Monday, October 29, 2007

E. Biggles, Marylebone Lane

E. Biggles is a purveyor of fine sausages based in Marylebone (just north of Oxford Street). It's basically a butchers that specializes in sausages, as opposed to a sandwich shop, so don't expect any tables, chairs or the niceties of a Soho cafe. If you peek down the spiral staircase into the basement area, you will probably see the chopping board and trays of mince that go into the Biggles links.

The unusual setting combined with the gentleman who served me - a glum looking, elderly gent who trudged up the stairs to serve me - gave the whole experience an almost Dickensian feel. It was great!

As well as selling uncooked sausages for you to take home, Biggles also has a daily selection of cooked sausages that they sell in simple baguettes for you to eat right away.

The one I chose was their 'signature sausage' - the Marylebone, a delicately herbed, pork variety. It came in a plain, supermarket-bought baguette from Morrisons. A good variety of condiments were on the counter.

A great sausage - lovely flavour, moist with a barely noticable casing. It was nicely cooked too, with a little bit of charring. The baguette was good and seemed fresh, although a softer, more floury variety might have complimented this particular sausage even better.

If you want something less traditional, there is usually a spicier sausage available too (they have literally dozens of varieties in the shop).

4.5 out of 5. A real treat. Highly recommended.

Be warned that there is nowhere in the vicinity for you to eat your sausage baguette, so you may have to stand and eat it in the street as I did, which was a little awkward.

Ebiggles has an official website here, although it wasn't working when I tried.

You can find some more info on .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Coffea, Brewer Street

Brewer Street is one of the most interesting and diverse streets in Soho, and indeed in London.

Along its length you will find excellent Japanese noodle restaurants, sushi bars, a Japanese grocery store, a couple of Italian restaurants (one owned by 'celebrity chef' Aldo Zilli), a fantastic French seafood bistro called Randall and Aubin, a falafel bar, an Italian deli, pubs, bookshops, a health spa, two DIY stores, a gay lifestyle emporium, adult sex shops and a porn cinema.

And a travel agent and three hairdressers. And a little shop that sells old-fashioned, English sweets from giant jars.

And it's not even a long street!

It also contains a number of small cafes one of which is very good (Cafe Rio) and another which is... well...

My Coffea experience started well enough, with friendly, courteous staff and no need to wait as the place was empty. I ordered a sausage sandwich with brown sauce. The waitress suggested a baguette and as I like to go with staff suggestions in places like this, a baguette it was.

Perhaps I've been spoiled with all the great places I've discovered recently (see the Top 5) but this was a truly atrocious sausage sandwich. The sausage was pasty and mushy, with little semblance of meat inside its casing, which looked like it had a fake tan.

The bread was definitely stale - but how many days old I couldn't quite tell. The attempt to toast the baguette had only succeeded in making it flaky and crumbly.

The brown sauce was generic cafe brown. Normally not a crime but in this context, it added to the misery quite considerably.

A bad excuse for a sausage sandwich and a rare instance of me buying a sausage sandwich but not finishing it.

0 out of 5. Avoid, and walk a few extra steps to Cafe Rio.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Sausage and Bread Top 5 (October 2007)

I've discovered some really good places over the last few months so I thought the Top 5 needed a bit of revising.

Olly Olson is no longer with us and unfortunately Dolce Cafe has had to make way (although it's still a place that I would recommend for a better than average sausage sandwich). So, here we go. Here's the New Top 5:

Hangs on to fifth spot for its efficiency in preparation and quite decent pork bangers.

Takes over as the hot dog representative in the Top 5. Has a range of toppings to choose from and a passion for flavourful food.

Currently the best, basic sausage sarnie I've found in Soho and an excellent sandwich shop all round.

A fine chorizo and roasted pepper ciabatta in this haven for foodies. Their daily specials sometimes feature sausage too.

1 - PAUL (salami baguette)

It's a really tough call between Paul and Fernandez & Wells since both sandwiches are exceptional. In the end, I thought the Paul salamai bauguette just edged into the top spot based on the perfect mix of flavours and the slightly more sophisticated presentation. It just can't be improved upon.

Both sandwiches are a real treat, though.

Oct 2nd 2007