About Dom’s Subs
22 Bevis Marks, London EC3A 7JB
Yesterday in London, I went to Dom’s Subs and ate the best sandwich of my life. I’d been meaning to visit for a while, upon the recommendation of a colleague, but what I ate exceeded expectations. I’m often dubious when a food spot gets recommended, taste is such a subjective thing but yesterday showed that I shouldn’t be so cynical. Taking risks feels great and the payoff can be enormous.
After the commute from Hove, I had a busy morning in the office, where getting out for lunch seemed increasingly unlikely. I found it strange how some colleagues were determined to hold meetings over lunch and I spent much of my time rearranging my calendar. Part of the appeal of going into the office is seeing people and spending time with them away from screens. I resent cost and time spent commuting, if I spend all day at the office on calls.
When I eventually escaped at lunchtime, I took the short walk to Dom’s Subs and joined the queue snaking out the door. Situated on Bevis Marks, at the base of a big building, Dom’s Subs is in a rather anonymous part of town, where tall buildings and chain food shop abide. My fellow patrons were an assorted bunch of city workers; some looking like marketing folk and the rest bankers. There were all the usual characters, the guy with the Barbour jacket and the Airpods, the other guy in the three-piece suit and camel coat and the lady that laughed a little too loudly, as if trying to fit in with her gilet-wearing colleagues.
After a few minutes, I was inside the shop and the first thing that struck me was the delicious smell of fresh bread. The sandwich menu towered above my head and I liked how a picture of each sub was displayed. One of the great disappointments in life is ordering food and having something unexpected turn up. Scanning the sandwiches on offer, everything looked delicious but I decided to go for 2 Cold 2 Cuts.
At £10, the 2 Cold, 2 Cuts wasn’t a cheap lunch but the list of ingredients was impressive. The sub comprised Fennel Salami, Mortadella, Roast Porchetta, Cotto Arrosto, Artichoke Spread, Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Relish, Vinegar Peppers and Shredded Iceberg. The mix of big flavours and textures was exactly the kind of thing I wanted and why I felt delighted that I hadn’t taken the easy option and followed the crowd to Eye Falafel.
Standing in the queue, as it got nearer to my turn to order, I kept glancing down at the array of fresh ingredients and I tried to figure out what went into which sandwich. I loved the look of the colourful spreads, the angry looking chillis, the pickled vegetables and the nameless sauces. I wanted it all and I wanted to be left locked in the shop over night.
The queue moved quickly and the staff were both friendly and efficient. There was an assuredness about the whole experience, as if they knew perfectly well that the subs they were building would be the best part of our day. When it came my turn, I was impressed my how quickly my sub was built. It looked both wholesome and rustic and it was tightly packed to avoid any spillages. As well as my sandwich, I bought some fancy looking crisps and a Cherry Coke. The server rung up my order confirmed what I already knew, that Cherry Coke is indeed the best Coke.
With my bumper haul, I felt giddy with excitement on the way back to the office. The sub was dense and weighty but I tried to grip it lightly, for fear of squeezing the goodness out. Once inside the office, I took the lift upstairs and and ate with a colleague in the communal kitchen. There were passing glances from other workers at the size of my sandwich and that was a form of vindication. Unwrapping the sandwich felt good and eating it felt better. It was one those times where the excitement and expectation were exceeded by the experience.
I loved how the sub was tightly wrapped and cut in half. Each half was a substantial meal in itself but I knew I’d eat the whole thing in one sitting. The bread was excellent, dense enough to soak up the moisture with a lovely crust on the outside. The mix of meats and spreads added depth of flavour and the lettuce gave the sub delicious crunch. By far the highlight was the vinegar peppers, that gave the sandwich sourness and bite and helped cut the fattiness of the meat. As I sat in the kitchen, someone showed up for a meeting with a tray of Pret sandwiches and I smiled, knowing that my lunch was better.
Going back to work after my visit to Dom’s Subs was tough. I felt full, not uncomfortably so but enough to sense some motivation sapped. More than anything, I was awed at having discovered something so brilliant and I feared for future trips to London, knowing that I’d return to Dom’s Subs with alarming regularity. It might cost me but the experience left me richer.
I didn’t manage to eat the fancy crisps that I’d bought but I was grateful for them later, when stuck at Haywards Heath on my three-hour commute home. The train delays and the lashing rain felt like minor footnotes in a day when I ate the best sandwich of my life. Food can do that, elevate the mundane the give pause to enjoy simple pleasures and inspire the need to write.
Be sure to check out to my review of The Doms Club and This Spicy D, another two excellent sandwiches from Dom’s Subs.