So much more than meat betwixt bread - try these next time you're stuck for lunch
It's been a year and a half since our little Jake took off his sales hat and put on his sandwich connoisseur neckerchief. He explored the best of Manchester's delis and toasties back in the heady days of February 2021. Well, a lot has changed since then, boyo. There's a new sandwich specialist in town.
The rules are: Must be betwixt two bits of bread or an iteration thereof, no breakfast ingredients (breakfasts get enough love around here) and the sandwich must be something I would eat and enjoy myself - I will not recommend just anything for the sake of it. Also, please do not take this list as exhaustive. Sandwiches: Part III coming soon.
I've gone big on flavour, fillings and texture for this updated list. With special emphasis on nostalgia, and a sprinkling of culture. Trigger warning: I like ham.
If for some reason, you don't like the idea of the humble (or not so humble) butty for lunch, you can always search for hundreds of other lunch options across Greater Manchester on Confidential Guides.
For now, here are just some of the best sandwiches you can get your chops around in Manchester.
Where: Another Hand
What: Smoked beef, fennel, celeriac & kraut 'Reuben'
How much: £10.50
Another Hand is the restaurant that’s making ripples on the city’s restaurant scene as a cool neighbourhood bistro. Nonetheless, only true fans will be able to say that they tried the bigger-than-your-average toasties before they hit the big time. If you haven’t stood helplessly on Deansgate Mews with pickle juice and melted cheese dripping down your arm while tucking into a 3 Hands Deli NY-style Reuben, then you can’t sit with us. But you can sit inside the restaurant and eat it like a respectable member of society nowadays if you really want to. I also named my dog after this sandwich, which entitles me to free Reubens for life. Doesn’t it, guys? Doesn’t it?
Unit F, 253 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
Where: The Bread Club
What: The Cubano
How much: £7.95
There are eight sandwich specials on the menu at The Bread Club, each with its own fan club. Still, the Cubano is such a rare sight in Manchester that as soon as we saw that porky, pickle-y, cheesy cross-section flaunting itself on Instagram, we were in an Uber to Monton faster than Manchester City Council accepts high-rise planning applications. The Bread Club only opened in June, but it's quickly becoming one of the hottest lunch spots on Monton Road. Check out our Monton insider’s guide for plenty of picky bits, produce and pizza in this spicy slice of suburbia.
253 Monton Rd, Eccles, Manchester M30 9PS
What: Don Fabio
How much: £8.90
Italophiles across Manchester flock to Ancoats General store for MIRA’s cuzzetiello-style sandwiches. Traditionally made by tearing the end off a loaf, scooping out the doughy interior and stuffing it with whatever Nonna is cooking on the hob - usually piping hot meatballs in ragu. Roughly translating to “bread bowl sandwiches,” cuzzetiello have such a rich history in southern Italian culture that it’s a surprise somebody hasn’t made a living off them sooner. MIRA has succeeded with a menu fit for any back street in Napoli and my favourite is the Don Fabio which is full of all the best Italian bits and pieces from mortadella to olives and fior di latte cheese. Oh Marone!
Currently at: Ancoats General Store, 57 Great Ancoats St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AB
What: Monte Cristo
How much: £9.50
I came here all prepared to tell you about PKB’s Brekkie Bun, the saviour of many of my hangovers. But then I remembered the rules. Luckily somebody told me about the Monte Cristo and I haven’t been able to think about anything since. The very mention of espresso house-cured ham and I am anybody's. But add cheese and then egg-dip the homemade sandwich loaf and not only am I yours, but I’ll also douse myself in the maple syrup it comes with before falling asleep on the sofa.
Barton Arcade, Manchester M3 2BW
What: Korean Fried Chicken Bagel
How much: £10
There is nothing on the menu at Playfoots that I wouldn’t try. Every item that comes out of the kitchen is packed full of as much flavour as possible, with the signature Korean Fried Chicken Bagel packing a huge punch. The texture of the piled-high fried chicken thigh is crispy until the very last bite and pink pickled cabbage cuts through the richness of sticky-sweet Korean-style spicy sauce. The bagel balanced on top is almost lost to the altitude.
175 Monton Rd, Monton, Eccles, Manchester M30 9GS
Where: Primo Bagel
What: Littlewoods roast ham, mustard, coleslaw and seasonal leaves
How much: £8.50
Ham and coleslaw sandwiches are top tier - they take me back to my first job working in a seaside caf at the sweet age of 16. I used to pile ham and coleslaw into soft white barms all day for the nans to enjoy with a cup of soup and a pot of tea. Well, as my mum says, everything comes back around, including sandwich fillings. And Primo has upgraded my teenage memories with wholegrain mustard and fresh greens from Cinderwood Market Garden and placed it all in the centre of one of the best bagels this side of the Atlantic. This one is of the ‘everything’ variety but you can take your pick from the full range of flavours including marbled malt and pumpernickel.
Currently at: SEESAW, 86 Princess St, Manchester M1 6NG
What: Roast chicken on white bloomer
How much: £4.90
How great is the power of a wonderful sandwich? Perhaps the measure is the fact that this will be the second time I have recommended it on our website. When I first ate this back in May, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the addition of roast chicken flavour crisps to the rotisserie-style roasted chicken and lemon & herb mayo. Rack is kind of hidden away down a side street in Stockport, but it's worth seeking out if you’re not familiar because the guys there pride themselves in finding the perfect crisp to match their sandwich fillings. It’s the little things.
24 Lawrence Street, Stockport SK1 1DL
What: Tuna Mayonnaise
How much: £2.30
I hate to tell you about Shirley's, I really do. It's already too busy for my liking. Full of hungry tradies from the Albert Hall renovation project and city centre office workers getting their fill of completely underpriced, overfilled sandwiches and jacket potatoes at lunchtime. A tuna mayo barm bigger than my head is unfathomably £2.30. It comes with a warm welcome, pink plastic chairs and the choice to upgrade to tuna savoury (the addition of chopped onions and peppers) for an extra 20p. Add a packet of Lancashire Crisps and a square of homemade chocolate flapjack and you have the makings of the best lunch in town. Now don't go telling anybody.
48-50 Brazennose St, Manchester M2 5EB
What: Pani Cunzato
How much: £7.90
If you need a bit of sunshine in your life, may I suggest to you this tiny slice of Sicily under the Mancunian Way to visit brothers Riccardo and Romeo. They deal in Sicilian cuisine that can "arouse surprising emotions that you may never have experienced before". And so their nonna's recipe - a ciabatta with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, caciocavallo cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, black olives and black pepper - should ignite some passion within you. You'll be in seventh heaven if you love a real hit of savoury flavour served with a cheeky Sicilian smile.
Unit 17, HATCH, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
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