Thursday, 18 April 2013

Foxcroft and Ginger, 3 Berwick Street

Not many things happen that change the face of humankind for ever: wars, space exploration,
archaeological finds, to name a few. But now we can add another to the list. A second coming. Not of Jesus but, instead, a first ever re-review. Foxcroft and Ginger are the lucky soles who get to bask in the glory. This guide and in turn the world has changed, it will never be the same again.

My first review of Foxcroft was back in Autumn 2011, a lot of things have happened since then. I won't go into all of them because well, some are personal and not to be shared across these pages. One change that I will write about though, is the rise of Berwick Street as a lunchtime destination. Hungry workers, travellers and layabouts flock to a vibrant market where purveyors of street food have descended offering all kinds of tempting lunchtime treats. For the greedy amongst us, it's a dream. For the established restaurants, and cafes its a frickin nightmare. How do you compete against competitors who can turn up for a few hours a day, pay a minimal pitch fee, then leave when the lunchtime rush is over? With no rent to worry about, they are free to chase the crowds. Pitch at one market one day, another the next. It is a highly attractive business plan, one for which you can't blame the stall holders for jumping on board in their droves. However the cafes and restaurants need to find a way to survive, and Foxcroft and Ginger has found a way.

Foxcroft started by redesigning the layout. Interior design is not my thing, but I am sure there were long and excitable conversations about what colours they could add, what pictures they could put on the walls, and where to place extra cushions. All important stuff, but in the end what they did was move the counter 90 degrees, and squeeze some more tables in.  It worked. The end result is more space for sitting and thankfully more space for standing while waiting for your lunch.

Their next move was the food, the important bit as far as we are concerned. This was much more subtle than their interior design restructuring. Just a few tweaks here and there to consolidate what were already good sandwiches, but good is not perfect and perfection is what we all strive for.

Sandwiches are beautifully simplistic - a filling of whatever you want, held together by two slices of bread or two halves of a crusty roll - nothing could be easier. As with all things that are so simple quality of ingredients is paramount. You must start with good bread. Foxcroft bake their own. Its sourdough and it's excellent. Job done. Next the fillings. We live in a modern world, times have changed, our palates have evolved. No longer are we satisfied with an unripe tomato, a leaf or two of limp lettuce and a few slices of mature cheddar. We can make those run of the mill, dreary sandwiches at home on a rainy weekend. We want to be spoilt when venturing out for lunch, tempted by sandwiches where the chef has put care, effort, and a little sweat, (preferably none in the sandwich) into creating the fillings. This is where Foxcroft excels. Every sandwich they offer tempts you. Whether it is the slow roasted pork and pickled vegetables; the halloumi, bechamel and mushroom; the buttermilk fried chicken; or the formidable ham and cheese French toast with honey mustard dressing. All of them are exceptional sandwiches, proper sandwiches. Sandwiches that restore my faith in humanity.

If that wasn't enough, then there is more good news. All the sandwiches cost £4.50 to takeaway and £5.50 to eat in. That's value for money that you cannot compete with. Change from a fiver, in these times, that's absurd. If you are even thinking of not going then you are a fool, and nobody likes a fool. I beg you to rethink, because if you don't you will be hungry and lonely. As all your friends will have left you to go to Foxcroft to try their extraordinary sandwiches.

Rating: 4.5/5
Cost: £


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