Archive | August, 2012

Reuben at Monty’s Deli, Maltby Street

31 Aug

LOCATION: Monty’s Deli, Maltby Street Market, Bermondsey [map].

PRICE: £6

BREAD: Light rye.

FILLING: Pastrami, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, yellow mustard, sauerkraut.

PROS: As  my sandwich is built I stand, semi-catatonic, mesmerised; pastrami is sliced from wobbly hunks and piled into an ever-growing tower of protein. The Shard, overlooking the market, begins to look small in comparison. I’m offered a piece of the meat to taste as I wait, and….oh – it’s a little dry and chewy. Once pressed in the toaster however, which struggles to clamp its jaws around the beast, the fat melts and everything softens. Some pockets of fat remain intact (though I wish for more), begging to dissolve on the tongue and settle on the hips. The crust of predominantly black pepper and coriander seeds is really pokey; a revelation compared to the crap we usually get served in the UK. Russian dressing and sauerkraut are carefully applied in just the right amounts, too; their flavour and moisture is welcome and yet they do nothing more than big up the meat.

CONS: The pastrami could learn a few tricks from the salt beef, which is gloriously moist and fatty. As I wait for my reuben to toast I am distracted by the request of another customer, ‘one special, please’. One WHAT, sorry? What is this special of which you speak and why am I not having it? I am drawn to a frankly miniscule sign on the counter top. Turns out I could have been eating this reuben with an extra topping of salt beef. I try a piece. It is INCREDIBLE. This is lauded as the best salt beef in London by a man who really knows his salt beef. So, when I think about this sandwich compared to other reubens available in London it could easily have scored 9/10, but I’m knocking a point off for their failure to properly advertise their special.

SCORE: 8/10 

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Banh Mi Special at Caphe House, Bermondsey

10 Aug

LOCATION: Caphe House, 114 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TX [map]

PRICE: £5

BREAD: White baguette

FILLING: Roast pork, ‘salty pork pate’, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber slices, red chilli, coriander, WEIRD ASS GRAVY.

PROS: Double pork.

CONS: WEIRD ASS GRAVY. Weird ass chicken tasting gravy all over my banh mi special. Sounds like a euphemism that, doesn’t it? Well, it’s meant as such. Use your imagination.

In all my banh mi eating experience I have never encountered this type of sauce. Chilli sauce? Yes. Mayonnaise? Yes. Sweet, shiny (yes, shiny) goop that tastes vaguely of chicken but mostly of something I can’t identify but which I definitely don’t like? No. Every time I take a bite it stretches out into alarming quivering strings which dangle briefly before flinging themselves suicidally against my chin.

The texture meets its match in the taste which is unique in its power to be so absent and yet so totally overwhelming. I try scraping it out with no success; the stuff has oozed into every available space. Becoming increasingly enraged at its presence I eat half the sandwich, pack the other half up in a huff and head towards home with plans to modify it once I get there. I am determined to salvage some enjoyment from this experience.

I extract as much WEIRD ASS GRAVY as possible and slap in some mayo, thinking that I might be able to at least taste the rest of the filling and judge whether or not it could actually be good sans WAG. Sadly not. The pate is barely noticeable. The pickled carrot and daikon need a lot more pickling. There’s a good amount of chilli but it isn’t hot which is baffling. Sigh.

I’m sorry Caphe House, but your banh mi isn’t up to scratch and that’s coming from someone who really tried to like it. Lose the WAG and while you’re at it lose the sweet yet ultimately pointless side salad of iceberg, carrot, sweet chilli sauce and um, prawn crackers. Mmmm dusty crackers on my salad…

SCORE: 2/10 

Burger at RAW and Elliot’s Burger Pop Up, Borough Market

2 Aug

LOCATION: RAW and Elliot’s burger and wine pop up, Borough Market [map]

PRICE: £9.50 for a burger with chips.

BREAD: Linseeded burger bun

FILLING: Beef burger,caramelised onions, Comté cheese, dill butter

PROS: People, especially food people, specifically London food people, have very fixed ideas about what does and does not make a good burger. It must have slappy processed cheese, it must have a light brioche bun etc etc bore bore bore off snooze snore sleepy time. I am of the opinion that there is room in the world for many different styles of burger and yet I was a little worried about trying this one. Comte? Really? Dill butter? Really? Am I allowed to like this? Really?

Well here’s the shocker: this was one of the most delicious burgers I’ve eaten in yonks. Really. The beef is from the Ginger Pig; it’s 40 day aged rib eye cap, which is nice and fatty and therefore tastes of awesome. It’s cooked properly medium rare too. Bollocks to this health and safety rubbish that some places are genuinely, actually taking on board and ruining everyone’s fun in the process. The Comté is, naturally, delicious. It’s salty and really works staggeringly well in a burger. The real stroke of genius however, is the dill butter. ‘Acidulated dill butter’ I am told. So it’s got lemon juice in it. No it doesn’t I’ve just been told it has dill pickling liquor, which they make themselves. Acidulated is a great word however. I rank it up there with other great words like ‘rotisserie’ and ‘blimp’. The bun is brushed with this butter before toasting. Like, really heavily brushed. I could see the butter line on the bun, almost a centimetre deep, like a BBQ smoke ring on meat. It’s a juice bomb. I had trouble containing the juiciness, actually, which reminds me to give special mention to the bun which did not fall apart despite being up against so much tasty. Pickles come on the side. Obviously they went straight into my burger. They’re quick pickled (like, 2 hours), perfectly crisp slices of skinless cucumber, rather than the trad gherkin. They rocked. Basically, I loved everything about this burger. Well, almost…

CONS: The pickles were a touch too salty. I don’t get the point of the linseeds on the bun.

SCORE: 8/10

So I ate this burger at the RAW and Elliot’s pop up which is running until 12th August but the burger is available at Elliot’s permanent site just across the road. The pop up however is awesome. Go, drink some natural wine with your burger. Pop in for a glass and then leave at 11pm having sunk a further 3 bottles like I did. Ahem.