London’s New Bacon Sandwich Hitlist
Just Opened London’s ‘Best of’ series covers a combination of recently opened venues and established London favourites, to make sure you get the full lowdown on where to spend your time and hard-earned cash.
Look, we all know that St. John does a great bacon sandwich and everyone queues around the block for the bacon naan at Dishoom but it’s time for some fresh meat. Literally. Read our list of the bacon sandwiches you really should try next time you get that craving.
Peckham’s newest restaurant is all about the grilling and smoking. The ex-Smokehouse chef, Sam Bryant, is cooking large sharing steaks, pork and goat chops on the grill, and also tackling big pieces of bacon, curing them himself in-house.
He covers the pork in sugar, salt, maple syrup and coffee, which comes from Old Spike Roastery (the local coffee guys behind this venture). It’s cut to order, so guests can have it as fatty or meaty as they like, and piled into a bun with house-made ketchup or brown sauce (top photo). We don’t think anyone is taking on the bacon sandwich in quite the same way in London right now. Bravo, Mr Bryant.
Coal Rooms, 11a Station Way, Peckham Rye Station, SE15 4RX
Peckham Refreshment Rooms
Now look, we know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this sandwich looks all out of proportion, with way too much bread for the filling, and we agree, the first impression doesn’t do it justice.
In reality, that bread is light as air with an ultra-crackly crust that squishes down to just the right thickness. It’s from Balthazar Boulangerie in Covent Gardens and it’s the nuts. The bacon inside is something else, too. Wafer thin Alsace bacon is heavily smoked and grilled until very crisp and its high fat content means it coats the bread in drippings as you eat. It’s wonderful, and again, really different from anything else out there.
Peckham Refreshment Rooms, Unit 3–4, 12–16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL
Black Axe Mangal
Ahhh, Black Axe Mangal, everyone’s favourite Kiss-worshipping kebab joint. We all know it’s so much more than that though, right? They do bread SO well here, cooking sourdough flatbreads in a pizza oven until blistered and bubbling, ready for topping with lamb offal, pickled onions, chilli and yoghurt sauces. Then there are the black flatbreads with gold glitter, topped with taramasalata and a golden egg yolk. Traditional Turkish mangal, this ain’t.
As you would expect, then, the bacon sandwich sidesteps tradition. A sourdough flatbread is cooked and immediately covered in melted butter (hi, we’re listening) and the bacon is an unusual cut, which means it’s about 80% fat (do you think we can marry a sandwich?) The whole thing is dressed in the manner of a BLT, so there’s shredded lettuce and sliced tomato, but also pickled onion and chillies. Oh, and a slick of fermented chilli sauce. There’s nothing else like Black Axe Mangal in London and there’s nothing else like this sandwich.
Black Axe Mangal, 156 Canonbury Road, N1 2UP
We had to include a greasy spoon in here and Arthur’s is one of the best in London. You’ll do well to turn up early, because this place gets completely rammed, for good reason. Arthur’s has been going since 1935 with the most recent Arthur taking over in 1948, working right up until his passing in early 2018.
The sandwich is basic but not poor quality, so the bacon is generous and crisp and comes on white bloomer, not the gummy plastic stuff that sticks to the roof of your mouth. It’s about as satisfyingly British as a sandwich gets, particularly on a frosty morning, steaming mug of tea alongside. Just make sure you’re there before 11.30 because they won’t serve it to you even one minute later. (Yes, the picture is an Arthur’s ham sandwich, but that’s pretty good too).
Arthur’s Café, 495 Kingsland Road, E8 4AU
Le Swine claim to make the best bacon butty in town and we can tell you from extensive research and experience that it is definitely up there. For a start, it comes on a toasted milk and onion bap – the milk makes for a lovely soft dough and the onion gives just enough flavour without being as offensively oniony as, say, actual onion.
The bacon is pretty lovely, thick cut smoked back, and we give them a huge high five for ramping up the bacon flavour with… bacon butter! They use ketchup instead of brown sauce, but hey, we won’t hold that against them…
Le Swine, Spitalfields E1; Broadgate Circle EC2M; Broadway Market E8