Saturday, 23 March 2013

Sandwich Quest

Bacon Sandwich Quest is proving a hard act to follow. I probably ought to leave well alone, write a few reviews and the odd recipe, keep the blog plain, simple and challenge free. But I just can't help myself.

An uncommonly tedious obsession with lists combined with a healthy appetite and a job that sees me ranging all over the North (and the Midlands nowadays, recently swapped with Scotland) is all pointing in one direction:

Bacon Sandwich Quest.

I eat a lot of sandwiches. I already rate them mentally against an assortment of sandwich criteria. I eat them all over the place. Let's do this.

Before we begin I should acknowledge that this is a wholly unoriginal idea. Others do it better, and have been doing so for ages. Better written, better sandwiches, far better photography. There's the Serious Eats sandwich a day strand, there's Burger specialist Burgerac, there's the Londonist's (possibly defunct) Sandwichist, there's the inspired Scanwiches and probably finest of all, given that its author, Helen, has just written an entire book about sandwiches, is the London Review of Sandwiches.

I'm not sure anyone is really chronicling the finest sandwiches of northern England (and maybe the Midlands if they get lucky) though, so that's what I'd like to do. If I'm wrong about this, and someone already is working on this thankless task for the good of humanity, then do let me know.

I'd like to know where to find the finest sarnies the North has to offer. I'm casting the net far and wide, with the barest minimum of restrictions. The rules are simple: is it a filling between or somehow within any variety of bread? Yes? Then it's a sandwich.

From the humble triangle pack, through the sourdough deli-made special to the wrap to the burger to the inevitable bacon butty, all are fair game for sandwich quest.

Without any further ado let's get the ball rolling. Here are a few sandwiches I've eaten recently: a photo, a quick description, and a score out of fifty comprising a rating for the bread, the core filling, the accompanying fillings, any sauces or condiments, value, service and something I've decided to call the S-Factor.

Sometimes, for reasons difficult to define, a sandwich is far greater than the sum of its parts. The bacon sandwich often displays this phenomenon. Budget sliced white, cheapo bacon and Daddies are not a winning formula taken in isolation, put them together and the magic happens. This is the S-Factor.

The sangers I write about might appear only here on Sandwich Quest, but you might see them popping up in other posts too if they're part of a whole meal that's worth writing about.

It's going to be an open ended quest, with round-ups appearing from time to time. I'm not promising to write them monthly, as I lost the will to live doing that for Bacon Sandwich Quest.

Bring on the butties....

Chicken pesto on granary, Philpott's, Leeds

I'd never been to Philpott's before. I was under the mistaken impression that it might be good. It's not. Bread of the 'pappy crap disguised to look like proper bread' variety. See Asda speciality bread if you don't know what I mean. Manky, shredded chicken in an inexplicable shade of orange. Limp mixed leaves. Bleurgh. £2.95.

Bread 4/10
Core filling 3/10
Secondary filling 2/5
Sauces/condiments 2/5
Value 2/5
Service 2/5
S-Factor 3/10

Total 18/50

Fishfinger butty, The Midnight Bell, Leeds

As with all of the Leeds brewery offerings, reliable but unspectacular. Decent slices of bloomer hide fingers hewn from an ogre, thick and gnarled, putting Captain Birdseye to shame. The batter is crisp, the fish moist, the tartare sauce a little bland. £5.95, including chips.

Bread 6/10
Core filling 7/10
Secondary filling 3/5
Sauces/condiments 3/5
Value 3/5
Service 3/5
S-Factor 6/10

Total 31/50

Smoked beef brisket hoagy, Red's True BBQ, Leeds

An early contender, and a place that deserves a post of its own (which it will be getting, tomorrow with any luck). Thickly sliced meat with an intense smokey flavour permeating right through each wedge, sweet onions and pickles in abundance. All in a roll of unexpected quality, somehow both dense and light, and chewy like a sub roll ought to be. House made BBQ sauces on the side are also a revelation in that they taste of something other than sugar. Excellent. £8.95 including two sides.

Bread 8/10
Core filling 8/10
Secondary filling 4/5
Sauces/condiments 4/5
Value 4/5
Service 4/5
S-Factor 9/10

Total 41/50


Anonymous said...

Read your article with great interest. If you are ever in Bradford (well Shipley to be precise), you must try this place. Sarnies to die for.

Dave said...

Anon - sorry, rather belatedly noticed this comment that I rudely haven't replied to. Have heard great things about this place, will have to check it out one day, cheers.

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