Monday, 26 November 2012

Review - Birleys

On practically my first day of school (not actually my first day of school, school is what I call King's because I think it's a little amusing that I've been in formal education for eighteen years), I bumped into someone from college. Apparently he works in Somerset House now. I don't know what he does but it sounds cool and more importantly he usually gets to go home at 6. As a result, mystery career was my career of choice for a while. I digress. Birleys! We were going to go last week but then I was busy having a dark day so my classmates went without me. I was upset and heartbroken and considered never forgiving them but then did when they agreed to go again. Also because they stopped me from accidentally going to the wrong sandwich shop (there is one on the corner opposite Birleys which also begins with B). I'm glad they steered me the other way because Birleys is amazing in a way the other shop probably isn't. I haven't been inside the other shop but Birleys is one of the best sandwich shops I've ever been inside. So much choice! Great hunks of roasts which is where they get their roast turkey/beef/whatever from. Tureens full of multicoloured, creamy soups which make you feel a little cosier to look at. 

Best of all, the soup and sandwich combo deal - large soup and 'half' sandwich for £4.95. I opted for minestrone and roast beef and salad the first time I went. I was too hungry to photograph the minestrone. I wanted something peppery with tomatoes and that's exactly what this was, subtle, slightly sweet, almost spicy tomatoes with flecks of pasta and carrots and other wholesome nourishing morsels. It was pretty great. And I was too excited about my beef sandwich to photograph that properly. Did I want butter and mayo and horseradish with my beef? Yes I did. It was medium rare and done perfectly and I wanted the heat and cream and fat to set it alight. It did but the meatiness remained central. And the salad wasn't a touch bitter, the tomato was juicy and the leaves crisp. Next time, I opted for the tuscan bean and sausage soup and turkey salad sandwich. I had initially been intending on going for the tuna sandwich but the soup combo just got it again. When I saw the tuna melt on barbary bread I questioned my choice.
One sip of that deep, pulsy stew let me know everything was right. Rich with proven├žal flavour and meaty pieces of lightly spiced sausage, I was pleased. And also surprisingly full. I saved my turkey sandwich for later. Again, it was meltingly buttery and tart but sweet with cranberry which went perfectly with the carved, salty turkey. This place is the Olives of London. 

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