Sandwichist - Muffaletta from The Brunswick House Café in Vauxhall

By Browners Last edited 102 months ago
Sandwichist - Muffaletta from The Brunswick House Café in Vauxhall

In search of London’s best sandwich since sliced bread

As England’s footballers attempt to reclaim some respect after such a pathetic stumble out of the World Cup, we’ve been exploring the delights of The Brunswick House Café which is nestled within an architectural salvage company called Lassco.

Vauxhall has a reputation as a bit of a waste land for food. Which must mean that our spies all bring their lunch to work or are happy munching on meal deals from Tesco. They’d be much better off heading down to Lassco for lunch amongst fountains, reconditioned railway signs and park benches made from horse shoes. It’s certainly a brilliant location for practicing the art of camouflage.

We heard rumours that they serve bone marrow sandwiches from an anonymous source on the Londonist grape vine and made an extra special visit. Unfortunately, we were informed that they only serve these bone marrow sandwiches from Tuesday onwards. Which is a Godsend for those of you who like puns because we marrowly missed out.

Jackson, the chef, took pity on us and recommended his Muffaletta instead. It’s a fascinating Italian-American sandwich that was apparently conceived in New Orleans in 1906 - making it worthy of being exhibited in the Smithsonian. Its name derives from the Italian for “little muffin” although the ‘little’ must be ironic, because this is a notoriously substantial sandwich.

It was invented by Signor Lupo Salvatore who was the owner of the Central Grocery as a response to his Sicilian customers’ eating habits. They used to eat slices of cheese, salami, ham, bread and olive pickle separately which caused a terrible mess. So he suggested putting it all inside a bun. The bread that worked best was a Muffaletta and the rest is 104 years of history.

The version we had consisted of a soft sourdough sesame seed bun which was filled with spicy fennel sausage, Mortadella and provolone cheese. Whilst these elements are important it’s the base layer of pickled cauliflower, olives and a range of other treats that gives the sandwich its flavourful personality. The pickly base adds moisture, texture and zing - whereas the typical layer of mayonnaise that finds its way into most sandwiches simply adds claggy blandness.

This sandwich overflowed with bold flavours which were accentuated by the unusual setting. The fountain made the pickle seem even more refreshing, the statue of the dog keeping me company added a friendly meatiness, the potted ferns mimicked the softness of the bun and the cacophony of traffic was a proxy for the pace of New Orleans life.

Our disappointment at the lack of bone marrow was made easier to bear by the transcendental nature of the Muffaletta but even more so by the amazing Portuguese custard tarts and top class Assam tea that followed. We whiled away the afternoon watching fashion students and antique dealers came and go. Each leaving behind a trail of tantalising conversational morsels that added even more layers to the film set of a venue.

Please pay Jackson and the crew at The Brunswick House Café a visit and make sure you don’t miss out on the bone marrow sandwich like we did. You’re unlikely to find a more quirky and delicious venue for lunch.

Brunswick House Café

30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London SW8 2LG

Last Updated 30 June 2010