Oh, Christmas sandwiches. They’re the ultimate sign that the festive season has begun. A ray of lunchtime sunshine in your mundane day. A talking point among colleagues, as you meticulously compare cranberry sauces by the water cooler.
For 2019, we’ve swerved the supermarkets in favour of five of London’s best chain sandwich shops and bakeries: Eat, Pret, Greggs, Ole & Steen and Paul. We devoured a whopping 18 Christmas sarnie variants, including all the gluten-free, vegan and veggie options, and ranked our top 10, so you won’t be left crying ‘Bah humbug!’ over soggy dough this year.
All prices are for take-out sandwiches.
RECOMMENDED: For more festive fun read our guide to Christmas in London
London’s top 10 Christmas sandwiches
An absolute corker. Last year’s champion has won it again. The bread alone is glorious, crammed with sage, onion and juicy cranberries. Then there’s the filling. One for the festive puritans, it has succulent slices of turkey that look like they’ve been nabbed straight off the Christmas table, alongside the smokiest, streaky bacon, spinach and warming hums of horseradish. It’s quality.
This green dazzler, which nearly nabbed the crown, is like a sweet-smelling allotment in a baguette. Humble brussels sprouts reach new heights, reclining regally among their subjects: a bed of crunchy carrot, chestnuts and warming, wintery pickled red cabbage. The sauces are pure genius: zesty orange jam and hummus. It’s thoughtful, nuanced, and just brilliant.
Like a bunch of Scandinavian mavericks, Pret has pinned its hopes and dreams on this open sandwich, laden with turkey, herby pork stuffing and mayo. Risky? Sure. But it works, helped by cracking orange cranberry sauce and divine seeded, gluten-free bread.
This is sheer gall from Pret, and one to upset the Christmas lunch traditionalists. But it’s too delicious to leave out. With a generous portion of saliva-inducing maine lobster coated in zingy mayo, it’s rogue – and you’re certain to turn office-bound heads as you swagger back armed with a fistful of crustaceans (and, probably, a Rolex).
With enough seeds on this baguette to fill a bird feeder, this is bread at its best: fresh, textured and full of flavour. The filling is pretty savvy, too, with mellow toasted walnuts, soft roast pumpkin, kale, and parsley pesto. It's just a pity that the cranberry sauce is a tad overpowering.
With soft butternut squash instead of turkey, this sarnie has meatiness without the suffering. The festive pesto is the star: a blend of nuts and seeds galore with whiffs of parsley and rosemary. There are a few crunchy, caramelised pecans adding some lovely texture, too.
Here, Pret has caved to the Christmas conventions, delivering this turkey-laden baguette with all the good stuff: cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo. It could do with some bacon, yes, but it’s a solid safe bet.
Thin slices of brie prop up the hero of this sandwich: the lip-smacking nut stuffing. It’s a reliable one for the veggies. Still, there is room for improvement. The bread, specked with onion seeds, is too thick and as dry as a salt lick.
At least a quid cheaper than all the other sampled sarnies, this is a good choice if you’re on a budget. Not outstanding by any means, but it’s nailed the Yuletide basics: turkey, sweet-cure bacon, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayo.
On the hunt for a pre-Christmas Sunday roast?
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