In search of London's best sandwich since sliced bread
"I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down", said November. The winds howled like banshees. Lightning bolts slammed into trees and bridges buckled. Thor got out of bed on the wrong side and unleashed a fury of storms and gale force winds on the UK.
So with only a modest amount of punning this month, we decided to pay a visit to Gail's on the Northcote Road in Clapham Junction. They are the expert bakers who supply the likes of Waitrose and the restaurant trade. They've got stores in Notting Hill, Hampstead, Queen's Park and St. John's Wood which sell a glorious array of cakes, loaves, and most importantly, sandwiches.
Gail's was heavily pregnant with prams, yummy mummies and women on the brink of having children. They've even got a sign asking for prams to be kept clear of the walkways! The place is so ripe you can almost smell the estrogen in the air. But this does mean that you are never more than 3 feet from an amazing looking cake.
We sampled as many of their sandwiches as we could. A Balkan ciabatta sandwich heaving with sun dried tomatoes, creamy goats' cheese, basil and aubergine was a tangy delight. It's one of the most unusual sandwiches we've tried. The bread was like a boarding school house master, firm and chewy on the outside and light in the middle. But, what makes it a Balkan speciality is up for debate
Our favourite was a beautiful Pain de Mie loaf with a mottled tiger fur coat which was filled with a fluffy combination of camembert and omelette with a slice or two of cucumber. It’s very rare for eggy sandwiches to be any good. Typically they are frustratingly dry and un-seasoned. But somehow they’ve managed to keep the omelette alive rather than let it wither away into an embarrassing family secret. It’s one of the most attractive sandwiches we’ve clamped our eyes on.
They bake their own focaccia on site and fill it with salami and salad. Unfortunately we missed out on this sandwich, which we imagine would have been pretty special. Particularly if the smell of the bread is anything to go by.
Whilst the sandwiches at Gail’s were excellent, in a feminine, no mayonnaise or meat sort of way, it was the crazy woman opposite us that stole the show. She decided to tell us all about her ME, her kitchen extension, her sloping roof that may or may not need blinds, her lack of friends, her architect, the square footage of her house and countless other bits of nonsense. You can imagine how distracting this was when trying to concentrate on some serious sandwich analysis! It was as if she had been sent by the sandwich reviewer’s union as some sort of prank.
So if you want an attractive, interesting and feminine sandwich made with excellent bread then Gail’s will blow you away. Similarly if you have a penchant for pregnant women, prams and crazy women it ticks a lot of boxes too.
For more information about Gail's including a list of locations visit their site here: GAIL's