It’s British Sandwich Week! I’m responding to a call for sandwich posts by Browners over at Around Britain with a Paunch – he’ll be rounding up all posts over at Londonist (I’ll link to it when it’s up). The only rule was this: it has to be a British sandwich from an independent shop. I set about in search of one in South Kensington, where I work.
I’ll be honest with you – unless it’s hot (toasted or with a hot filling), a sandwich rarely gets me excited; I usually grab one when I’ve lots of work and am short of time. The triangle packs of premade sandwiches in the fridges always make me shudder and I eat them out of desperation on those days (and yes, they make me utterly miserable). However, the sandwiches I had today at Raison d’Être were very craveworthy and I suppose they should be for that price! It’s a little cafe famed for their sandwiches set in the heart of the French enclave in South Kensington; today at lunch time, it was full of students from the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle just down the road. Run a search for the best sandwich shop in the area and the name of this cafe always comes up.
I orderd a roast beef sandwich, that which I felt was the most British of their offerings (the rest are quite French or Italian or….of unknown origin), from the sandwich men at the counter. Well, it’s not purely British – the full list of filling ingredients is rare roast beef, rucola, and bruschetta (actually, they meant the tomato topping normally found on bruschetta). Though nothing could be so quintessentially English as roast beef, this rare beef was so pink it would make any tender stomached Englishman gag; it was more like a carpaccio than roast beef. That said, it was delicious. The combination of ingredients made for a fresh tasting, yet substantial, sandwich that made for good eating and I wouldn’t mind having another one right now! All the ingredients were of excellent quality, the baguette soft yet crusty and the sandwich was generously filled.
Mirna, my partner in sandwich-eating crime, chose a toasted foccacia sandwich with Napoli salami, mozzarella, rucola and pesto. While the sandwich didn’t look very big, it did turn out to be very filling, with a generous amount of fresh mozzarella. I would give this sandwich almost two thumbs up if not for the prodigious amount of garlic in the pesto – I was chewing a lot of gum after lunch!
These are definitely some of the best sandwiches in the area but they aren’t cheap (sandwich menu here). My sandwich was £5.75 (eat in) and Mirna’s was £6.75; it’s cheaper though if you takeaway. Not for everyday eating but definitely for a little lunchtime treat now and then.
18 Bute Street
London SW7 3EX