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Ideas for Sandwich Menus

By Jo Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

sandwiches, business ideas

Related tags: Bread, Sandwich, Cheese

Jo Godden looks at seven ideas for adding interest to your pub's sandwich menu

British Sandwich Week 2014

British Sandwich Week 2014 takes place between May 11 and 17th and this year the focus for those seven days will be the Great Charity Lunch Munch.

Combined with advocating taking a break at lunchtime, sandwich servers are being encouraged to support a charity of their choice with each sandwich sale.

The British Sandwich Association says the simplest way is to offer a donation every time a particular sandwich is bought during the period. Another idea would be to have a range of different charity sandwiches and let your diners choose which they want to donate to.

Pubs could also opt for a sandwich of the day to mark the week or run a competition for customers to suggest new fillings with judging events and a prize for the winner and insertion on the menu.

For more information and inspiration, log on to www.sandwich.org.uk

What pubs are planning for sandwich week

Bread on the bar ​All bread products, including gluten-free loaves, are home-made daily at freehold the Roseleaf in Leith, Edinburgh, where licensee Jonny Kane plans to make the most of British Sandwich Week with several new flavours going on sale over the bar and for use in sandwiches. At the pub’s popular Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties, where savoury products are proving increasingly popular, Sandwich Week is always an ideal opportunity to introduce innovative combinations: this year a new addition will be chilli chicken liver pâté with mango and coriander salsa on rye.

Charity focus ​At the Crescent, an Enterprise lease in Brighton’s Seven Dials, licensee Ian Axell is committed to using the freshest ingredients for light lunches that are delicious, healthy and affordable. During British Sandwich Week, a sandwich deal will be available with chips and a soft/hot drink for £6 from midday to 2.30pm. This year, the Crescent team will help to make this special week even more memorable by supporting their favourite charity, Support for Evie-May. This little girl comes into the pub with her parents and has had cerebral palsy from birth. Axell and his team, including his daughter Lauren, are donating 5p for every sandwich purchased to help Evie-May travel to the USA for more stem cell therapy to improve her condition.

Crossing the pond ​Transatlantic connections are being forged around Nottingham in May with top sandwiches and craft beer. Every year, some Castle Rock Brewery pubs (@CRBrewery) indulge in British Sandwich Week while others focus on American Craft Beer Week (12-18 May). So this year the pubs, such as the Fox & Crown in Newark, are celebrating the two events combined, with specially created menus of beer and sarnie-matching. Customers are being encouraged to “take the Route 66” of Castle Rock pubs, in and outside Nottingham, and indulge in an American-style sandwich made with the best of British ingredients. The menu will include the New York-style Reuben (a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, and sauerkraut, grilled between slices of rye bread) carefully paired with a Black Rye Saison, such as Goose Island Pepe Nero.

Community involvement ​Inviting followers to contribute their favourite sandwich recipe ideas via Twitter is helping to promote the Monachty’s community focus and involve customers directly in shaping the SABrains pub’s British Sandwich Week food offer in Aberaeron, Ceridigion, Wales. The simple strategy is win-win: customers are more likely to feel valued by a pub that is keen to ask them for their ideas, while social media boosts sharing of pictures, word-of-mouth recommendations and footfall among new and regular customers. It didn’t take long before chicken, avocado and Provolone cheese was suggested as a top seller, and the team are enjoying watching interest and demand growing as the week draws closer.

Best sandwich in Sandwich

Surely one of the most coveted prizes in this category must be the Sandwich of Sandwich title.

The lunchtime staple was reportedly invented by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, in 1762 when he did not want to be interrupted from the gambling table and therefore asked to be served meat served between two slices of bread for speed and convenience.

Competition was hot in the historic east Kent town, however licensees of Shepherd Neame’s Market Inn Bob Taylor and Jeanette Todd tasted success with their self-titled concoction, as judged by the current Earl.

Nestled between two chunky slices of seeded batch bread lies a combination of pastrami, feta, pulsed black beans, marinated red onion, cumin, tomato, fresh coriander and lime chilli mayonnaise. Served on a board with a salad and mini fries, the Market Special Sandwich costs £7.

The multiple mentions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by excited customers having a ‘sandwich in sandwich’ – priceless.

There is a signpost three miles out of the town which points to the small neighbouring hamlet of Ham as well as to Sandwich. It keeps being stolen.

Pimp the bacon butty

The sanctity of the classic bacon sandwich some may feel should not be tampered with.

However, take inspiration from the Dishoom Bombay cafés in London’s Shoreditch and Covent Garden who, for a limited time last autumn, teamed up with The Ginger Pig for their bacon naan.

Liking the ethos and quality of the acclaimed rare breed pig specialists, renowned among the cool venues in the capital, the café drove the partnership to pimp their existing breakfast menu favourite, which had already received best dish plaudits.

Sweet naan is cooked to order in the hot tandoori ovens. This was wrapped around thick chargrilled slices of smoked streaky bacon from herds of Tamworth, Old Spot, Berkshire and Plum Pudding varieties of pig - dry cured for five days using a mixture of rock salt, curing salt and Demerara sugar before being cold smoked overnight above natural oak chippings to create a fragrant smokiness.

Completing the flavour was tangy tomato-chilli jam, cream cheese and fresh coriander.

For £6, the dish received provenance and the two respected brands complemented one another with the resulting buzz and demand from strong marketing and the small window of opportunity during which to experience the special naan.     

It was served seven days a week between October 7th and November 7th last year. Dishoom are looking to potentially do something again this year with another supplier.

Lettuce is destined for better things than a garnish

At the Golcar Lily pub near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, food intolerances are sensitively dealt with and gluten free breads are prominent on the menu rather than being an afterthought with people travelling for them.

With a greater appreciation of dietary requirements, experimentation is also happening across the industry in terms of offering more variety of choice beyond bread for coeliacs and those counting calories or wanting to cut down on carbohydrates at lunchtime.

A Romaine or iceberg lettuce leaf can have a greater ambition than just providing a green garnish to a plate; its structure lends itself perfectly to life as cups and wraps respectively. Plus they are only four calories a pop.

Chicken strips, flaked salmon, roasted and mashed vegetables, fresh herbs and hummus can all sit neatly inside.

Sliced halloumi and tomato with basil sat within giant portabella mushroom caps served hot wrapped in a greaseproof paper parcels looks beautifully rustic as well as being tasty.

Search the Empowered Sustenance​ blog spot for a cauliflower wrap recipe, a great solution for lightweight fillings.

Delivery service

Sandwiches can be ordered in at lunchtime with free delivery, as long as your postcode is EC4.

The Punch Tavern in London’s Fleet Street provides the service to businesses within a 10 minute walk of the gastropub up to 250 people.

There are breakfast sandwiches and bagels with bacon, Biggles gourmet sausage, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and cream cheese and cucumber between 7.30am and 10am for £3 per person.

Lunchtime set menu options change with seasonality and market availability, but choices can include roast beef, roast lamb, honey roast ham, prawn, crayfish, British cheeses and roasted vegetables from £5 per person with additions of fruit, cakes, crisps, popcorn and Bombay mix plus drinks.

Equipment and glass hire is free and the food is served on either china plates and bowls or plastic trays as per the customer’s preference. The minimum order is four people.

This is part of a larger delivery menu with platters, canape selections and buffets. All are made fresh to order at the tavern.

New take on the old school lunch box

All four Yummy Pub Company venues in Surrey, Kent and London now serve their sandwiches and side portion of chips nestled in wooden lunch boxes.

Director Anthony Pender said the benefits have been two-fold – giving the essence of classic old school while having the massive bonus of allowing a faster service from order through kitchen to delivery to maximise the experience for diners for whom time is of the essence when they get away from their workplace for lunch.

Dumb waiters can accommodate 12 boxes rather than the human variety only able to manage three plates and entire outdoor tables can be served in one hit because of they are so easily stackable.

They were trialled in the Somers Town Coffee House, a company was found to create a bespoke set for each venue and now all their sandwiches, such as salt cured beef with beetroot and blackcurrant jam and parsnip crisps (£7.50) and immature cheddar, apple cider and chilli chutney (£7) arrive in them. 

Sandwich champion

The So! Bar and Eats in Harrogate won the best sandwich offer in our national pub food challenge with its Slow Dunkin Beef.

Pulled beef is topped with onion, tomato, lettuce and wholegrain mustard mayo, wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding and served with homemade chips, gravy on the side for dipping (£8.95) and ideally one of the pub’s traditional cask ales.

The pub also impressed with its range of ideas.

Head chef Owain Schofield said they are always looking for something different. There are currently Asian, South American and Mediterranean influences on the sandwich menu, which changes with the seasons.

He said everything starts with quality ingredients and they spend a lot of money on good bread as the perfect base.

The sandwiches come in ciabatta.

Owain’s favourite is The Cypriot – grilled halloumi, roast mushrooms, peppers and onion, leaves and chilli jam (£7.50).

Also available are burritos with hot and cold fillings and a mug of soup or side salad can be added to anything from the sarnie or burrito menu for an extra £1.  

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