LOCATION: Quo Vadis, 26 Dean Street, London, W1D 3LL [map]
BREAD: Sourdough (I think), toasted
FILLING: Smoked eel and creamed horseradish
PROS: Two little squares of charred sourdough sported just the right amount of bitter char. A peek inside revealed a generous slice of rich, oily, delicately smoked eel, smothered with freshly grated, properly nostril-searing creamed horseradish. Is there a more perfect flavour combination than that pungent horseradish and luscious, creamy-fleshed eel? Not when you’re eating this sandwich there isn’t. The overall richness was countered admirably by a dainty wee pile of pink, lightly picked onions and it took every ounce of my strength not to shove them in the sandwich too, pick the whole thing up and make a right old mess. Quo Vadis is a proper restaurant though, and it’s such a glorious and smart little ‘wich that I didn’t mind eating it with a knife and fork, thus saving my companions the embarrassment of dining with a woman sporting a fishy face mask. The sandwich is small but to be honest, due to the richness I wouldn’t want it any bigger (lies, lies).
CONS: The splendour of the sandwich was offset by a couple of mistakes with the meal. It’s perhaps a little unfair of me to mention it considering this is a review of a sandwich and not the restaurant in general but it left a slightly bad taste in the mouth and so I’m knocking a point off.
LOCATION: The Diner, Soho (18 Ganton Street London, W1F 7BU). Map.
PRICE: £6.40? Around the £6 mark anyway (I’ve lost the receipt and it isn’t on their web menu)
BREAD: A soft white sub.
FILLING: Battered, deep fried prawns with a mayo based sauce and shredded lettuce.
PROS: Um. Ummmmmm. Right, so the sauce was okay – piquant yet sweet mayo, with little crunchy bits of onion and ummm, ooh, the sub roll was nice and soft.
CONS: Crikey. Okay so, the prawns. This is a shrimp po boy right, so that means the shrimp/prawns are the most important ingredient. If the prawns at The Diner did not come from a freezer bag I would be very surprised indeed; they tasted funky, almost ‘high’ with unpleasant fishiness and were coated in the kind of batter one finds surrounding a sweet and sour chicken ball. Po boy prawns should be coated in a cornmeal batter, surely? These tasted of grease and meals at TGI Fridays circa 1995. The sub was nice and soft, as I said, but really, I was clutching at straws.
You may, quite rightly, be wondering what I was thinking ordering a sandwich from a chain restaurant in soho. The reason I did is because I’d heard good things about a limited edition burger they’re soon to launch and the po boy – honestly – did look nice when they posted a picture on Twitter. Also, where else does one get a po boy in London? I was so excited to try this famous Louisiana creation but it seems I may have to make my own version at home, pending my lottery win which will take me on an eating tour of America.
My po’ boy recipe here.