About Anderson & Hill
Sandwiches make me sentimental and in quiet moments at my desk, I daydream about returning to Italy to once more enjoy the best one I ever ate. It was years ago and I was in the Cinque Terre, on a first trip to Italy with the lady I’d later marry. We were waiting at a bus stop and I watched, as a man in overalls disappeared inside a post office, returning some minutes later with a slab of ciabatta.
Sensing that he was about to eat something delicious, I crossed the road and entered the post office, asking the server to make me what the man had just bought. What arrived in my hand was fresh ciabatta, slathered in Genovese pesto, with layers of fennel salami and fresh mozzarella. The sandwich cost me little and with time to kill, my future wife and I descended the steps leading down to the sea and and sat on a bench eating, as the waves crashed around us.
Birmingham doesn’t have the landscape or drama of the Cinque Terre but a trip to Anderson and Hill, got me thinking about places and food that I love. I went there this week for lunch, when up in the midlands with work and it’s a deli that I’ll be returning to.
Situated in the Great Western Arcade, Anderson and Hill is a small shop with high ceilings and walls lined with shelves. On the shelves and in the fridges, all sorts of delicacies are for sale, including beers, pasta, tinned fish and cured sausage.
I arrived around midday and joined the back of a queue that snaked out the shop. From the entrance, I spied a board above the serving stand where sandwiches and prices were listed. Some of the orders were made fresh but the queue moved quickly and I ordered a Roman sandwich, which cost £6.50 and was made from fresh ciabatta, brushed with olive oil, Napoli and Milano salami, Taleggio and sun blush tomatoes.
Everything about this sandwich was excellent, the ciabatta was chewy, the mozzarella creamy, the tomatoes tangy and the meat peppery. Even the packaging was good. In the queue, I’d been a little sceptical about the price tag but the sandwich more than justified the cost.
In the shop, my boss and I had agreed to order different sandwiches and go halves but back at the office, as I tucked into the Roman, I feared that I’d made a mistake.
I need not have worried because the New Yorker was even better. The New Yorker sandwich cost £5.85 and made from fresh ciabatta, Pastrami, Napoli salami, pickles and mustard. The bread was of the same for both sandwiches but the Pastrami added an even greater depth of flavour, which complimented the heat from the mustard and the crunch of the pickles. Tucking into this, reminded me of the salt beef beigels from Brick Lane and the Pastrami sandwiches from Katz’s Deli in New York, both firm favourites. It was even up there with the Banh Mi that I recently ate on a trip to London.
As well as the sandwiches, I felt it rude not to try the pork pies. As a great lover of pork and pastry, I’m always on the lookout for new treats and the ones from Anderson and Hill exceeded my expectations. The pork and pastry were full of flavour and there wasn’t too much jelly. I ate the pork pie on the short walk back to the office and I finished it without needing or wanting mustard. At £2.20, the pork pie was a better price than I’m used to in Hove.
Overall, Anderson and Hill was an exceptional deli and well worth a visit if you’re in the area. The service was swift and friendly, the sandwiches are exceptional and there’s plenty of treats to fill your pantry, if indeed you have one and the requisite funds to fill it.