2007/02/09

SANDWICH SITUATION

We all know the situation of the Budapest sandwich business. Terrible quality bread, appalling fillings and toppings, most of the offer restricted to packaged, gas station fare. Sometimes one sees a ray of light shining when a new sandwich company hits the market, but that light fades quickly as there seems to be no real need among the general public for good sadwiches.

What are the white collar managers eating for lunch? Is it ordered from Tőzsdefutár or Gastroyal? Or do they order the XXL from Don Pepe or do they simply hop down to the nearest self service to eat a quick, gooey, spinach with some fried chicken. Whatever the case, we don't seem to be ready for good sandwiches: that element of fast-food culture is not there.

My most recent find is a small, but very impressively designed sandwich shop in MOM Park. Huge ovens create fresh made ciabbatta with olives and a variety of different sized baguettes. There are two tables for those wanting to have a drink or a coffee with their sandwiches. Now at midday, the sandwich bar offered a choice of 5 types of sandwiches, actually baguettes cut up into thirds with a little toothpick stuck on top. In terms of size: very far from Subway, but also from McKiwans little niblets.

My only problem was that 3/4 of the display cabinet was full of freshly baked breads, donuts and croissants, seemingly duplicating the offer of the pastry shop at the other end of the shopping mall. The bread here is obviously superior, but what about the sandwiches? Isn't that the unique offer here?

I chose the tomato/mozzarellla and the roast beef mini-baguette. The mozzarella had a slight salmony taste - maybe because of the knife that was used for slicing these ingredients - , but the beef one was exceedingly tasty with thinly sliced, good tasting meat and some rocket salad on top. Total price for the two: 550 Ft.

As fate would have it the premium deli (Bor és Tsa) next to this sandwich shop prepares some gourmet sandwiches of their own. The same large, olive ciabbatta bread here costs about double compared to next door (600 vs 350) and the toppings are measured by the gramm. This lead me to order 5 slices of speck and about 3 slices of gouda cheese with peppercorns and some dried tomato on top. Total cost for this maxi-sandwich, a whopping 1700 HUF.

I'd settle for something in between, but it's gonna take a cultural change first in terms of lunch eating habits.

Overall Sandwich 4/10
Overall Bakery products 6/10

French Bakery Mom Park Basement

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