Everyone loves a sandwich. Over 3.5 billion of them are purchased from UK retail or catering outlets each year, and we pay over £7,850m for them.
The sandwich industry is huge, employing over 300,000 people in the UK. And whether you call them sarnies or butties, baps or barms, there’s no doubting that they’re a lunchtime staple.
But if you fancy something a bit special for your daily bread this British Sandwich Week (or any other week), here’s where to head in Manchester.
Ms Fat Butty at Hip Hop Chip Shop
The Hip Hop Chip Shop blasted onto Manchester’s street food scene five years ago, serving freshly battered fish and chips from their trademark eighties boombox trailer. Now, they’ve opened their first permanent restaurant in Ancoats. In terms of sandwiches, you can’t beat Ms Fat Butty (£6.50): battered fish biters, chunky skin-on chips and mushy peas. It’s the perfect chippy tea in a locally baked bun.
Short Rib French Dip at Hawksmoor
You know Hawksmoor is the place to go for your steak fix. But don’t miss the bar menu for a more casual treat. Try the Short Rib French Dip (£12). This braised beef short-rib sandwich is topped with melty Ogleshield cheese and French’s American mustard, and doused in meaty bone marrow gravy.
Double bacon naan at Dishoom
Sandwiches aren’t just for lunchtime. The new double bacon naan roll (£9) steps up Dishoom’s cult classic. There’s double the amount of first-rate smoked streaky bacon, crisped and piled high in freshly baked naan bread with cream cheese, chilli tomato jam and fresh herbs. Twice the bacon, twice the joy.
Poutine barm at Blue Caribou
Poutine, Canada’s national dish of French fries, squeaky fresh cheese curds and gravy, is the ultimate comfort food. And nobody does it better than Blue Caribou, now in their new home in the Arndale food market. Manchester meets Montreal with their hearty poutine barm (£4), a Lancashire oven bottom stuffed full of the good stuff.
Tasty Lancashire grilled cheese at Kala
Gary Usher’s Kala recently became the fastest restaurant project to reach £100k in Kickstarter’s history. It’s known for the featherblade beef, slow-cooked and fall-apart tender, drenched in a glossy rich gravy. But don’t miss the bar menu. A buttery grilled cheese sandwich (£5.50) is stacked with mature Tasty Lancashire cheese and a gentleman’s relish made with prunes, shallots, vinegar and plenty of warm spice.
A half-pound Reuben at The Bagel Shop
The Bagel Shop is home to Eat New York, whose street-food truck has attracted queues at festivals since they launched in 2015. The towering Reuben, two weeks in the making, brings together hot stacked pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. The buttery soft charred pastrami, available by the half-pound (£12.50) or mammoth full pound (£25), comes from 14-day salt-cured American brisket, dipped in house rub then smoked in-house for 15 hours.
Bikini at El Gato Negro
Small but perfectly formed and packed full of big bold flavours, El Gato‘s elegant toasted Bikini sandwich (£5.50) is filled with salty jamón serrano ham, gooey Manchego cheese and a luxurious truffle butter. It tastes like holiday. Sit on the top floor with its retractable roof and you can bask in the sunshine, too.
Philly cheesesteak at Beastro
Having worked their way up from farmer’s markets to street food traders to a permanent unit at Spinningfields, Richard Brown and partners James and Heather Taylor have created an independent eatery committed to quality local produce at Beastro in Spinningfields. Try their signature Philly cheesesteak sandwich (£6.50): slow roasted red peppers and onions topped with sliced steak and mature Cheddar cheese.
Buttermilk fried chicken/seitan at Firebird Hope
Head to music venue Yes for the best fried chicken in town. Crisp, golden 24-hour buttermilk-brined chicken thigh sits proudly in a sourdough bun (£6.95), with house slaw and koji mayo. The Triple 6 is a vegan-friendly version, with homemade seitan fillet coated in crispy polenta and topped with koji mayo and pickles. It’s devilishly good.
The Soul at Northern Soul
You can’t talk about toasted sandwiches in Manchester and not mention Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, with branches on Church Street and Piccadilly Station approach. A secret three-cheese blend on toasted sourdough is the ‘soul’ of sandwiches, priced from £4.50. Then add fillings such as mac and cheese with slow-cooked pulled pork or meatballs in homemade marinara sauce.