Please note, Mandira has now closed. Time Out Food editors, December 2018.
It was a sad day when Malletti, Soho’s number-one purveyor of pizza by the slice, shut its doors for the last time. But this tiny space has not lost its connection with gooey, molten dairy products. It’s now the home of Melt Room, which concentrates its attention on toasted cheese sandwiches.
There are nine on the list, from the simplest ‘classic’ version made with three different cheeses (£4.50) to fancier versions incorporating meat including pastrami and slow-roasted lamb. Of the two we tried, the classic was superior: good-quality cheese gave a good tangy taste. One with provolone and portobello mushroom (£5) was let down by low-voltage cheese. (If you’re making toasted cheese sandwiches, you need great cheese.) In both cases, excellent bread from the Bread Factory was more than up to the job of getting brown, buttery, and blissfully crisp.
There’s more on offer than sandwiches. Breakfasts come in various cooked guises: the Benedict Melt (York ham, scrambled egg, cheddar and hollandaise) will have your arteries begging for mercy. Playing a lighter tune are the fine yoghurts from Ann Forshaw’s Alston Dairy in Lancashire.
Many people get takeaways, but a toasted cheese sandwich needs to be eaten as soon as it leaves the griddle. Which you can do at Melt Room, as long as you don’t mind really loud music that seems totally out of place in a relaxed, modest lunch-room. Turn the volume down, Melt Room – no-one likes to feel driven out by the din.