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Ham and Piccalilli on Wholemeal at The Delicatessen, Clapham Common

18 Jun

Ham and piccalilli at The Delicatessen
LOCATION: The Delicatessen, 5 The Pavement, London, Clapham SW4 0HY [map]

PRICE: £5, I think.

BREAD: Floury brown roll.

FILLING: Ham, piccalilli, watercress.

PROS: This is from The Delicatessen, which in case you’re not some food-obsessed, in-the-know, restaurant-slave, wobbly-thighed tit like me and everyone I hang around with, is the deli opened by a restaurant called The Dairy. It’s a really brilliant restaurant that makes us all go weak at the knees before we start drooling and making ga ga goo goo goo noises. The Delicatessen is just next door, and they have the seating areas joined up, so you can eat this sandwich while watching someone put away a tasting menu. Also, there’s the street life, and, as much as I will never, ever be Clapham’s biggest fan (although I feel I am slowly moving past the BUILD A WALL AROUND IT stage), it has to be said that the street life is excellent. Many an hour can be idled away slagging off and shamelessly categorising the people that walk past. I hadn’t previously noticed either, just how many people in Clapham have had bad plastic surgery. Staggering.

Anyway. The sandwich was very good and it includes their piccalilli which is really well balanced and crucially, has great crunch. We all know that the secret to a top notch piccalilli is keeping those vegetables crisp. Nothing worse than realising you’ve got a limp batch. Don’t quote me on that. The ham is of staggeringly good quality, obviously, and they leave all the lovely creamy fatty bits on which I used to hate when I was a child but now I’m a fully fledged fat munching adult who eats good quality meat I say, bring it on. The roll was good – kudos for making it wholemeal, nice bit of chew, not too thick but…

CONS:…VERY floury – as floury as an Irish blaa. I like blaas, but goddamn they’re floury. I think if I were to have this sandwich again, I’d want a bit more moisture in there, you know? The piccalilli doesn’t have quite enough juice to lube the sandwich. Also, how is one supposed to pick up a floury bap then go back to Instagramming one’s sandwich like a social media enslaved twat if one has digits covered in flour? Life in Clapham is HARD.

SCORE: 7/10. I mean there’s only so many points I can give to a ham bap, even if I do worship the ground they walk on.

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)