With the weather turning colder, salads and sushi are becoming less appealing, and hearty steaming soups rather more so, but what of that evergreen favourite, the humble sandwich?
At a conservative estimate, there are probably some 50 different sandwich outlets on The Wharf, with each offering maybe 20-30 different sandwiches - that's at least a thousand to choose from, without taking into account individual customisations ('extra mayo, hold the butter... Because it's actually margarine and I don't like it, fuckwit, that's why.')
There are probably more Prets per square mile than anywhere else on the planet here, which is perfectly acceptable, plus the usual supermarket offerings, but I'm interested in the more distinctive, bespoke sandwich options.
Ooh La La
|A little piece of France on the Wharf|
Their range of cold sandwich and pastry offerings is petit but passionant, and authentically French but seeing as it's cold outside, let's go for something hot!
And they don't disappoint - the Jambon et Camembert tartine is one of the finest toasties I've enjoyed for a while, crunchy and gooey, with hot butter and cheese seeping out through the pores in the rustic wholemeal bread. They also do one without the delightfully salt-sweet ham but unless you're vegetarian and/or Jewish, there's no good reason not to have it.
Actually, if you're only one of the two, do consider having it avec jambon, because it really does complement the Camembert and the sweet chutney so awfully well.
Paul also make probably the finest hot chocolate I've ever had the indulgent pleasure to slurp - rich, dark, thick, warming and intensely chocolatey. Forgot the milky, creamy, frothy concoctions you've had in the past. This is the real deal, the espresso of chocolate drinks. It's like the God of Cocoa ejaculating down your throat from a big, celestial chocolate cock!
If you drink only one hot, French, drink this Winter, make it a Paul hot chocolate.
It's sweet enough that you won't feel you need a dessert, but with creamy macarons, fruit tartlets and coffee eclairs to tempt, you might want to go for the multi-course petit dejeuner if dining in.
Something a little less Gallic and a little beefier
|A roast dinner betwixt two slices|
|Roast pork on baguette|
One thing to bear in mind is that Birley's Salt Beef tend to sell out pretty early - I've turned up at 2 o'clock before now, only to find most of the meats all gone by then, so get there sharpish.
The thin end of the wedge
Yes, the price is dirt-cheap, but don't forget that for just two quid you can get a sandwich with a drink and some crisps or fruit or a Kit Kat from Tescos. And you'll feel a lot safer, even if the sandwiches available in the deal are the plainer, more basic varieties.
There are similar offers at the likes of Superdrug and Boots and other supermarkets, so there really is no need to resort to B*ne B*ne.
On The Wharf...
Cabot Place East,
E14 4QS (also at Jubilee Place and all over London)
Birley Salt Beef
Lower Level, 1 Canada Square,