In search of London's best sandwich since sliced bread
Roast lamb and Easter go hand in hand like birthday parties and presents. For many they are inseparable. But tracking down a worthy lamb sandwich has proved far harder than you would have thought. In fact it has taken over 14 months. With a few honourable exceptions, most sandwich shops stick to sure-fire sellers like ham, beef and chicken as their meaty mainstays. Only occasionally does lamb make an appearance at places like the Larder, but otherwise it is overlooked like an in-form rugby player by Martin Johnson.
So when we heard that the best butcher in London was serving lamb baguettes at lunchtimes we yelped like a newfangled restaurant-reviewing site and sped over to Knightsbridge to see what the fuss is about.
We were greeted by a distinguished queue of well dressed hedge fund gurus, high end shoppers and wealthy locals which wriggled through the butcher’s shop and only heightened the sense of anticipation. As we patiently waited our turn it was lucky they had some protective glass over the counter to stop us devouring their drool-worthy meat. Fine ribs of Black Angus beef from the South West of Ireland seemed to be whispering provocative comments such as “Go on. Eat me now”.
It was hard not to request one of each when asked whether we’d like lamb, beef or ham. But given the singularity of our quest the decision was made easier. Unusually they use lamb breast in their sandwiches, which is very fatty but sensationally tasty. Lesley, the Manager, explained that the sandwich was stuffed with new season lamb from Shetland and that it had been butchered on site from a whole carcass. This is quite unusual, as most butchers will buy breasts in rather than going to the effort of personally boning them on site. In a former life Lesley used to get a penny a pound from the Turkish kebab industry boning lamb breasts with three cuts.
The baguette was smeared with mint sauce, garnished with a whisker of lettuce and crammed into a heat proof bag before being devoured with zealous fervour. It was like eating Peter Andre enveloped in bread, but in a good way - greasy and full of flava.
And if that hasn’t got your lips moist with anticipation, have a look at their website to gasp in awe at their range of meaty videos they have recently created in conjunction with Racine, Brian Jones, Dino Joannides and Daniel Young which demonstrate how to prepare and cook their meat.
O' Shea Butchers, 11 Montpelier St., Knightsbridge, London,SW7 1EX
(P.S. O'Shea's butchers in Knightsbridge is not to be confused with Jack O'Shea's butchers in Selfridges which is a very separate enterprise, who definitely do not sell sandwiches.)