In the era of the posh takeaway, status subs, chunky ciabattas and whopping focaccia are the new kings. In fact, our city is awash with tasty sarnies right now. Here are some of the best for your discerning tastebuds.
And if you're in the market for a bit of imaginary globe-trotting, do check out The Big Site's list of the best sandwiches in the whole entire world.
1. Cold Cuts from Dom's Subs
What’s on it? Bresaola, gabagool, salami, mortadella, provolone, vinegar peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise on a semolina sub roll.
Your eyes are not deceiving you: This Cold Cuts sub (£10) from Dom's Subs deploys a quartet of meat – from ruby red bresaola and nut-studded mortadella to Tony Soprano-approved gabagool and peppery salami. The veg accessories add much-needed crunch and acidity, while the chewy semolina roll ensures no ingredient goes rogue. It’s the kind of sub that requires some mouth stretches before you dive in. London is very much a sandwich city, and Dom’s is now our leader.
2. Dusty Knuckle's Veggie Option
What’s on it? Pumpkin seed tahini, coriander and lime chutney - salad of mixed soft herbs and pickled red onions.
At some point in Lockdown 1 (don’t ask us when, time is blurry) Time Out’s art director posted a picture of a takeaway sandwich on the office Slack that caused uproar. It was giant. It was crusty. It looked so, so delicious. And it was from the Dusty Knuckle bakery of ginormous crusty potato sourdough fame. The socially conscious spot (in Dalston) is doing four big sarnie babies for you to collect right now. The best is a veggie number (£7.90). Pre-order from the bakehouse and introduce it to its new mommy (your big belly). Abbot St, E8 3DP.
3. Cacio e Pepe from Wine & Rind
What’s on it? Mozzarella, pecorino, jalapeños, black truffle and cracked black pepper.
At Tottenham’s Wine & Rind, the toastie press has, like, really found itself. Sure, it’s spent the past 20 years focusing on turning Cathedral City, beans and a couple of slices of Warburtons into mouth-burning snacks for drunk students. But that’s the past. The trusty bread-smusher has taken some time to really work on itself, done a couple of retreats, and it now knows who it’s meant to be. And that is a kitchen utensil ready to seal gorgonzola and jalapeños between perfect sourdough or to turn black truffle and Mont d’Or molten. Uber Eats yourself the Cacio e Pepe toastie (£7) – mozzarella, pecorino, and cracked black– and you won’t be disappointed. Holcombe Market, N17 9AA.
4. The Egg Salad from Sons and Daughters
What’s on it? Eggs, mayo, truffle crisps, salad cress.
The vibe at Sons and Daughters is cool, posh versions of flavours your nan would have been well into in 1985. Ooh, a nice chicken and mayo bloomer? Here it’s done with soy-cured parmesan, pickled cucumber and wasabi cress. Prawn salad? With jalapeño vinaigrette, some pickled ginger and some prawn crackers, please. A lovely bit of Egg Salad (£8.50)? Let's slip in some miso mayo and some truffle crisps. (That’s the best one.) It’s so huge it’s basically your breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one, baby. Unit 119a Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ.
5. Ham, Egg and Chips from Max's Sandwich Shop
What’s on it? Slow-cooked ham hocks, piccalilli, a fried egg, shoestring fries and malt vinegar mayo.
The butties that Max Halley churns out in his Crouch Hill caff bear no relation to any sandwich you’ve had anywhere else ever before. This is a man who spikes his mayo with vinegar, anchovies, gravy or black beans to suit the sandwich it’s moistening, and that’s just the start. That bit of cheese you got between two slabs of MDF from Tesco the other day? A different species to the heavenly specimens he births. (He even does a sandwich with samosas in it.) Go worship his runny take on Ham, Egg and Chips (£9.95). 19 Crouch Hill, N4 4AP.
6. Lady Macbeth from Deeney's
What's on it: Hot haggis, cheddar, caramelised onion, mustard and rocket.
Sure, Deeney’s might look like your average trendy east London joint. It’s got white walls, dangling houseplants and ’70s-style chairs. But this Leyton spot (which started as a Scottish street food stall on Broadway Market) has a not-very-well-kept secret – a serious skill for making grilled cheese sandwiches. The best way to eat these crispy, tangy ooooooooozy geezers is filled with robust cheddar, tangy mustard, onion, rocket and your choice of meat or vegan haggis. The haggis in the vegan one – Lady Macbeth (£6.50) – is a tasty nut-roast kind of thing and it’s arguably the better of the two. Don’t @ us, meatheads. 360 High Rd Leyton, E10 6QE.
7. The Aubergine Parmigiana from Larry's
What's on it? Aubergine, tomatoes, oregano, chilli, basil, mozzarella and parmesan.
Since Peckham diner Larry’s opened earlier this year, it’s earned a rep for being a rather serious purveyor of some of the city’s top comfort food. It’s no surprise that calling Aubergine Parmigiana (£10.50) ‘a sandwich’ is something of an understatement. Peel open the chonk’s two paving-slab-sized pillows of focaccia and you’ll find a world of pure veggie pleasure. Pre-book it for delivery or collection and make a big old mess of yourself eating it. Unit 5, 12-16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL.
8. Fish Sando from Milk
What's on it? Togarashio panko fried Red Snapper sandwich with dashi Japanese mayo, fukujinzuke pickle and housemade tonkastu sauce.
Balham Aussie joint Milk is the kind of London café that has white-washed brick walls, serves buckwheat pancakes (plated up like they’re on ‘MasterChef’) and gets shout-outs from Goop. But don’t let that put you off. This place does a fish-finger sarnie like you’ve never eaten in your life. Or should we say a ‘panko-breadcrumbed red snapper’ sarnie. The Fish Sando (£10.20) is served with punchy fukujinzuke pickle, dashi mayo and housemade tonkatsu sauce, snuggled up in a soft, fluffy bun, and delivered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG.
9. The Chicken Kiev from St Elmo's
What's on it? Golden fried chicken breast filled with garlic butter with crushed peas, spinach, cheese sauce and burnt onion cream.
‘Ooh, have you heard of this little-known spot called the Breakfast Club?’ is something no one has said since 2015. But bear with us. This summer, London’s most over-subscribed hash-brown-server created something new. St Elmo’s – a sarnie bar menu. Its highlight? The Chicken Kiev, which unsurprisingly features a chicken kiev plonked into toasted focaccia with peas, melty cheesy sauce and burnt onion cream. It’s retro, massive and a hefty £10.50 (but it is almost a burger). It will render your body exhausted and motionless for 36 hours post-eating, but we’ve all got a lot of time to kill at the moment. Multiple venues.
10. Salt Beef Brisket from Tongue & Brisket
What's on it? Salt beef, latka and a fried egg.
You know how last year streamlined all of our choices? There’s no ‘should I go out tonight?’ or ‘should I quit my job and travel the world?’ nowadays. And you know how that’s a bad thing? Doesn’t it also feel… a little bit good? Peaceful, even. Getting a sandwich at Tongue & Brisket captures that latter #mood. You have literally four options : chicken schnitzel, roast beef, tongue or salt beef brisket (our favourite: perfectly salted meat with tangy pickled cucumber) on rye. That’s it. No scrolling endlessly through Deliveroo or scanning two sides of paper filled with options. Just go, spend £5 and have a nice time. Multiple venues.