Food & Drink

These are the best sandwiches in London

We scoured the city for the best sandwiches so you don’t have to (you can thank us later)

Sandwiches are quite literally the bread and butter of a quick, tasty meal, but what goes in between those two slices of bread can transform a dreary lunch into an exquisite culinary experience. While we don’t want to put your classic Pret order to shame – plenty of cheese and pickle baguettes have graced the GQ office over the years – if you’re looking to expand your sandwich horizons, we recommend looking slightly further afield.

From luxury lobster rolls to gooey, indulgent cheese toasties, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find the best sarnies in the capital, all in the name of making your lunchtimes that little bit brighter. Save the packed lunch for another day, because you won’t want to miss these.

Sons + Daughters

Ever wondered what an egg mayo sandwich tastes like with truffle crisps thrown into the mix? No? What about a prawn sarnie with prawn crackers added in for extra crunch? Lamb sausage with fries also stuffed into the baguette? We bet you’re wondering what all of those combinations taste like right now and the good news is you can find out for yourself at Coal Drops Yard’s new opening, Sons + Daughters. The king of creative sandwich assembly, the menu at Sons + Daughters could easily come across as gimmicky if it weren’t for the fact that each item is genuinely delicious and very generously portioned.

Personal taste will dictate which sandwich ends up being your favourite, but Sons + Daughters’ update to the humble egg mayo sarnie is truly something to behold. An addition of miso to the mayonnaise adds a tangy bite to cut through the rich truffle crisps and creamy Burford eggs and it’s all delivered to your mouth via two inch-thick slices of fluffy white bloomer. Beige food at its finest.

From £8.50 at Sons + Daughters. Unit 119a, Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ.

Lobster roll with yuzu and sriracha mayo at The Hawksmoor Knightsbridge

It's not that the steaks, bone marrow, and the triple-cooked chips here aren't destination-worthy, but something magical happens when sriracha mayo-kissed lobster arrives on a pretzel bun. It's a terrific result: the filling is sweet and herbaceous, with just a hint of spice (green chillies). And the lobster itself, from Brixham, is pillow-soft with the slightest chew. We'd expect nothing less – at £25, Hawksmoor's lobster roll is easily the most expensive of its kind in London, but it's also our favourite. The steak maven also offers two other lobster roll varieties – hot, with butter; or spicy, with Singapore-style “chili-crab” mix – which are also highly recommended.

£25 at The Hawksmoor. Various locations.

Toasted cheese sandwich at Kappacasein

Have we reached peak grilled cheese? Not only is Kappacasein the star of Borough's stalls (it sells close to 900 sandwiches a week) it also set an impossibly high standard for what grilled cheese should be: rich, nutty, sweet and properly griddled. Kappacasein's secret lies in a deceptively simple three-cheese melt: Montgomery cheddar and Ogleshield from Neal's Yard Dairy; Comté from Borough Cheese Company, and Bermondsey Hard-Pressed, made in-house by Kappacasein's Dairy. Then, of course, there's the bread, a sourdough from Poilâne (only the best) plus more accoutrements, like onions, shallots, garlic. All this is yours for just £5.

£5 at Kappacasein. 1 Voyager Industrial Estate, London SE16 4RP.

Smoked eel sandwich at Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis roughly translated means "where are you going?". For those looking for a tasty treat, the answer is obvious: Dean Street. Because, boy, do the chefs at Quo Vadis serve a delicious snack. While most eel sandwiches are too briny – like a canned-tuna sandwich past its sell by date – this restaurant goes against the grain. Carefully placed between two crisp-gold fried squares are thick, juicy fillets of lightly-smoked eel – oil-rich, tender and sweet – with a small dollop of creamed horseradish. It's served alongside slender ribbons of pickled red onion, which cuts right through the richness after every bite of the sandwich, so it's that much easier to order a second (or third... or fourth) one after you've cleaned it all up.

£9.50 at Quo Vadis. 26-29 Dean Street, London W1D 3LL.

Posh Madame at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels Seven Dials

It's almost as if Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels wants to stay hidden – try saying the name three times fast – but the secret's out: its Posh Madame (£12) is so good we swear there's witchcraft involved. So how do they improve on the French staple? By fussing all over it, of course. The filling is a mix of Comté cheese and béchamel; the bread a thick, fluffy sourdough; the ham sourced from an Italian producer who cooks stuffs the ham with black truffles and cooks it slowly to infuse the prized fungus. And the proverbial cherry on top? A petite fried quail egg.

£12 at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels Seven Dials. 8-10 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP.

Roast duck banh mi at Kêu

This is London's best banh mi, but it's not strictly the most traditional – its roast duck (£5.95) after all, in its skilfully-rendered fat, slightly crackly skin and a syrupy hoisin that recalls the classic Peking staple. Kêu (pronounced “geh-yoo”) takes its banh-mi very seriously, so even the baguette, from Sally Clarke Bakery, is both crispy and airy (most of the bread is hollowed out to give room for the filling). Yes, the duck fat is enough to (literally) induce a heart-attack, but scallions and coriander are strategically layered in to counter the richness.

£5.95 at Kêu. Various locations.

Bacon Naan Roll at Dishoom

Culinary blasphemy at its finest, and most delicious: you'll find scores of diners flocking to Dishoom in the wee hours to feast off bacon naan. The wildly popular eatery, after all, can sell a menu off a phonebook and still draw in hour-long lines outside its premises. Which is precisely why you should arrive early (11:00 am, to be safe), since breakfast ends at half-past. But don't ever leave without the bacon naan (£5.20). Smoky, streaky bacon from The Ginger Pig is cold-smoked with sugar and rock salt for five days and cooked over oak chips topped with rich cream cheese with a sweet, and spicy chili tomato jam. And the naan? Made by hand, and baked in a tandoor oven until yielding and puffy.

£6.90 at Dishoom. Various locations.

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