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Those who know me well will be privy to my obsession. I heart sandwiches. Not just a bit, not just a regular appreciation – I am really and truly smitten. Heck, I even eat them for breakfast. Most days. I have been meaning to start this little series for a good six months now – if nothing else, it gives me a way to justify my abnormal consumption levels.
For a sarnie geek like me, London glistens with endless opportunities to find the perfect arrangement of things-in-bread and I have wasted no time in seeking them out since moving here. I have munched my way all over town with the insatiability of a carb addicted pacman and I ain’t about to stop yet. Well, I almost did once, when I thought I had a wheat intolerance – I mean, can you imagine? Turns out it was just a mild overdose.
So, if there’s anyone who knows the building blocks of a decent sanger, it’s me and I consider it my duty to disseminate this information to the masses. Here’s how we’re gonna roll. Each sandwich will be rated on a number of characteristics which must all work in beautiful harmony if the whole is to become more than the sum of its parts.
Bread: SO important. There are hundreds of varieties available, some gorgeous artisan specimens among them. We no longer have to settle for ‘plastic’ white sliced ‘bread’, tragically soggy from sweating in a plastic packet for three days.
Flavour: Pretty self-explanatory this one.
Quantity: Not always about the deep-fill, sometimes less is more.
Textures: The key to a perfect sarnie – s’all in the contrasts y’all.
Spreads/Dressings/Sauces: Or not.
Assembly: Prepared with the appropriate dose of love? Layering is also important (no, really).
Value for Money: Extra credit crunch with that madam?
Service: To be fair, I’m not going to be there long but it still counts.
Overall Score: I shall employ the tried and tested, ‘out of ten’ system.
SATC #1: Luca’s Bakery – Serrano Ham, Manchego and Quince Jelly on Ciabatta.
Where: Luca’s Bakery. They are opening in East Dulwich soon but at present operate from a trestle table outside Moxon’s fishmongers, said table groaning under the weight of luscious baked treats.
When: 12th November, lunchtime, hopped off the 185 from Lewisham especially to see them.
Bread: A fine slab of gorgeous, airy, floury ciabatta. I get flour all over my face. They score extra marks for generously drizzling with olive oil.
Flavour: Serrano ham – gorgeously melty flavourful fat, slightly sharp Manchego and then sweet quince jelly. A hint of grassy olive oil in the background. Pretty damn good. I’ve not eaten quince jelly in a sandwich before but I will certainly be doing so in the future. There are also leaves, which are pleasantly peppery.
Quality: Really rather good.
Quantity: I could take a little more ham, but only in a greedy way, the cheese is not overdone and I think the amount of jelly is spot on.
Textures: Good. Soft ham, softish to crumblyish cheese, squishy jelly and then a good bite from the leaves.
Spreads/Dressings/Sauces: The olive oil works a treat. I suspect it is Greek.
Assembly: Well stacked. They have prepared the sandwich as one long ciabatta and then cut into suitable wedges. I like this. I visualise them making it.
Let’s take a look inside…
Value for Money: I didn’t note the exact price (I promise to do so in future) but I think it was about £3. I think this is excellent value for such a beautifully flavoured, sizeable and quality sandwich.
Service: With a smile. They are such lovely friendly ladies. I tell them I can’t wait for the bakery to open and purchase a macaroon. I ask for pistachio which turns out to be coconut. I don’t mind.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
(A ‘very good’ sandwich, not a life changer but an extra half point for introducing me to the idea of using the quince jelly. I am a strict marker – or a ‘hawk’ as teachers say).