No sandwich review today, just my new favourite picture in the world ever, sent to me by my flat mate.
When you think about it, a sandwich is a big group hug.
Happy Christmas sandwich lovers!
(An illustration by temyongsky).
LOCATION: Rock Steady Eddie’s, 2A Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, SE5 9PR [map]
PRICE: About £1.60 I think. Well cheap, anyway.
BREAD: White roll.
FILLING: A fried egg, bacon, marg and brown sauce (the latter added by me).
PROS: Never is the pull of the greasy spoon more keenly felt than when one suffers from the excesses of the night before. That’s pretty much every day then, H, I hear you say? Well, yes okay then you cheeky sod, I am fond of the odd tipple. I am also fond of the caff in the way that I am fond of a proper old school boozer. From the latter I want names carved into glasses, plenty of dodgy taxidermy and every kind of snack made by the people who make Scampi Fries (with the exception of cheesy melting moments which are RANK). From the former I want formica topped tables, booth style seating and glass dispensers which leave your hungover brain pondering whether you’re pouring sugar or salt in your cup of charlie.
We order two bacon and egg rolls with a certain amount of trepidation. The first thing I notice is that the bun looks surprisingly good and bloody hell, IS IT?! Really fresh, perfect crust on top, a very decent chew which is just SO perfect for a breakfast bap; it will contain any amount of eggy oozage and brown sauceage. The amount of bacon is generous; 3 rashers for such a basic bap? I’m impressed. There’s also a bit of crispness to the fat which, in my experience, puts this towards the higher end of the greasy spoon quality scale where flabby bacon is the norm. The egg, although cooked in one of those funny ring things and flipped for neatness and ease of consumption, miraculously retains some ooze. This could be luck but I’m not complaining.
CONS: There is marg. Such a shame. Butter, people! BUTTER! Even cheapo shitty butter is better than marg. Even a poke in the eye is better than marg. Also there is the egg issue; I think I got lucky with the ooze to be honest, as the example across the table didn’t turn out so well. Didn’t stop me saying ‘HA HA HA, UNLUCKY!’ though, before gleefully smearing my roll around in the golden eggy drips on my plate. The egg could use work, let’s face it. Also, the whole place does appear to be covered in a thick layer of erm, character. I mean, I know it’s a greasy spoon but I was a little reticent about squeezing the brown sauce from the bottle, for fear of what might come with it. It amused us greatly, then, that a sign on the wall addressed a problem with the unhygienic practices of the clientele; I’ve included a picture for your amusement below. The fact that this escalated to such problematic levels that they felt the need to write a sign is baffling/hilarious/gobsmacking/awesome. I know not where to start with the grammar/punctuation/slashes through the letter O like zeros. Rock Steady Eddie’s, I very much enjoyed your, as you put it, “cafe”.
A guest post for you today, from Donald E. He suffered so you don’t have to.
LOCATION: Garfunkel’s, North Terminal, Gatwick Airport, RH6 0PJ [map].
BREAD: Sesame seeded white burger bun.
FILLING: Grilled beef burger, mayonnaise, dill pickle, lettuce, tomato, red onion.
PROS: I really wanted a burger, actually I take that back, I really wanted a McDonald’s cheese burger, something quick and cheap to tide me over while I waited for my flight. I was, unfortunately on the wrong side of security at Gatwick airport and as such my options were limited. I’m still having flashbacks to the terrible mint yoghurt addition that I was once served in a Jamie’s Italian burger, so the Jamie’s whatever that I walked past was firmly off the cards.
I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten at Garfunkel’s, I imagine that I must have done, so prevalent are they in the departure terminals across the land, I must surely have darkened their doors early one morning in a sleep deprived hungover fug and demanded scrambled eggs, beer and coffee. I’m sure you can imagine why I might not remember.
But anyway, Garfunkel’s was there, I could see a picture of a burger, what could possibly go wrong?
Fuck, sorry I’ve got slightly ahead of myself and completely forgotten to list the pros:
1) They had chairs.
2) They had tables.
3) There were windows through which I could see out of the restaurant.
CONS: Firstly, to drink I had a very expensive 250 cl plastic bottle of Magner’s cider, which once I’d finished was followed by the ignominy of my desperately gesticulating for someone, anyone to furnish me with another, the service staff having evidently decided to add insult to the injuriously minute serving measure by ignoring my pleading for a second.
Secondly, the burger, which, I ought add came with some chunky chips of the kind that make you long for some kind of proficiency exam for chip frying, and the usual coterie of sauces (red, off white, and yellowish). The burger itself came in a somewhat oversized bap, which had been finely aged to a state of stale friability. A triumvirate of little gem lettuce leaf, red onion and tomato slice sat atop the over cooked, cheese bedecked patty. To their credit they had melted the cheese rather well, though I suspect that was merely on account of the length of time the patty had been heated. Of the patty, what is to be said? It brought forth a torrent of memories, mostly unpleasant, of school dinner burgers, the frozen, then oven cooked, sorry brown hockey pucks of protein that were dished up as treats post sporting endeavour. The dining hall nod to cool Americana cuisine that, like your headmaster playing rock guitar in assembly, ended up being worse than cringe worthy. Yes it tasted exactly like that, I’m sure all those whose education was in the UK can relate.
Sorry to ramble, but the whole experience was terribly disheartening, I could almost feel the corporate cost cutting chipping mercilessly away at my enjoyment, each snip and tuck taking one more bite of tastiness from the dish, until all that remained was a simulacrum of a burger, something that from a distance might have resembled that which I understood as a burger, but upon closer inspection proved itself mere fraud.
I ate less than half.
SCORE: 1.5/10 (There was at least booze)
I found myself around Chancery Lane recently, standing within spitting distance of an EAT, a Pret, a Boots and Marks & Sparks, all at the same time. No surprises there, huh, Londoners! They all offer Christmas sandwiches, so it was time to see which one makes the best. Yes I know I’ve left out the supermarkets and coffee shops but in case you haven’t noticed, this blog is a product of my whim and fancy at any given moment and anyway, I had 15 minutes to get to a meeting; 15 minutes is a 4 sandwich window.
LOCATIONS: Pret a Manger, Boots, Marks & Spencer, EAT – all on High Holborn [map]
Pret: £3. 50
M & S: £3.25
BREADS: All malted wheatgrain bread.
Pret: Turkey, pork stuffing, cranberry sauce, crispy onions, spinach, mayo.
Boots: Turkey, pork sage and onion stuffing, bacon, cranberry sauce, spinach, mayo.
M & S: Turkey, pork and chestnut stuffing, smoked bacon, spiced cranberry chutney, butter, mayo.
EAT: Turkey, pork sage and onion stuffing, smoked ham, cranberry sauce, reduced fat mayo, mixed leaves.
Pret: 5p per sandwich to Hope for the Homeless.
Boots: Fuck all.
M & S: 5p per sandwich to Shelter.
EAT: 25p per sandwich to homeless charities.
PROS & CONS:
Pret: Oh, hello mayo! What a surprise it is to find a lot of mayo in a Pret sandwich. HEAVY SARCASM. The stuffing is quite nice and ‘poncy with sage’ although it overpowers the turkey. To be fair though, there’s not much flavour in a turkey to be overpowered. There’s loads of spinach too, but I rather enjoy its festive colour. Thankfully, they’ve been parsimonious with the cranberry sauce, which is one of the main evils lurking within the Christmas sandwich. In short, it’s not bad. Relatively speaking. BRACE…
Boots: This is, visually, a shocker. We don’t even want to eat it but you know…all in the name of research. The smell upon release from protective environment is one funky kiff of artificial smoke flavour and, sure enough, the label reveals this isn’t properly smoked bacon but a shadow of the proper thing infused with ‘smoke flavour’. Seriously Boots, you’re already up against it with the fact that the bacon is cold, dammit! Have some respect for a) the sandwich b) the pork products and c) YOUR CUSTOMERS.
All we can taste is the shitty fake smoke flavour of course. Oh and the sweetness; it is overwhelmingly sweet with nasty cheap cranberry sauce. To top it off, they give a big fat zero of the profits to charity, making them the meanest of the bunch. Stick to selling drugs and plasters, Boots the Chemist.
M & S: This is one deeeeeeep fill; so stuffed and meaty and varied in shades of pink it is described as looking like ‘a war wound’. It is rammed. This makes it a very Christmassy tasting sandwich, the most so far, although it is incredibly dense and in the end, pretty damn hard work. There’s no denying the value for money though and respect on the butter AND mayo – it is Christmas after all!
EAT: I immediately notice the stuffing, which has been made in a sort of giant block and then sliced. Kudos for the reasoning behind this which I hope is in order to maintain the structural integrity of the sandwich by ensuring that the stuffing lies flat. I like the sentiment but it’s visually a bit wrong in a sort of Bernard Matthews way.
The turkey is actually discernable here, which tells you that there is a lot of it. A lot. It’s dry. The leaves are totally misjudged, like the kind one finds in a bag of mixed salad from the supermarket; sort of spiky yet sodden and wilted at the same time. Spinach works better. Also, reduced fat mayo? EXPLAIN YOURSELF.
M & S: 3.5/10
EAT: 2.5/10 (an extra point for a proper 25p donation to charity)
M & S wins mainly on generosity of filling and festive taste. Pret and EAT are, well, Pret and EAT. Boots bombs spectacularly, having managed to make a really grim sandwich, and not donate any of the proceeds to charity, as is tradition. At the end of the day though, I’d advise just giving some money to charity, making your own sandwich at home and avoiding the whole sorry lot.
LOCATION: IKEA, Valley Park, Croydon, CR0 4UZ [map].
BREAD: White hot dog bun.
FILLING: Hot dog sausage, ketchup, sweet mustard.
PROS: These hot dogs cost 60p. You can’t buy them in the normal cafe bit of IKEA, only from a counter at the end. They represent salvation at the close of what is, generally, a traumatic experience. I once cried in IKEA.
There’s a bit of snap to the sausage; not a lot, but it’s there. It also boasts an amusing shape; particularly the pinched bit at the end which I couldn’t actually eat because well…use your imagination. The dog is plucked from its water bath and into your flat pack pumelled hands within seconds; then it’s time for you to navigate towards the Maccy D’s style DIY sauce area where you do some kick ass silly self-saucing. I’m still working on writing my name.
CONS: Okay so it’s definitely 100% mystery meat. It has that unmistakable honk. I’m down with that but you might not be. Think about it though…it costs 60p. It hits a spot, albeit the spot is small. I’d like onions but hey…did I mention that it costs 60p? IKEA is stressful and the meatballs are overrated so here’s what you need to do: when you get to the checkout, get someone to grab you a beer from the shop, down it (two if it’s a Saturday), breeze through the payment trauma slightly inebriated, then hoof down a hotdog or like, five. It doesn’t matter, they only cost 60p.