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					NELLIE NICHOLS



Plenty to
moo about
New international sandwich concepts are arriving
thick and fast in London, now surely the sandwich
capital of the world. Nellie Nichols chases up one of
the recent arrivals - the Argentinian Lomito, at the
recently opened Moo Grill in Spitalfields                          Nellie Nichols


                                            preparation; warm ingredients

W
           hat an insular sandwich
           bubble I’ve been living in. I    dripping with deliciousness and not a
           thought I had come across        chilled cabinet as far as the eye can
the lot, partaken in the lion’s share of    see. These sandwiches are invariably
most of them and could identify the         made to order, thrown together in the
rest.                                       organised chaos borne of the pressure
   Rotis from India, melts, wraps and       of the queue, eaten in a trice by the
subs from the Americas, piadinas            hungry passing customer.
from Italy, baguettes from France -            And now I’ve come across London
you name it and I think I’ve tried it       to sample one of the newest and most
in one form or another. Sandwiches          talked about of these new arrivals.
are, after all, one of the first things I   All the way from Argentina comes
seek out when I arrive on a foreign         their national treasure, the Lomito,
shore. But then I’ve never been to          brought here by the recently opened
Argentina.                                  Moo Grill in Spitalfields.
   I’ve decided London is developing           Now this is no ordinary sandwich
a hugely relevant underground               but one that offers its consumer
sandwich scene to shake us all out of       choice and lots of flexibility. A
our wedges. Not all of it is good, and      lunchtime staple, comfort food
some concepts deliver many an               doubling up as what has to be the
ingredient too far, but all of them are     perfect hangover cure or stomach
showing us that the world is reaching       liner before a lads night out, a
out to London in some sandwich              traditional steak sandwich in the
guise to show us a sprinkle of              extreme. Its classic version is the
indigenous charm.                           ‘Simple’ one, thin slices of
   Recent Top 10 Sandwich lists in          Argentinean rump steak, tomato,
many publications such as The               lettuce, homemade garlic mayo and a
London Evening Standard, Time Out           generous drizzle of Chimichurri - the
and Young and Foodish are                   most delicious sauce made from all
mentioning the likes of Banhm11’s           manner of things including parsley,
Vietnamese baguette stall at                olive oil, vinegar and pepper.
Broadway Market; Katsu Sando’s,                Taking a week to mature to its full
Japan’s answer to a breadcrumbed            flavour, this is the piquant soulmate     know it, but an egg cracked on the
fried chicken sandwich at Tsuru in          of all Argentinean steaks. But I’m        hot grill and then lovingly teased and
the City; Jewish/Caribbean hybrid           going for the full Monty; not for the     mixed and chased around it, so it
Jerk chicken bagels at Mr Bagel in          faint hearted, the ‘Completo’ version     finally resembles a mosaic of
hippest Dalston, and the authentic          is made with all the aforementioned       crispiness. The final version is a DIY
Palestinian style falafel wraps at Mr       ingredients crammed in with               one - change the main ingredient
Falafel in Shepherds Bush Market.           additional slices of ham, grated          from beef to either chicken or
   The fascination for me in all of         mozzarella cheese and, of all things, a   aubergine, or just custom make your
these is in their instantaneous             fried egg. Not the fried egg as we        own.


4 January 2011 SANDWICH & SNACK NEWS
                                                                                 NELLIE NICHOLS

                                                                                     Inside is light years from the food
                                                                                 to go café and coffee shop I was
                                                                                 expecting. Wooden tables and chairs
                                                                                 and a bar form what seems, without
                                                                                 doubt, a bone fide restaurant and
                                                                                 upstairs there is an even bigger
                                                                                 seating area.
                                                                                     At the bar drinking coffee are the
                                                                                 smiling faces of Jose and Alberto, the
                                                                                 owners, and Jose’s brother Juan Paul.
                                                                                 On the wall is a photograph of them
                                                                                 with Gordon Ramsey, happy
                                                                                 memories of when, merely a year ago
                                                                                 their other restaurant, Santa Maria
                                                                                 Del Sur in Queenstown Road won
                                                                                 third place in The F Word.
                                                                                     Gordon loved their Argentinean
                                                                                 steaks and in no time they felt
                                                                                 encouraged enough to move onto
                                                                                 their next venture: Moo Grill. They
                                                                                 all brim with enthusiasm and each
                                                                                 time the door opens familiar faces are
                                                                                 recognised and greetings, food orders
                                                                                 and hugs are exchanged.
                                                                                     In amongst all this I sit at the
                                                                                 counter filled with trepidation. No
                                                                                 matter how often I have asked for a
                                                                                 small Lomito I somehow think I am
                                                                                 clutching at Argentinean straws as all


                                      “
                                                                                 I get in response are even bigger
                                                                                 reassuring smiles.
                                      This sandwich is such a                        I always feel duty bound to give
                                                                                 finishing whatever food has been put
                                      cult in Argentinean parts                  in front of me my best shot, but in
                                      it has its own Facebook                    this case I realise in advance this is
                                                                                 simply a ridiculous notion.
                                      page and a U Tube video                        The enthusiastic preparation of my
                                      to boot showing how one                    lunch is now very much underway in
                                                                                 the kitchen amidst a flurry of
                                      should be made

                                                                        ”
                                                                                 shouting and activity, and the Lomito
                                                                                 I am told will be hotly pursued by
                                                                                 some Empanadas (imagine, if you
                                                                                 can, an Argentinean Cornish pastie –
                                      (www.therealargentina.com).
                                                                                 I know but it’s true they do have one)
                                          I have to say it’s fast becoming one
                                                                                 and a Carlitos, their very own
                                      of my all time favourite U Tube
                                                                                 version of a toasted sandwich.
                                      videos. My best bit is the application
                                                                                     The sheer enormity of my Lomito
                                      of salt which would be enough to
                                                                                 when it arrives is hard to visually
                                      give my favourite UK salt police their
                                      very own heart attack just watching        comprehend. A vast and
                                      it being administered with such            mountainous ciabatta beast cut in
                                      culinary gay abandon.                      half, each piece anchored by a retro
                                          So here I am entering the              tooth pick and green olive, piled high
                                      somewhat dark cavernous interior of        with slices of steak, ham, fried egg,
                                      the Moo Grill. On the doorstep are         melted cheese, tomato, homemade
   This sandwich is such a cult in    two extremely small potted olive           garlic mayo and Chimichurri sauce. It
Argentinean parts it has its own      trees. In the fullness of time and with    then struck me that this would be
Facebook page and a U Tube video to   a lot of encouragement they may one        perfect as one on the top ten list of
boot showing how one should be        day become trees, but realistically are    last suppers on earth if one ever had
made, all to the sound of genuine     likely to fall sadly short of ever being   to order one.
Cumbian Latin American music and I    the intended source of the olives I            So I’m in there with open jaws as
urge you to watch it, because it is   later see balancing on the end of          wide as I can make them go without
without doubt utterly brilliant and   cocktail sticks holding my lunch           doing myself harm. This would
will brighten up the dullest day      together.                                  certainly not be a sandwich to ever



                                                                                    www.sandwich.org.uk January 2011 5
NELLIE NICHOLS




eat on a date; there is simply no way
of eating it with even a shred of
finesse and I am realistically resigned
before I start to a chin dripping
experience.
   Then I am met by the most
surprisingly delicious shattering of
ciabatta in all my born days. My
expectation whenever I have to eat a
sandwich made on ciabatta is
invariably accompanied by a heavy
heart. It’s the thought of all that teeth
wrenching chewiness. But here I am
overwhelmed by the lightest,
springiest, pillow soft interior, encased
in the thinnest crunchiest crust
imaginable and the overall experience
of this sandwich is, well, just fantastic.
   Now there is no way I’d eat one
everyday and the calories wouldn’t be


                                             “
advisable on anyone’s hips and
                                                                                          I’d love these boys is to open
waistline either, but I can see where
                                                                                       another store quickly with a proper
they are coming from. From a girl’s
perspective they need to get a smaller
                                             I’m in there with open                    commercial focus on take away. With
loaf to tap into the female market but       jaws as wide as I can                     a heated pass a la McDonalds of
                                                                                       waiting wrapped lomitos they would
when all is said and done there is no
doubt its got lengthy legs as a concept
                                             make them go without                      achieve a faster transaction time and
in the UK.                                   doing myself harm                         that, coupled together with the facility


                                                                              ”
                                                                                       to order in advance that they have on
   I’m hugely impressed with the oven
                                                                                       their website, would get the volume
baked beef Empanadas, they are little
                                                                                       through they set out to capture. Then
and cute and very moreish and I can          ever popular breakfast pancakes and       Lomitos just might rise up to become
see the different flavours having huge       famous butterscotch sauce. More than      one of the popular of hot sandwiches
appeal. The ones I try are a far lighter     anything I want to be able to walk to     in town. Perhaps without the
eat than their distant Cornish relatives     Liverpool Station with some dignity       toothpicks and olives.
and don’t sit in the stomach like a          left, rather than crawl clutching my
lead weight you wish you hadn’t              stomach.
eaten.                                           I haven’t tried the vast array of       Nellie Nichols is a food
    I manage to make inroads into the        cakes, milk shakes and other goodies        consultant and is contactable on
toasted sandwich, remarkably                 but the menu is wide in its choice          W: www.nellienichols.com
transformed with the addition of the         without being too unrealistic – they’ve     E: nellie@nellienichols.com
Chimichurri sauce but simply can’t           tried to think of everything, but if I      The above is based on her
believe Jose’s serious suggestion of         was them I’d just concentrate on the        independent views
then following it with some of their         main event.



6 January 2011 SANDWICH & SNACK NEWS

				
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