Apparently, it’s British Sandwich Week (13-22 May 2021), so I’ve decided to finally share a post that I’ve been meaning to write for about a year, on where to find the best sandwiches in London.
Those who know me know that I love a good sarnie, but that I’m a real snob about them. What I mean is, for me, cold, boxed-up sandwiches from Pret, supermarket meal deals, service stations and the like can get in the bin (unpopular opinion, I know). I only want PROPER sandwiches in my life – sandwiches made with love, care and excellent-quality, homemade bread that are stuffed to the brim with unique, exciting, delicious fillings. So, this is my list of all the places in London where you can find exactly that.
8 of the best sandwiches in London*
*(in my opinion)
Where is it? Dalston
What should I get? Whatever they have.
The undisputed champion for me when it comes to London’s best sandwich, I’m yet to have a bad sandwich at the Dusty Knuckle Bakery. In fact, I’m yet to have anything other than a grin-inducingly excellent sandwich here. What makes them so great is the winning combination of their perfect, fluffy focaccia and ever-changing but always exciting and generous fillings. There’s usually one meat and one veggie option (sometimes more), and previous fillings have included such delights as curried roasted cauliflower with pickled onions and chillis (pictured), charred Tenderstem broccoli with Romesco and feta cheese, lamb shoulder with chopped salad and chermoula, Porchetta with greens and salsa verde, Thai-style peanut chicken… I could go on but surely you’re already sold?
2. Dom’s Subs
Where is it? Hackney and City of London (/Aldgate)
What should I get? The Grapow is king (but I also thoroughly enjoyed their Chori Papi special, pictured here)
A must-try for sarnie lovers, especially those with a big appetite, Dom’s Subs stuff their large, house-baked semolina sub rolls with multiple layers of delicious ingredients. I love the Grapow (pictured), filled with Thai-spiced ground chicken, lettuce, kewpie mayo, pickled cucumbers and carrots, Thai basil, coriander, pickled red chillies, crispy shallots and toasted rice powder. It’s a super fresh-tasting sandwich with a nice balance of salty, sweet, acidic and (mildly) spicy. Plus, it hits all the right texture notes too, thanks to the soft ground chicken and crunchy pickled veg.
If you love spice, look out for the Chori Papi special, with chorizo verde, jalapeño hot sauce, jalapeños, Tajin fries and coriander. It’s great.
Where is it? Crouch Hill
What should I get? The Ham, Egg & Chips (but go with at least one other person so you can try the others too!)
Max’s Sandwich Shop became famous not just for its epic sandwiches but for Max himself, who can be summed up as a slightly eccentric, loud, all-round legendary geezer. He’s made sandwiches dinner-worthy, opening in the evenings and stuffing fluffy focaccia bread with delicious fillings which include all the textures and flavours you want. The ham, egg n’ chips is a classic which combines soft, salty ham hock, an oozy egg and crispy matchstick fries. Enjoy alongside a beer and whatever nawty sides he’s got on the menu that week.
4. The Good Egg
Where is it? Stoke Newington
What should I get? The whipped feta & aubergine jam bagel AND the aubergine sabih
There are two excellent sandwiches at the Good Egg that I’d like to tell you about…
The first is their filled, Montreal-style bagels, currently available at the Stoke Newington branch. The bagels themselves are perfect, with a golden, sesame-seeds studded top, a nice lightness and good chew. There are several filling options, which I imagine are all delicious (I’ve got my eye on the pastrami-spiced smoked salmon with labneh & capers for next time), but the best I’ve tried so far is the whipped feta and aubergine with dukkah, pictured above. It combines a generous slathering of salty, creamy whipped feta with slightly sweet, soft aubergine, fragrant dukkah (an aromatic, nutty spice and seed mix) and spring onions.
The second, available at both Stoke Newington and Soho, is their aubergine sabih. A real flavour sensation, it comprises a fluffy pitta, stuffed with tahini, sweet-zingy amba, punchy, herby zhoug, salad, fudgy eggs and fried aubergine slices.
Where is it? Netil Market, London Fields
What should I get? The falafel pitta (it’s the only thing on the menu, unless you count the pitta chips)
Pockets is a stall in Netil Market, London Fields, which makes the fluffiest, pillowiest pitta pockets around and stuffs them to the brim with a whole host of delicious things. These include hot fried falafels, hummus, tahini, parsley, amba sauce, pickled cabbage and onions and salad, plus a giant roasted/pickled-ish chilli and the pièce de resistance? A crispy, salty, battered slice of potato, which somehow takes this already excellent falafel pitta to a whole new level. We’re talking 11/10, at least. It ticks all the boxes in flavours and textures that you could ever desire, plus it’s GIANT so you certainly get your money’s worth. I count myself very lucky to live so close to this absolute gem.
Where is it? Coal Drop’s Yard (Kings Cross)
What should I get? Merguez S+dwich
If, like me, you love a double carb situation, then you’ll love this. By far the best sandwich on Sons + Daughter’s menu (in my opinion), this merguez number combines a seriously flavourful, spicy, lamb merguez sausage with zingy pink pickled onions, a spattering of fresh, herby gremolata, a lick of creamy, slightly spiced mayo and a topping of FRENCH FRIES (yes, French fries!) stuffed into a baguette. It’s hot and delicious, and an ideal sandwich option if you’re feeling particularly hungry, or hungover (or both, obviously).
Where is it? St John’s Wood
What should I get? Smoked salmon & cream cheese bagel
Since I’m including bagels in this list, Panzer’s Deli has got to get a mention. They’re the best in the biz. This famous North London deli is a must-visit for any foodie – the whole shop is neatly lined with rows upon rows of exciting ingredients and fresh, colourful produce, but you can’t visit without getting one of their bagels. Beautifully golden, well-seasoned and with great chew, Panzer’s bagels themselves are perfection, but they’re even better when slathered with their luxuriously thick cream cheese (I opt for the one with chopped spring onions in it for extra je ne sais quoi) and layered with their high quality smoked salmon.
Where is it? Finsbury Park
What should I get? Burrata, wild garlic pesto & Tenderstem broccoli focaccia (or something similar – it will change with the season)
A recent addition to my list, Common Ground café caught my eye when it posted a tempting-looking picture of its burrata, wild garlic pesto & Tenderstem broccoli focaccia on Instagram. Although the focaccia itself isn’t quite as soft and fluffy as Dusty Knuckle’s or Max’s (above), it’s deliciously salty and the filling inside is really well thought out – the creamy burrata pairs perfectly with the slightly acidic, lightly pickled radicchio, earthy grilled broccoli and super savoury wild garlic pesto (which isn’t overwhelmingly garlickly, as so many wild garlic pestos are). I’m looking forward to going back and trying more of the sandwiches and brunch dishes in the cute little garden.