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Croque Monsieur at Le Peche Mignon, Islington

14 Mar

LOCATION: 6 Ronalds Road, Islington, N5 1XH [map].

PRICE: £5.50.

BREAD: White sourdough.

FILLING: Ham and cheese, bechamel on top.

PROS: The state of croques in the world is dire. In London it’s bad but in Paris? Even worse. Seriously. It’s depressing. This presented me with a dilemma then, about the criteria against which to judge this sandwich. Should it be judged relative to all croques in London that I know about? Or all other croques in the world, including theoretical not in actual existence yet croques? I decided upon the latter. The opinions expressed on this blog are based upon nothing if not whim, fancy and my highly variable mood, as ever.

This was one of the best croques I’ve ever had in London actually, which isn’t saying much (check out this abomination) but then it’s very surprising considering what happened when I arrived at Le Peche Mignon. I’d gone halfway up the ginger line to eat this bastard, and so when I spotted a pile of pre-made croques upon entering the cafe well, you can imagine, my little heart sank into my biker boots. I wasn’t leaving without trying it though, considering the effort of sitting on the tube for a whole 20 minutes. ‘What actually happens to cheese if you melt it twice?’ we pondered. Turns out, not a lot apart from melting, again. With reflection, I think the inside had only been melted the once, and it was just the sauce on top that had been pre-applied. Okay so it was a little crusty in places, but the sandwich in general was soft, the bread really decent, the ham perfectly good and the side salad of a little lettuce with a mustard heavy dressing, exactly as it bloody well should be. Few people seem to adequately understand that last element; there should be just a few leaves of soft, inoffensively flavoured lettuce (i.e. no sodding rocket) and a bitey dressing. No more, no less. Very well judged, Le Peche.

CONS: Okay so there’s no ignoring the fact that this was pre-made. Why won’t someone open a croque cafe? And no I don’t mean one where they start tinkering about with weird additions and combinations; I mean one that just does perfect croques, with maybe a madame and one option for the crazies. WHY?! Someone should just get the hell on with that.

So this isn’t a croque I’d ever travel to, say, North London for, but it’s certainly one I’d eat again if I lived nearby, particularly if I was hungover and had a pot of mustard in my bag which, incidentally, I often do.

SCORE: 6.5/10 (extra half point for getting the side leafage right)

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Croque Monsieur at The Delaunay, Aldwych

3 May

LOCATION: The Delaunay, 55 Aldwych, WC2B 4BB [map]

PRICE: £5.75

BREAD: Sliced white

FILLING: Ham and Gruyère cheese

PROS: Well, melted cheese is never a bad thing, although when I say melted…

CONS: …what I actually mean is, melted at some point, quite a long time before arriving at my table. Congealed. Bendy. This was, without a shadow, the worst croque monsieur I have ever eaten. So, instead of delivering a croque monsieur, The Delaunay decided to deliver a game. The game was called: ‘Find The Croque Monsieur Under a Big Pile of Salad Ha Ha Ha Sucker!’  What the actual piss take is a mountain of (under-dressed) baby gem doing on top of my sandwich? Oh and the sandwich is TINY, by the way. I put the two halves together and they did not amount to a full sized slice of white bread, even with the crusts removed. On the inside was a really generous amount of spectacularly poor quality ham; you know, the shiny kind. The Gruyère was a very poor example – apologetic, pathetic. The whole thing was blistering hot on the outside and stone cold in the middle. The bread was so greasy it reminded me of a caff I used to visit in Oxford where they deep fried everything, including the sausages and bacon. In short, I didn’t rate this sandwich. The Delaunay is a lovely room however. They can have one point for that and one more for the waitress, who was charming and brought me a Martini.

SCORE: 2/10