Comedian and food fiend Jessica Fostekew puts her mouth where others fear to tread. A celebration of eating: from posh nosh to kebab shops to stuff that’s been on the floor. This week, Jess tries to find the best thing between sliced bread since sliced bread.
It’s British Sandwich Week so I thought I’d tell you about a few of the sandwiches I’ve put away over the last fortnight. I’ve been no stranger to variety and excitement, if these are words you can rationally use when talking about a sandwich. OK, so sandwiches aren’t something I usually get giddy about but I’ve really gone to town. I’ve literally gone to town, as well as less far afield, to see about getting some interesting sandwiches.
First up, there’s a glorious bakery in Brockley, south-east London. It’s surrounded by trendy delis full of very expensive artisanal fruitarian-friendly bullshit. This place seems instead to be aimed at foodie builders. It’s near the train station; it’s always got a queue and it’s really hard to pass by if I know that I’m going that way. Often if I’m driving other acts to a gig, I’ll have them meet me there instead of at other stations precisely so that I will be ‘going that way’.
23 Brockley Cross, London, SE4 2AB
Tel: 0208 694 2243
Open: Mon–Sat 7am – 11am and 12pm – 7pm
Accessible: Yes, but only just. There’s a small step to get in and then the waiting/ ordering area is tiny.
I had my favourite (pictured above). A roll full of warm roasted veggies and grilled halloumi. For £3 you get two big handfuls’ worth of crumbling, fresh white crusty bap stuffed to the edges with juicy veg. Inky peppers, aubergine and red onion. Then that sumptuous salty rubber that is halloumi just meats it all up. Scrum, diddly um. If you’ve seen me around with crumbs on my tits and fangs of roasted balsamic juice down my chin, now you’ll finally understand why.
Next up, a self-prepared budget brunch. I’d done two pathetically easy yoga videos on the bounce and I’d dug up four dandelion roots, which is harder than it sounds. So I was keen for protein. I wanted something hot too. But in the interest of this looming week of celebration, I stuffed the available items I had between two bits of bread. Seedy Burgen bread makes gorgeous sturdy toast. I spread some chilly butter over it without it tearing. I heated the remnants of a tin of beans. I stole a slice of Edam from my boyfriend’s ‘work lunch things’ section of the fridge. I combined it all and before putting the upper lid of toast on to make it a sandwich I splattered the whole thing with Worcestershire.
It wasn’t a complicated or fascinating meal but it was mighty satisfying. It gave you the same sort of feeling as when you were a kid, being picked up and hugged by your silliest and most massive uncle.
Beyond walking distance from my house on another occasion I went for something more intriguing. In Farringdon I passed a shop called Meze Meze that I’d often ogled but never graced.
95 Turnmill Street, London, EC1M 5QP
Tel: 0207 336 6737
Open: Mon–Fri 6.30am – 4.30pm
Accessible: Yes, as a takeaway, but it’s cramped.
In my teens my cousin Dan lived in France for a year and I visited him. One day we went for a big walk and as a reward got the most incredible giant baguette for lunch. It was filled with a hot omelette, full of peppers and tomatoes and ham, cheese AND chips. Oh, we were happy pigs. It was so good. I was hoping for similar.
It was almost as disappointing as last week’s election result and that made me cry for two days. A plain, eggy slab, stuffed with slices of over-boiled potatoes sat there tasting of the damp, cold inside of a cushion. The bread roll was OK and the rocket and tomatoes were fine. Texture-wise, the cold, eggy spuds were unsettling but that wasn’t its main downfall. It tasted less interesting than one of the new BBC4 documentaries where it’s just a 40 -minute shot of a still lake. What a waste of room in my tummy.
For my final sandwich from the last few weeks I hoofed a classic. On my way home from an early (so dinnerless) gig I picked up a Club sandwich from Benugo in Waterloo station. Cor, it was lovely. It was about £3.50 so it had better have been. It was packed with smoky bacon, fresh iron-y leaves and juicy tomatoes. They all sat on a really generous mound of lush lemony chicken mayonnaise. It was the bread that made it special, though. Soft and smooth but packed with seeds and with a delicious brown crusty edge all covered in poppy seeds. Sumptuous and scrumptious and worth every penny. Just.
Waterloo Station, London – Mezzanine (outside Waterloo East)
Tel: 0207 928 0786
Open: Mon–Fri 6.30am – 11pm, Sat 7.30am – 10.30pm and Sun 8.30am – 9.30pm
Accessible: Yes, fully. There are no toilets but there are accessible toilets in the station.
Happy Sandwich Week Winners.1917 Views
Jessica Fostekew is a writer, comedian, actor, law degree-waster, sister, daughter and beard-fan with an unabashed food infatuation.