Picture
Anything mildly amusing to add on the topic of burritos?  Little donkeys, nappies, meaty spicy bundles, mount Vesuvius of grease, street food….

Not much to add on the topic of the burrito itself.  But before you go off looking for something else to read, you will see that the words continue on this blog.  There is a bit more to say on where you get burritos from and Freebird.   They are street food and the sharp eyed may have noticed that all the burritos reviewed here before now are from shops, which are very concrete and very stationary.

Today’s burrito comes from Freebird, a stall in the burrito triangle.  Authentic street food, see?  They also have a stall in Soho and some other places.

There is usually a queue here, although service is quicker than Benito’s Hat or El Burrito.  And the other main difference?  It’s cheaper and they don’t serve the burrito with corn chips, or have any fancy drinks.  And the two guys behind the counter aren’t enthusiastically trying to get you excited about the food.  It’s no frills, but none the worse for that.

So, what are the choices?  Standard – pork, beef, chicken or vegetarian.

But the ingredients look good going into the burrito.  The refried beans are bean shaped (rather than mush), the pork looks fatty and nice, the steak has good sheen of sauce on it (not too dry).

I went for a pork burrito, handed over my fiver (plus 50p for the guacamole) and walked back to the office to consume.  And it was good.  Well, ok, it was alright.  The outdoor origin of the burrito meant that it was never really hot and was only warm when I got back to the office.  When eating it, parts of it were, in fact, cold.  But, it was easy to chew, the pork quite tender and reminded me of Brussels pate in flavour (and a little in texture too) – I think that is an achievement.  And they weren't stingy with the fillings.  There were some good spices too.  The guacamole was inoffensive (that's guacamole), the chilli sauce was chilli and quite garlicky.  But every so often there were less inviting flavours, burnt bits or something else.  It wasn’t a complete delight but when you work on the street, you take what you are given baby.  

So, not absolutely amazing.  But it was a fiver, a point worth repeating.  You can pimp up a burrito all you like with coriander rice and crème fresh and flags sticking out of it and stuff, but the simple formula doesn't cope with too much tinkering.  It becomes something else.  This was a no frills burrito. And it was cheap (relatively).  And it was no worse for that matter.  It had flavour.  Not astounding, but certainly not bad.  Somewhere to go if you only have a fiver (plus 50p for guacamole) and are in a rush.  The taste of the spices in the pork and the garlic from the chilli sauce stayed with me for most of the afternoon (in a good way).

Change from a tenner – 4.5

Time out – 10 mins

Flavour – 7.5

Mobility - 10

 
 
Picture
Waterloo, the scene of sunsets, Somerset House, some other things and a dirty big station.  A gateway to London from the south.

It’s not so dirty anymore following what seems like an eternity of scaffolding and works.  Whereas before it had a fine selection of not much, now it has been pimped up.  For the last 6 months there has been a whole balcony of shops and restaurants, looking smart and charming with funny faux-posh sounding names - Kiehl’s, Oliver Bonas, Thomas Pink, Cabin by Corney and Barrow.

So, looming over the station concourse, high in the air, is Benugo.  It sounds like a man with a short name driving with his cheap Eastern European car, but actually it is inspired by the Big Apple (according to their website).  It looks cool with its chalk boards, open plan seating and weird framework counter all stuck on the lofty balcony looking out over the concourse.  You too can sit above all the commuters and watch them with your lunchtime sandwich.

The place advertises the fact that the cakes are made in the Benugo kitchen.  Strange – where else would they be made?  I wouldn’t boast about that.  There might be more to brag about if they were made in other people’s kitchens surreptitiously.  All the cakes in Benugo today were made in KFC’s kitchen, or the Ritz’s, or Starbucks’.  Kitchen roulette!

But stop already.  Back to the lunch.  It sounds exciting.  A San Pellegrino with orange (very continental).  And a New Yorker (now I am cosmopolitan).  Smoked turkey, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, Dijon mustard, tomato and lettuce on caraway bread.  Yum.  Freshly made since 11am this morning, whatever that means. Was it freshly made at 11, or did they make it to order?

Don’t know.  But it was hot.  Which was quite nice.  And weighty, which is what you want when you are hungry.  And the ingredients had just been put in, also nice. 

Yet it didn’t taste of caraway.  It didn’t taste very much of Dijon mustard.  It didn’t taste very much of anything.  And the bacon wasn’t crispy.  And the open plan restaurant, with minimal walls, meant the wind and pigeons soared around me and threatened my hot sandwich.

Everyone’s a critic.  In some ways, it was actually quite nice.  I could feel some of the different textures.  It was comforting.  The weight was assuring.  It gave the impression to my tongue that there was going to be some flavour.  It just never quite got there.  And actually, watching pigeons swooping over the tables was quite novel, if a little disconcerting.

There were lots of exciting smells coming from the kitchen.  There was a delicious roast pork oozing delight waiting to be carved.  The layout of the place looked exciting.  Looming over the formic commuters below was exciting (yeah, look it up).  The massive clock hanging from the roof in front of the balcony was exciting.   Even the pigeons were exciting.

I wanted it all to be exciting, but the sandwich, like the staff who served me, seemed to be somewhere else.  Somewhere that wasn’t exciting.  Somewhere a bit morose.  So I tried to remember the word for ant-like and imagined the unsmiling staff clandestinely using other people’s kitchens as I munched on my warm, heavy but less than delicious sandwich.  And felt the wind whipping at my nose.

So, almost top marks for setting (just a bit too cold and pigeony) and the food was quite cheap and filling and much better than some of the other attempts at food I have tried at a station.  Which is almost a recommendation.

Change from a tenner – 3.75

Time out – 20 mins

Taste – 6.5

Giant clock and pigeons - 9



 
 
Picture
Tragically hip.  After dealing with the less than romantic Byron, I saw this place opening up not far from the office.

In the spirit of adventure I thought meh.  But Twitter was doing it's job as the messaging service of hip young things and I began to get a bit excited about it.  I decided to go.

I got there early to beat the queues.  But there weren't any.

Fair dos though.  This was the first proper day of opening and hip young things don't get out of bed before 12.  They were probably all still looking for their socks draped over a lampshade.

So I had the choice of seats bar one place, which actually had an early riser hip young thing sitting there.  And he looked very happy.

I looked at the menu and began to be very happy.  Beside the burgers, there were buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce, lobster rolls, hotdogs (beef and pork), beers.  I could have sat there all day looking at the menu.

But in this intrepid undertaking I need to do some eating, so girded by my memories of all the delicious burgers I have eaten, I ordered a House Burger, House Fries and a Coca Cola.

The House Burger is an interesting creation, with cheese, bacon and horseradish.  Unusual.

So I order it from the beaming waitress and sit there, looking around for things that are achingly hip.  I look at the fairly straightforward seating, the fairly straightforward condiments (Heinz Ketchup, Tabasco and French's Mustard if you want to know).  I look at the people coming and going into the kitchen, with stacks of till rolls balanced on their arms while trying to answer a mobile phone.  I listen to the achingly hip music - Sugar Hill Gang, Tone Loc, Quincy Jones.  My kind of music.

My food turned up - a good looking burger and the standard for a hip place - an enamel tray containing chips.  The chips were good.  Not soggy, a bit salty.  I bit into the burger and angels sang.

Ok, they didn't really, but it was a good experience.  The horseradish may have been a little on the light side, but the beef was lubed up by the fat, the bacon was sweet and delicious, the cheese added sweetness and a sense of coherence  and the bun did its things admirably, delivering the whole concoction from the plate to my mouth with minimal fuss (and it kept my fingers clean).

Thirteen students turned up, looking excited for their lunch.  The people working at Burger and Shake were accommodating.  As I sat there, satisfied, munching on my burger, I considered the place that was so hip I almost had trouble fitting into my seat.  I was comfy, the music was cool, the food was delicious and the people were nice.

Some restaurants and cafes make their names from cool stuff and forget that they are actually meant to be providing food that tastes nice.  Getting people in the door is one thing.  Getting them out again with a satisfied smile is another.

Burger and Shake succeeds on both counts.  Yes, every man and his dog at the moment seem to be getting excited about pop-ups, new burger restaurants or another burger concept, but in the grand scheme of things a burger is a simple idea and done well it can be something to smile about.  And when I got the bill, I didn't mind that it was more than a tenner and the Coca Cola cost £2.25 (well, actually the Cola does seem a little steep).

Burger and Shake, I will be back to work my way through the menu.  And have a shake, which makes up the other 33.3% of your name and probably won't cost much more than the Cola.

Change from a tenner - 0

TIme out - 50 mins

Taste - 8

Hippy shake - 0 (next time)

Burger & Shake on Urbanspoon
 
 
Picture
Byron Burger - every street you turn down you will see a new one popping up, with its simple hamburgers mantra.

Few frills, but the punters keep coming in, like this is the best thing since a sliced bun.

And to be fair, when it started 5 years ago it was a pretty good thing.  Variety  in UK burgers was the sort of thing you got in a Happy Meal.  The coolest place you could eat a burger was Burger King in Leicester Square.  I would love someone to tell me different.

OK, maybe that is a bit unfair on some of the pioneers of a gourmet burger.  I still have fond memories of Grubs in Brighton from 1980, but Byron’s gave a bit more choice to a dull selection.

So, you walk into the restaurant on Rathbone Place, formerly a pub, and you order a burger.  They ask you how you want it done.  Rare, medium rare, medium, etc, etc – you get the idea.  Now, I am not an expert in cooking beef and I don’t know what goes into these patties so I don’t think I am the best person to ask how it should be cooked.

I always take the safe option – medium.  And take away.  This time I went for a stilton burger.  The pungent taste of the stilton would get rid of the stale taste in my mouth.  Or so I thought.

I drooled back to the office with what I thought would be my happy meal.  As I walked I considered the weight of what was in the bag, and it wasn’t that much.  I got back to the office, sat down and unpacked for a quick slice between the buns and some fries.

It was all a little cold.  But I didn’t ask for insulation, I just wanted a takeaway burger.  And then I ate it.

No great shakes.  In fact, I didn’t order a shake, so that perhaps shouldn’t have surprised me.  But there was nothing special.  In fact it was a little bit dry.  The bun was quite nice.  Unobjectionable in texture and flavour – it allowed me to hold everything together, the blue cheese was obviously feeling a little sad and had no flavour.  It was pretty inoffensive.  You could even call it simple.

The problem with good food is that you can’t please everyone.  Some people don’t try and accept that there is a large part of the country that aren’t going to touch their delicious dish with a barge-pole, but they cook the tripe and ricotta on toast anyway.   Maybe the burger is a proposition that is too simple, and it is not possible to produce something that is going to get your taste buds going, get your brain working on the flavours, get your senses stimulated.

But wait, that’s not true anymore.  A Grizzley Bear with bacon jam anyone from Burger Bear?   A dead-hippy burger from Meat Liquor?  The Smoky Robinson from Patty and Bun?

I paid more than a tenner for this bad boy with fries, and I want a little something other than a bit of mastication.  Sorry Byron, this is better than MacDonalds, but it’s no Don Juan.

Change from a tenner - minus 70p

Time out - 15 mins

Taste - 7

Romance - 3

Byron on Urbanspoon
 
 
Picture
Artisan, the sign reads.  Artisan, the website reads.  Exciting!  Something new.  None of this stuff you get in Pret, where I imagine it is churned out.

I walk in for a sandwich and a delicious drink, hoping to see something different.  And I do.  Oh yes.  This is a free-form café.  There is no real counter here.  There aren’t any shelves lined along the walls.  Stuff is piled onto surfaces.  There are seats and tables scattered around what looks like the outside of the central island of stuff, filling the gaps between the central counter and the seemingly numerous people looking… well, I wasn’t too sure what they were looking.  They could have been looking at the food or they could have been looking bemused about where they were meant to find food or looking where they were meant to pay for it or looking where they were meant to sit down.

Nothing is clear here.  Perhaps that is the artisan nature of Gail’s, one of the few bakeries that gets named as making excellent bread.  Seduced by reputation and perhaps caught up in the confusing whirlwind of romance, I fall into line.  I grab the first thing that takes my fancy - perhaps a little vulnerable, a little bit lost. I order a goat’s cheese and salami baguette and a coffee and stand where I think the queue is.  The girl on one side of the island of actually pretty ordinary looking food has a till in front of her and takes my money.  She gives me a free apple.

I go and sit down, waiting for some kind of epiphany, some kind of orgy of artisan flavours and artisan sensations from a place that promises so much artisan.

I find somewhere to sit surprisingly easy – maybe there is artistry in the design of the table and chair I sit at.  I eat my artisan goat’s cheese and salami baguette.  I appreciate the artisan tang of the goat’s cheese and the artisan smoky flavour of the salami.  I admire the artisan baguette, which is artisanly crusty and unyielding.  My artisan coffee arrives eventually.  Tut, artists!  They are always late!

And that’s it.  The artisan baguette tasted of bread, and the artisan goat’s cheese was tangy (like goat’s cheese), and the artisan salami was smoky (like salami).  The table was a table, the chair was a chair and the coffee was a coffee.

I am not the first man who has been promised so much by a lady with an apple, but I seem to remember he got a bit more from his encounter.  I suspect that the artisan Gail’s might be the kind of artist who charms their way into your life with a promise, keeps you hot in a whirlwind of hope and desire and then suddenly they have left you heartbroken and unfulfilled.  In exactly the same situation you were before you found them.  And then you find that tenner you had stashed away for an emergency has gone as well.  And then later in the afternoon you find that you are still hungry.

Change from a tenner – 1.8

Time out – 25 minutes

Taste - 6

Artisanal - 8

 
 
Picture
You might think this is the last part – 3 sides to a triangle and all that.  But, the burrito triangle is no longer a triangle.  With the addition of Wahaca it seems to be an irregular trapezoid.  We still have Freebird Burritos to do.

 But today it is the turn of El Burrito.  Straightforward name for the little donkey of lunch.  Burritos carry lots of things.  In the case of Benito’s Hat it is a well-rehearsed routine, in the case of Wahaca, a concept and loads of cheese.  What does El Burrito offer?

Well, aside from friendly staff and a donkey symbol, there is certainly a more “functional” atmosphere than in Benito’s Hat, never mind the restaurant feel of Wahaca.  These guys are here to put your lunch filling in a burrito.  It’s up to you to do the rest (the eating part).  The furniture is solid and does its job.

There are the delightful Jarrito’s drinks along with other stuff churning in a drinks cooler – tamarind or hibiscus water.  And the food?  Lots of choices here.  Shrimps in tacos, baja fish and all the normal ones – chicken, pork, beef.  But there is variety of ways of cooking.  Mole (yes that should an accent, not a rodent.  Chicken cooked with lots of flavours and spices, including chocolate), tinga and loads of others – read the menu to see more.

So, today I went for a carnitas.  I like meat, so carnitas seems like a sensible option for someone who does.  It’s pork, slowly roasted.  Simple.  Rice, pico de gallo (a kind of salsa with chopped tomatoes, chilli and white onion), jalapenos and sour cream.   It’s dry and it’s the sum of its parts.  Each flavour and texture is in there.  An orderly muddle.

The tortilla’s a bit tough, textures are a bit uneven, but you know what?  This isn’t food to seduce to.  Go somewhere with candles and if you want that.  This is street food.  Up against a wall.  In a side alley.  It's exciting and I felt invigorated afterwards.  Pickles and heat, meat and cream - satiated.

Like Wahaca, they have a shop but it’s not all branded.  It’s understated.

Change from a tenner – 3.5

Time out – 30 mins

Taste – 8.5

Donkey punch - 9


El Burrito on Urbanspoon
 
 
Picture
Yeah, it sounds like Ebay.  With some extra Banh M.  Whatever that is.

But this isn’t the place to go to bid for a pair of knickers.  Or an old bike. 

This is a place you go for food that tastes of food.  And a cheap eat.

Banh Mi – a Vietnamese food.  It’s Viet and it’s baguette.  Vietnam was a French colony before the Americans did their bit.  And one of the things the Vietnamese got from the French was the baguette.  And they made it their own.  They used rice flour.  It’s sweeter, got more crunch (and crumb), but it’s good.  And they didn’t stop there.  They filled it with deliciousness.  Pork.  Fresh stuff (coriander, chilli, cucumber).  And pickled stuff (daikon and carrot).  And pork pate (obviously).

By the way, daikon is also known as mooli or white radish.  Every day is an education.  But let’s forget about the mooli and go back to the baguettes. 

Banh Mi Bay give you a bit of choice.  You can go for the standard white or brown baguette if you are feeling in need of something familiar.  But don’t.  Go for the proper baguette if they have it.  Or you can have pho noodle soup that is so fresh you can taste all the components individually (and the flavours combine to make a delicious whole).
 
They will put your baguette together while you wait with other salivating punters.  Service is quick, and friendly.  You can watch all the people bustling in the kitchen and preparation area.  The food here is made fresh every day.  Fresh dough, fresh noodles and well marinated meats.   And the staff are friendly.

As for the drinks, the usual standards are here.  But they also do coconut water and other less usual canned options.  But today the focus was on the baguette.  I didn't want a distraction wrestling with a new flavour of drink.  So it was orange Fanta.

Then you must go somewhere else and eat it.  Where you will crunch and get covered in fine crumbs, make no mistake.  But your mouth will love you for it.  So many textures, so many tastes, and so little expense.

It’s next to the Newman Arms on Rathbone Street.  And they are giving you love in a baguette.

Change from a tenner – 6.5

Time out – 10
 
Taste – 8.5
 
The look of love - 8

 
 
Picture
It was a day dictated by cheese.  I found myself in Neal's Yard on a completely separate mission.  Now, this isn't a prescriptive blog.  I tell you what I think and you decide whether I am talking through my hat or talking to your stomach.  There are other possible responses, but they are unintended.  However, if you find yourself in Neal's Yard the first stop is to visit the dairy.  That's compulsory.  Even if you don't buy cheese, just stick your head in the door and inhale the smell of the valleys.

Done that?  Good, now move on to Neal's Yard just round the corner (or buy some cheese and then go round the corner) for a hippy-based experience.  Joss sticks and jazz in a courtyard surrounded by foliage and interesting furniture.

Ignore the homeopaths.  They are mental.

You will find the slightly misnamed Neal's Yard Salad Bar.  Yes, it is in Neal's Yard, so top marks there.  It does have a kind of bar and they sell a little bit of salad, but from a quick glance at the menu it sounds like any other cover-all-the-continents takeaway.  Pizza, baked potatoes, sandwiches and stuff.  It would be more accurate to call it Neal's Yard Food Bar perhaps.

But ignore all that, and the confusing layout of labyrinthine stairs and tables.  Take a close look at the menu.  Some of the legacy of the ancient (well, 1982) vegetarian salad bar is there.  They have vegan and vegetarian foods and the meat eaters are in the minority.  I didn't expect that and it's quite refreshing.  And the flavour behind the menu is Brazil (which I imagine is kind of fruity.  With a lovely pair of coconuts).

Once you have got over that, the next challenge is the staff.  Not in a Little John/Robin Hood combat on a bridge over the stream kind of way.  More in the monosyllabic and rude kind of way.  Getting a good explanation of what they offer there is almost impossible.

I go for the cheese melt and the chap behind the salad bar suddenly becomes helpful.  If I get a drink and a roll, then I can spend an extra 50p.  That's a bit different from Subway.  There you spend 50p less and get more.

Ah, but here is where it all changes.  Stick your six inches where you want to Subway, but this is real food.  Real vegetables, real flavour, real cheese.

AND, I get an amazing watermelon smoothie.  And it is made in front of me.  It's real.  It's watermelon.  And it tastes of watermelon.  Nothing else.  AND, I get an amazing roll of cheese and herbs (not Italian this time).  It would probably do the trick of knocking out Goliath from 50 paces, but it is damn tasty and scoops up the vegetables in the cheese bake perfectly.

I eat it in the office and there is enough delicious tomato, aubergine and other stuff (inc. cheese) there to keep me going until way past dinner time.  This kind of food should be standard issue at lunch time.  Independent opinion suggests it might be a little bit salty, but that independent opinion also kept on eating it and grinning because it was tasty.

Well done Neal's Yard Salad Bar - you smell good, you look good, you aren't easy but you deliver the goods in the end.  Anything else?

Change from a tenner - 3.5

Taste - 9

Time out - 20 minutes

Long term satisfaction - 8 by a yard (not 6 inches)


_

 
 
Picture
Tottenham Court Road.  A mecca for computer geeks.  Well, not really any more.  The computer shops are closing down.  But furniture shops are opening.  And coffee shops.  And sandwich shops.  And none of them are unique.
When Loaf opened, I narrowed my eyes in a suspicious way.  Sandwiched between Eat and Greggs, Loaf looked like a cynical marketing ploy, with its byline "Honest Food" striking the chill of cynicism in my heart.

I can't lie to you Tottenham Court Road.  You have consistently let me down.  Never have I walked down your street and been surprised.  Pret, Eat, Costa, Cafe Nero, Pret, Eat, Coffee Republic, KFC.  The place is so entangled in chains that they don't even bother to stop at one any more.  When a place feels the need to point out it is honest, like Honest John's Car Lot, you can't help but think they are hiding something.

But in the interests of a new experience, I entered.  I looked carefully at the punters in the shop, like a zoologist looking at a herd of gazelles grazing.  They all looked content.  A good sign.  I looked carefully at the queuing system at the counter.  And continued to look.  Everyone was milling around observing the people behind the counter.  Then about three people behind the counter asked me what I wanted.  I wasn't prepared for that.  I quickly looked at the menu and in one of those moments when everything comes together, I saw a pulled pork cheese toastie on the menu.

Pulled pork - it sounds slightly rude, but what a recipe.  Rendered down through long cooking and flavoured by spices, the pork just falls apart in your mouth and tastes spicy, savoury and delicious.

So I ordered and waited.  Then a few other people asked me what I wanted, so I told them too.  They all looked very concerned about my lack of lunch, which was nice.  And they tracked down that pulled pork toastie from the kitchen.  Who knows where it had been, but it came out hot, freshly made and delicious.  I asked the guys behind the counter if Loaf was part of a chain and the answer was music to my ears.

Four people got together and decided to put together a nice sandwich shop.  Just the one.

And it is on Tottenham Court Road.

I walked back to the office with a spring in my step and a warm sandwich in a brown paper bag.

When I got it out of the bag, my happiness turned to full blown elation.  This was a proper sandwich, with real looking bread (although it is hard to tell these days).  Not too greasy, which is quite an achievement given its contents.  And the taste?  Fantastic.  The cheese inside was smooth, greasy and balanced out the acidity of the pickle (which was still crunchy), the red cabbage added body to the otherwise sloppy mass and the pork was amazing (as pulled pork is). 

To anyone reading this review, use your Loaf as soon as you can.  I am stil waiting to find something wrong with this place.

Change from a tenner - 6.50

Taste - 9

Time out - 10 minutes

Cynical heart - 1



 
 
Picture
After a tricky morning in the office, lunchtime offers the release of aimlessly wandering the streets and eating whatever you want.  But then you have decide - where do you go?

A Little Greek Pie might do the trick.  The little shop is now offering delicious looking UFOs of little Greek Pie fillings.  So I wander along to a place of wonder for a delicious lunch, Cleveland Street.

What is it about this place?  So many interesting and unique places along this strange out of the way street.  But then - horror!  Their new little Greek shop has now closed.  That's one less place on Cleveland Street to go to.

What can I do?  Assessing the situation, it could be worse.  Greek Pies are still available from selected outlets according to the sign on the window.  But the lunchtime choices today are infinitesimally less.  I trudge back towards Tottenham Court Road.  Trudge is really the only word.  I look through bleary eyes at the offerings from greasy spoons, Gigs, with its fish and chips (and Greek food), and other restaurants.  I decide to put in a protest lunch.  Something easy.

KFC.  The Colonel is calling.  I walk in, I look at the menu, I walk out....  I don't have enough money!  Today may be the lowest I have felt for some time.  Too broke even to eat at KFC.  My soul weeps.

Then I see it.  Subway - Where Winners Eat.  I'm a little dubious this claim, but the price is so low I can't resist.

I enter the narrow little shop alongside two girls who I watched walking into a betting shop thinking it was Subway.  Giggling they now seem confused by the options in Subway.  In fact, they just generally seem confused.

I think I know what I want though.  I follow the Subway rules.  I choose my type of bread - Italian Herbs and Cheese.  And then I get an Italian BMT.

I am sorry Dino, but this is nothing like the sandwiches you make.  Is this Italian?

BMT stands for Big Meaty Tasty.  It also stands for brown, mottled and trashy.  And Brooklyn Manhatten Transfer.  And some other things.  It is a sandwich full of three different types of meat.  Don't know what animals they come from though.

So I also get cheese, which between being put in my 6" sandwich and being wrapped up is melted.  I take the whole lot back to the office, with my drink which I got to fill up myself from the self service dispenser (and which helpfully took the price of the meal down by 50p).  I sit down and take a big bite of the BMT.  Not too spicy, not too meaty, but strangely comforting.  I know that I have a whole 6 inches of this slightly salty, slightly bland but also slightly comforting bready sandwich to eat through. 

I don't think winners do eat at Subway.  Particularly the shop on Goodge Street, which has only a few cramped tables in a bit of a grubby shop.  I also don't think that my Italian BMT is Italian.  I don't know what the Italian herbs were, I don't know what the Italian cheese was.  I don't think I will ever find out what I am really eating.  I do know that by buying this food I am doing less for the small shops and places where food is prepared with love.  But the Little Greek Pie Company has closed their shop, probably because people go to places like Subway, where the food is cheap and easy to eat.  I know that I am giving more money to a curiously named company which trades on loose truths (Eat Fresh?).  And I do know that my Italian BMT has 396 calories, the meat is formed meat and the name BMT is a registered trade mark.


As I finish the BMT I feel a slight emptiness.  By the end of the work day I feel quite a lot of emptiness, but for a meal that was easy and actually very cheap, can I ask for more?  I know at this point that the answer is yes, but sometimes in the middle of the day another decision is the last thing you want to make.

Change from a tenner - 7

Taste - 5

Time out - 10 minutes

Comfort - 7