I like to think of myself as both a sandwich connoisseur and also a sandwich innovator. I excel at creating the bloody things – so much so that I once managed to create a truly sublime Yorkshire pudding, broccoli and gravy sandwich which is still talked about to this day.
Ever since Sir Gary Sandwich placed two slices of Milk Roll on either side of a couple of sheets of Billy Bear ham in 1973 the sandwich has been a British classic – here’s my selection of the best ones to eat in Manchester.
Bourbon Brisket and Bacon Sub at Cane & Grain
Them crazy New Yorkers love two things. One is shouting stuff in the street – ideally at strangers or tourists. The second is to eat sandwiches. Go in to any deli in New York and you can pick yourself up a bagel, a hero, a hoagie, a po’boy, a grinder, a sub – they pretty much all mean the same thing – lashings of meat and pickles and salad in between some bread and wrapped in 2kg of tin foil for easy transportation. The Bourbon Brisket and Bacon Sub (£9) in Cane & Grain has the same idea – basically slow-cooked smoked beef brisket with lashings of lovely, lovely bacon on a roll.
Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA
Bánh Mì at Viet Shack
The Vietnamese got their old French colonial past and have managed to turn something horrible into something fantastic – the Bánh Mì. Typically a slightly softer French baguette filled with meat, cucumber, pickled carrots and coriander, you can’t go far wrong with the fantastic offerings at Viet Shack in the Arndale Market. Their BBQ Pork with Sriracha is a revelation, and it’s only 3 sheets!
Viet Shack, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH
Lobster Po Boy at Randall & Aubin
The Lobster Po Boy comes from that part of America which is just full of wooden houses, boats and millions of slippery fish – New England. Sometimes called the Lobster Roll, this sandwich oozes elegance and sophistication, until you bite into it and get creamy mayonnaise all over your face that is. Randall & Aubin are absolute experts when it comes to anything from the sea so you know that your lobster will be succulent and sweet, but most importantly – fresh. Add it to a brioche bun with some lemon and butter and you’re in heaven.
Randall & Aubin, 64 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BN
BLAT at Common
I’ve eaten a few times at Common, mostly while waiting for their quiz to start so I can show off just how much pointless information I know. The first time I ate here I had some sort of Korean burger special which, although pretty spicy, was excellent. The second time I tried the BLAT, which is a bit of a twist on one of the best sandwiches of all time – the BLT. So you’ve got the standard Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, but there’s also Avocado on there to add to the hipster vibes. It was very, very nice and as an added bonus if you go there before 5pm on a weekday – their sandwiches are only £6.50.
Common, 39 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
Eastern Chicken at Katsouris
Anyone who works in or near Deansgate will know Katsouris as one of the best places to get some food in town. It’s always busy and for a good reason – they have a massive selection of deli treats including a lovely hot carvery roast every day and some corking sandwiches. I’ve had a few from here in the past and can recommend pretty much anything – I will be recommending the Eastern Chicken today though. If you go for the Full size (£6.50) it’s a butty rammed with Tikka marinated chicken fillets, salad and lashings of Tzatziki, which would be enough to feed a family of 4 from Blackpool for a week.
Katsouris Deli, 113 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BQ
Pig On A Lead at Northern Soul
There might be some sandwich ‘experts’ out there who proclaim that the toastie is in fact, not a sandwich. Well I beg to differ, and frankly who bloody cares when Northern Soul are doing such a good job of putting cheese in-between bread and grilling it. The stand out champion must surely be the Pig On A Lead (£6.50), which comes jammed with 3 cheese Mac & Cheese and their 9 hour BBQ Pulled Pork. It’s likely that you will struggle to move after smashing one of these – so maybe take it back to the office so you’re not late back.
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, 10 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN
Moroccan Lamb Baguette at Rustica
Pretty much a Manchester institution, Rustica on Hilton Street is probably the go-to place to head if you want a top value, filling sandwich which will keep hunger locked up until your next birthday. There’s loads to choose from for both meat eaters and veggies, with their pretty famous Milano coming in both iterations. Personally, I enjoy their Moroccan Lamb baguette (£3.20) because I think that lamb and mint yoghurt go together better than Barry and Paul Chuckle. This place can get proper busy at lunch times, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
Rustica, 1 Hilton St, Manchester M4 1LP
0161 835 3850
Chicken Poutine Barm at Hawksmoor
Surprisingly, Hawksmoor over on Deansgate have a selection of sandwiches on their Bar Menu which I can genuinely say are absolutely fantastic. Their most notorious sandwich, and probably tastiest is their Chicken Poutine Barm (£8) which is an absolute pleasure to look at – never mind put in your mouth and chew. It’s got some succulent chicken in there, which is then topped with a fried egg, chips, cheddar curds and finally, the all-important gravy. It will instantly transport you back to the school canteen – but in a brilliant, much tastier way.
Hawksmoor, 184-186 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WB
Panga Tortas at El Capo
I seem to always go on about the Tortas at El Capo but it’s only because it’s the only place I know in Manchester that actually does them. Whenever I’ve been to Mexico my entire sustenance has typically come from one of these lovely, huge Mexican sandwiches so to be able to find them here is a major plus point. My choice here would be the Panga Tortas (£8.50) which is a massive collection of deep fried chipotle panga, kale, red onion and sour cream guacamole all shoved into a big bun. Or muffin if you’re from Oldham.
El Capo, 12 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
Cheeseburger Toastie at Home Sweet Home
Once again we have a toastie, and once again I don’t care what you think. Home Sweet Home are pretty famous for making their Cheeseburger Toastie one of the ‘must try’ dishes in the city and it’s clear to see why. 50-minute burger manufacturers Almost Famous provide the filling of a smashed beef burger patty, cheddar cheese, onions, pickles, American mustard, ketchup, bacon and mayo – all shoved between two proper pieces of bread. It’s really very nice, and if you couple it with one of their amazing cakes – you might as well make an appointment at the GP right now for a diabetes exam.
Home Sweet Home, 49-51 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
Great Northern, Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
New NQ Deli and restaurant (and secret bar) West Corner have a pretty decent selection of sandwiches which you can order and then eat at the counter like George McFly in Back to the Future. The selection is extensive and I struggled to make a decision when I went on a Friday night with some of the lads. I eventually settled on The West Coast C.A.B (£8) which is a classic combo of chicken, cheese, bacon and avocado. This place is also great for quick lunch-time butties at their corner deli.
West Corner, 21 Hilton St, Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 1JJ
0161 241 7070
Chorizo and Mozzarella at Slice
I love nothing more than sitting outside on the sun, a beer in one hand and a sandwich in the other while watching the world go by. I could quite happily sit for hours, slowly drinking and eating myself into an early grave just looking at people’s stupid haircuts or terrible gear and quietly thinking myself superior. Probably the best place to do this in the city centre is Slice on Stevenson Square, where, if you don’t want one of their brilliant slices of pizza, you can opt for a freshly prepared sandwich – usually brimming with classic Italian flavours. The selection can change each day just like the pizza, but if you can get the Chorizo and mozzarella one then you’re in for a treat. Give any of them a try though – I’ve never been disappointed.
Slice, 1 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN
Ham, Egg & Chips at Bunny Jackson’s
You’ve got a full page of sandwiches to choose from over at Bunny Jackson’s and they’re all fantastic. I was going to wax lyrical about their brilliant French Dip (£7.50) which comes packed with some tender slow braised beef brisket, onions and horseradish mayo and a pot of gravy for some serious dippage. But I recently discovered their Ham, Egg & Chips Sandwich (£7) and was so impressed that I think that would be my choice from now on in. It’s got Ham Hock, a fried egg and chips all shoved between two pieces of bread just waiting for you to bite in and let the yolk drip everywhere. Brilliant.
Bunny Jacksons, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
Club Sandwich at Black Dog Ballroom
Lumped in on the same page as their brilliant burgers, it’s quite easy to miss out on Black Dog Ballroom’s tasty House Club Sandwich (£7). When it comes to lunch time though – you will be grinning like Han Solo on a rollercoaster as you discover that you can get this big bastard for only £6 (and it comes with fries)! As you’d expect from a Club Sandwich it’s a triple decker affair with chicken, bacon and cheese, topped with salad and a lovely bit of mustard.
Black Dog Ballroom NQ, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
Black Dog Ballroom NWS, 11-13 New Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NP
Rotisserie Beef at The Bay Horse Tavern
Specialising in the kind of slow cooked meat that you’d find turning in Henry VIII’s fireplace, it will come as no surprise to anyone that the gang at the Bay Horse decided that they didn’t just want to serve it up on a plate, they wanted to make a sandwich out of it too. There’s some great options available including a brilliant Fish Finger Butty (£7) but personal favourite must be the Rotisserie Beef number, which comes with a lovely pot of gravy for some extensive dippage.
The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
The Ruben at Eat New York
Head on down to Eat New York on Oldham Street and you can sample probably the best Pastrami Reuben sandwich this side of the Atlantic. Made famous throughout the world due to its prevalence in the delis of New York, the Ruben was actually invented in the dark recesses of Nebraska by a bloke called Reuben Kulakofsky. The sandwich features stacks of salty, peppery pastrami, sauerkraut, cheese and Russian dressing and the one at Eat New York is very special. It will set you back a tenner for the half pound version, but you’ll be full for days afterwards – unless you’re a greedy bastard of course.
Eat New York, 64 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE