In search of London’s best sandwich since sliced bread
With the icy winds still penetrating our city, London’s collective core body temperature has nose-dived into the spectrum normally occupied by cryogenically frozen oligarchs who are awaiting their reincarnation. The thought of another near frosty sandwich selected from the chiller cabinet is enough to bring us out in cold sweats. Frosty sandwiches simply won’t do. We need something hot that will stick to our ribs like suet pudding.
Luckily help is at hand. In between St. Ockwell and Vauxhall, in area we aren’t sure whether to refer to as Vauxwell or Stockshall, is the Canton Arms which is serving up-market toasties on its bar menu. Given that it has recently been re-opened under the guidance of the team that has worked at The Anchor and Hope, The Fox, The Eagle and Great Queen Street our hopes were freakishly high.
The pub has only just opened, so was understandably quiet on a bleak Tuesday lunchtime. We greedily ordered the two most decadent toasties on the snack menu, assuming that the Montgomery Cheddar version would be excellent as well.
Their foie gras toastie should be in the Tate Modern. Slices of poached ballotine of foie gras oozed from the Brevilled white bread in such decadent fashion that you have to pinch yourself and have another slurp of ale. It’s the sort of thing you can imagine Borris Johnson having as a snack in his student digs in Oxford. The haggis toastie is just as good. It’s dense, substantial and deeply savoury. Simple. But perfect.
Having wolfed down both sandwiches without taking a breath, the chef and owner, Trish Hilferty (who is a leading authority on pub food), popped out for a chat. She explained her irritation at the term ‘gastro-pub’ and the craze du jour for Scotch eggs. Her mission is simply to provide Stockwell with a decent boozer for locals where they can eat some proper pub food including toasties and Scotch pies at the bar and more substantial fodder at a table.
We almost considered staying for dinner when we found out they had a pigeon and foie gras toastie planned for the evening service. The Canton Arms should help to put Stockwell on the map for all the right reasons.
The Canton Arms, Stockwell, London SW8 1XP