are as good as Big Apple’s. French & Grace’s über wrap just around the corner would get at least a 7/10 in my books. There is definitely something missing flavourwise, but worth a visit for sure.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches April 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      You’re right, Ed! I was just looking for something different in Brixton, ya know? Something a bit left field and what with all the Portugese places…do you know of any good ones?

  3. Robert April 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Ick… I love rare lamb and beef but rare pork can give you the worms… Double ick. I’m just surprised you gave it one point.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches April 10, 2012 at 5:25 am #

      Yes! Well, the roll was nice…

    • gouchout September 9, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      Doesn’t happen any more – can eat raw pork now apparently

      • londonreviewofsandwiches September 9, 2013 at 8:36 am #

        Ha ha yes well eating a piece of rare Iberico is a little different to this 😉

  4. Isabel April 10, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Oh I’m sad to hear you had such a horrible bifana! I’m also surprised there is ham and cheese in one?!

    • londonreviewofsandwiches April 10, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      I think the ham and cheese was supposed to elevate it to ‘especial’ status…

      • Isabel April 10, 2012 at 9:06 am #

        Haha well I think they should have omitted the name…I’ll be curious to see if there’s a good bifana in London. Also you should try the other Portuguese well known sandwich Prego no Pao (Steak and Garlic sandwich…)

      • londonreviewofsandwiches April 10, 2012 at 9:12 am #

        Yes I did originally go there for a prego but they had run out which is how I ended up with the bifana! Apparently there are some good places in Brixton – just have to find them!

  5. hollowlegs April 10, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    My only knowledge of Portugese sandwiches is pretty similar to the above; flattened pork cutlet, marinated in garlic and barbecued / grilled and stuffed in a crusty roll. This one sounds similar, but far shabbier than the roadside ones I’ve tried. Shame. (Perhaps they used Iberico pork in Pople’s sandwich? 😉 )

    • londonreviewofsandwiches April 10, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Yes, I think they knew he was coming and they got some Iberico in just for him – then he wouldn’t even eat it!!

  6. Liz April 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Try the Stockwell Road, there are a few nice Portuguese cafes around there. The best sandwich in Brixton is to be found at Brazas, just past Hootananny. You’ll have to go at the weekend though, I don’t think they open for lunch on weekdays …

  7. Tony April 12, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Yuk! What a fabulous tale. Now I know I shouldn’t push or encourage the artist to work and entertain even more than she already does but sometimes the important things are overlooked in the quest for the ultimate and exotic. The simple pleasures of a Club Sandwich and a Croque Monsieur are so very simple and living in the great city of London one can expect to find this everyday food on every street corner?

  8. Su-Lin May 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Not sure why but we have a few Portuguese places in Acton too and one has a bifana that’s ace!

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