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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.

Egg Mayo & Bacon on Wholemeal Baguette from Absolutely Starving, Tooley Street

11 May

snipped sarnie 2

This is a guest post from a guy called Jerry. I don’t know him or anything. We’ve never met. He’s done a review on here before though and then he sent me this and it made me laugh so I’m posting it.

LOCATION: Absolutely Starving, 51 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QN [map]

PRICE: £3.75 (I think – certainly wasn’t over four quid).

BREAD: Wholemeal baguette, lightly buttered.

FILLING: Egg mayonnaise, crispy bacon (proper slices, not that diced shit), rocket and cucumber.

PROS: Absolutely Starving (or ‘A-starv’, as twats probably say) is a good 15 minutes on the 343 bus from my place of employment, but I try to make the trip at least once a week. I discovered it by chance one day when I was releasing a live otter back into the Thames and needed somewhere to shelter from the rain. That story’s not true, but it doesn’t matter because their food is so completely delicious.

It’s an enormous place, built into the warehouses, populated by a battalion of not unattractive young continentals serving hot and cold meals, pre-filled and made to order sandwiches  along with all the artisanal, gluten-free biscuits/cakes/sauces etc. that you could shake a buffalo mozzarella cheese stick at. Despite clearly appealing to an upmarket crowd, they don’t take the piss with prices – they do a pre-filled sausage, red onion and mustard baguette which costs only £2.75 and is the absolute testes.

Last week I went back for my favourite – both their wholemeal and white breads are excellent – crisp, quite sweet to the taste and with plenty of give on the first penetrative bite. Straight in with a very generous base of egg mayonnaise; not the bland orangey mush that you often find in deli trays, but rich, creamy, peppery and yet still replete with the eggy texture and taste. God, I’ve got a saliva on just writing this.

In with the bacon; cold, but still soft, retaining its meaty tang. Lastly, my own particular salad favourites – a rocket base with a cucumber overlay. Two or three slices of cucumber should be enough as the watery taste CAN dominate at the expense of the bacon and if you get it wrong the only sensible thing to do is throw it in the fucking river.

CONS: Only the fact that the place is full of braying, cone-headed besuited consulting types from PWC up the road, who in ideal world would be only allowed in two at a time.

SCORE: 9.5/10

Pork Roll Bánh Mì at Aobaba, Elephant and Castle

3 Jan

Banh Mi at Aobaba

LOCATION: Aobaba,128-132 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JL [map]

PRICE: £3.50? £4? I really need to get better at this.

BREAD: Baguette (I think rice flour).

FILLING: Pork roll, pate, pickled carrot and daikon, coriander, chilli, cucumber, mayonnaise. SUPPOSEDLY.

PROS: I struggle here, I really do. Um…it was a rice flour baguette as far as I could tell, which may please the authenticity sticklers amongst you.

CONS: This is easily the worst bánh mì I’ve ever eaten. None of the baguettes are advertised on the menu as containing pork roll, which is probably how I ended up ordering it. It’s probably called something else, I don’t know. What I can say, is that I don’t like the stuff; it often comes with a rind on the outside which is impossible to eat and sure enough, there it is – an orange rim so disgusting and chewy it was like the arse end of a stripper’s thong after a fresh fake tan. The pate was present only as a skid mark.

Pickled carrot and daikon however – definitely present. A great whacking tangle of the stuff, with all the flavour and charm of a half-unravelled rubber band ball. I mined down to find cucumber underneath. Fine. But what of the chilli? The coriander? Both essential. I sigh, take a swig of my Saigon beer and make my way back across the vast, soulless, plastic bamboo-skirted floor to the counter where…I have an argument with the server. He insists he put chilli and coriander in my banh mi. I tell him that he didn’t. He tells me he did. I show him the sandwich and give him an evil. He reluctantly slaps some chilli and coriander on top. I take the sandwich and sit down. The sandwich looks better for some colour, but tastes of nothing. The pork roll, apart from knicker rind, is mostly flabby fat. I’m a huge fan of fat – the size of my arse is testament to the fact – but even I don’t want JUST fat. Well, not unless it’s lardo on toast. Or the finest milky Iberico fat. Or the underneath of a pork scratching. Look, you get the idea. Quality fat is full of flavour. I expect my thighs would be delicious.

I know that this place is popular with students in the area (it is practically, if not actually, underneath student halls) and you know what, if I were one of them I’d probably take my hangover along for a noodle soup, squirted with obscene amounts of Sriracha. I’d be happy with the price and the convenience of it. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see young ‘uns scoffing in their pyjamas having wobbled downstairs after a night on the sauce. I certainly can’t think of a reason why anyone else would eat there.

SCORE: 1/10

 

 

Guest Post: Ham, Swiss and Mustard at Nelson’s, Borough

30 May

A guest post from @jerrylatter

LOCATION: Nelson’s, 168 Borough High Street, SE1 1LB [map]

PRICE: £4.50

BREAD: White French baguette. Butter may have been used, but any sensory evidence of its existence was lost in the mustard.

FILLING: Swiss Cheese (Emmental I suspect), ham, mushroom and mustard (English)

PROS: Much like the albums of early solo career Sting and the gymnastic skills of Beth Tweddle you know that you’re guaranteed quality when you walk into Nelson’s. They certainly do enough to put you off; a huge glass door that weighs as much as a caravan, and decor that was last updated when the Bay City Rollers were in full swing, but, amongst the cognoscenti, Nelson’s is one of the best Italian delis in the Southwark area, with a huge landscape of meat and cheese based combos and an excellent range of melts, run by a selection of efficient and polite second generation Italian chaps who I have absolutely no doubt are in the possession of the phone number of someone who would be prepared to break legs for money.

This particular combo is one of their specialities, and a personal favourite – what you remember about it aren’t the components that fill you up (the bread, ham and cheese), it’s the unexpected additions. Indeed it’s the crunch of the mushroom, that you notice first off – a truly effective counterpoint to the tenderness of the cheese. There’s ham in there too, but the mustard kicks in right in the centre of your nose just as you realise, and your mouth is still salivating for the next watery squelch of the mushroom. He lightly toasted the sandwich today, which I didn’t ask them too, but it worked – the warm bread melting to the taste and letting the components do their work. Magic.

The combo is also available on brown baps but you’d be fucking nuts to go that way.

CONS: Only the price. I’m not comfortable busting the £4 threshold south of the river and £4.50 is just too much, despite their excellent service. They lose points solely for this. They also need a new cash register as the one they have whirrs like an industrial drill, but I’m not going to mark them down for that.

SCORE: 8/10

Bacon and Egg Roll at Rock Steady Eddie’s, Camberwell

6 Dec

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”.

SCORE: 5/10

Hot Dog at IKEA, Croydon

2 Dec

https://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8198/8234232837_c612e62230.jpg

LOCATION: IKEA, Valley Park, Croydon, CR0 4UZ [map].

PRICE: 60p.

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.

SCORE: 4/10

Ham, Cheese & Salt & Vinegar Crisps at Dish and Spoon, Nunhead

2 Nov

LOCATION: The Dish and The Spoon, 61 Cheltenham Road, Nunhead, SE15 3AF [map]

PRICE: £4.50

BREAD: Soft white.

FILLING: Hafod Welsh Cheddar, ham, salt and vinegar crisps, butter, tomato chutney.

PROS: So in the morning I whinge on Twitter that I have an unholy craving for a ham, cheese and crisp sandwich. The next thing I know, Dish & Spoon tweet that they will deliver one, to my office. How. Cool. Is. That? Top marks for coolness and spontaneity.

The sandwich arrives 20 minutes later and is packing plenty of thick cut proper ham that’s really meaning business, some frankly outstanding Hafod cheddar that has those crunchy little crystals which I think are collections of the amino acid tyrosine, and a sign of good maturation? Cheese expertise welcome at this point. It’s very good anyway; all those big fat wadges of it. Tomato chutney arrived on the side, just in case I wanted it, and I did.

Salt and vinegar crisps are my sandwich crisp of choice, closely followed by cheese and onion. What made me very, VERY happy about this sandiwch however, other than the fact it was delivered into my hands, was that they had left the ‘press down’ for me to do myself; you know, when you press the top slice of bread down and all the crisps crunch together.  Surely half the pleasure of eating a crisp sandwich.

CONS: The bread was a little too thick for my taste, but no big deal. Also, I would’ve added mustard – wholegrain probably, plus a little spread of mayo, rather than the chutney.

SCORE: 8/10 plus MAD PROPS for bringing it to my office.