Monty’s Deli

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Maltby Street food market is another super cool food destination to put on our growing list of super cool food destinations. Just over the river in some random railway arches in Bermondsey (how do these things start?), is a collection of fabulously curated food stalls. Perfect for a Saturday morning mooch we hopped on the bus and did just that. And came away half a stone heavier.

We’d actually come to try a legendary Reuben special sandwich at Monty’s Deli after seeing them on a re-run of a Tom Kerridge feature on Saturday Kitchen. Our mouths were watering just watching the sandwiches on TV, so we absolutely had to try the real thing and we weren’t disappointed.

The reuben is skyscraper sandwich is packed with melt in your mouth salt beef and smoked pastrami, home-made sauerkraut, sauce, sharp mustard, Leerdammer cheese and topped with super light toasted bread. Then it’s crammed into a sandwich toaster for what seems like an age when you’re hungry. The place was as rammed as the contents of the sandwiches too but the staff were coping well though, keeping the queue moving and the fast turnaround of tables meant there were seats on the communal benches.

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When the Reuben specials arrived I was actually a bit scared. It was huge but the toasting had compressed the sandwich so it didn’t look too overbearing. But it was still more than enough and it looked sooo good. Tender pink meat crammed tightly, oozing molten cheese, crisp sharp pickles and a can of time travelling cream soda (well it took me back). To die for. Literally.

There’s no airs and graces here. It’s basic, comforting food of the highest quality. Jewish soul food in fact. Monty’s speaks of passion and late nights, of trying new things, getting it right and wrong, burning the candle at both ends and an unswerving belief in what they are doing. You can even wash your hands in their sink if you want.

Post sandwich we waddled around the market feeling comfortingly full, nursing our salt beef babies. It’s a good job too as the rest of the food on offer looked just as good: tartiflette, fresh bread from St John, smoked Oysters, home cured salmon, delightful French pastries, tapas, local gin…the list goes on.

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Buttylicious

The Quality Chop House

There is actually a sandwich shop in Leeds called Buttylicious and I take no credit for this ridiculously good play on words. But I did think that the word summed up the lunchtime sandwich experience I had this week when I visited The Quality Chop House food shop in lovely Exmouth Market for lunch this week.

I’ve eaten at The Quality Chop House restaurant before and as a dining experience it was an elegantly simple and high quality experience, so I was expecting great things from their humble sarnie.

In keeping with the trend to open food establishments off the back of a restaurant, the Quality Chop House now has its own superb butchers — the meat looks beautiful, dark with proper ageing and etched with marbling. Next to the butchers there is a well curated deli, serving all manner of lovely things: homemade pies, artisan cheese, home smoked mackerel, wine…anyway you get the picture. In summary: it’s my kind of place.

On the day I visited, I was drawn in by the offer of hot, slow roasted beef sandwiches, freshly carved for £5 a pop. That may seem like a lot, but a fiver seems to be the average price for a street food / takeaway lunch of quality in Clerkenwell where I’m based and usually for this price it’s well worth the modest investment. You can easily spend that in a Pret and it’s a dull and unfulfilling experience.

I wasn’t disappointed — the sandwich was divine. the beef combined beautifully with peppery watercress, dijon mustard and meat jus to create an outstanding sandwich. Monumental even. It was served rare as you like too and it just melted in the mouth.

I couldn’t resist a hot sausage roll (sublime, packed with well seasoned meat) and a handmade lamb family pie for dinner later, which was also wonderful, packed with tender meat and topped with a delightfully crisp crust. I can see myself on first name terms with everyone in this shop before too long!

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