Thursday, 4 April 2019

Get that bread

Writing a blog (or certainly this blog) is about 45 per cent trying to avoid the most obvious cliches, 45 per cent repeating yourself and ten per cent actually writing original, witty content. I appreciate the latter figure could be seen to be a little generous.

One of my least favourite cliches - and also one I probably repeat the most - is the classic; 'has been on  my radar for a while'. While it is often invariably true - there will always be an, ever-expanding, list of places I want to visit at any given moment - it is also more hackneyed than a taxi rank at kicking out time. Still better than some of my metaphors, though. 

In the case of this post, however, it seems entirely appropriate. In fact not only had it been on my list for a while, it was also one of the only places the Ewing had expressed any interest in going to; mostly after seeing the estimable Max Halley himself appearing on Sunday Brunch, making a fish finger sandwich stuffed with Scampi Fries.

I'm hardly sure I need even say this but, being a Saturday afternoon (and certainly after our cocktail crawl the night before) we were a little worse for wear, although a brisk walk up the Stroud Green Road had helped somewhat. The Ewing plumped for a hair of the dog, although she did show some restraint by picking a Kernel Table Beer at an eminently sensible 3.1 per cent.

I ordered a cuppa - yours for just a quid - and was rewarded with this practically perfect example, hot and strong and in a very appropriate mug. I also ordered a Arnold Palmer, the magnificently named 50/50mix of ice tea and cloudy lemonade that was said to be a favourite of the flamboyant golfer. It's one of my favourites, too, and unexpectedly exciting to see it on a menu this side of the pond.

Tom's Amazing Wings - soy and vinegar chicken wings fried in Smash, guindilla yogurt, lime pickled onions and spring onions - lived up to their name. The potato flake coating was revelatory, as was the addition of pickled chillies with the yogurt. Double onions provided tang and crunch.

Brown paper packages, tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things. Well, a slightly less exciting elastic band, if I'm being pedantic, but still an exciting parcel of squishy carbohydrates and promise.

I chose the Et tu, Brute? Murdering the Caesar', their riff on the classic salad featuring confit guinea fowl, pickled grape and tarragon salsa, baby gem, parsley, garlic croutons and anchovy mayo. 

Let's just take a moment to look at it, a hulking beast comprising of warm, pillowy foccacia, stuffed to the gunwales with all sorts of exciting things that spill out as you unwrap the waxed paper bundle.

This was everything I love between two pillowy slices of excellent bread. Soft sticky strands of guinea fowl, sweet and sour salsa and salty anchovy, all offset with the crunch of bitter leaves. I would go as far to say it rivalled my Mum's Boxing Day turkey sarnie; the highest praise indeed. 

If there was one, minor, quibble was that the tiny croutons made the whole thing pretty rich, a situation that probably wasn't helped by my delicate constitution. I could also have done with a metric tonne more of the glorious mayo, but I'm just greedy.

The Ewing chose their signature sarnie, the Ham, Egg 'n' Chips filled with slow-cooked shredded ham hocks, piccalilli, a fried egg, shoestring fries and malt vinegar mayo. If the anchovy mayo was great, this could have been even better, mixing two of my all-time favourite condiments that gave the creamy spread an extra tangy punch.

As you can see, the Ewing was utterly in her element, giddy on carbs and the fact she had finally made the pilgrimage to try what is, possibly, London's most famous (certainly one of the best) sandwich.  I was glad that we could tick another one off the list, and squeeze in another cliche to boot. 

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