Wednesday 15 January 2014

Benugo at Covent Garden

Ah, London. The city where most people get sandwiches for lunch. A week into first year, having come straight from Singapore where food is good, plentiful and cheap, it got so depressing that I wound up taking the bus home in between classes to cook my own meals just so I wouldn't have to eat another soggy egg mayo from the supermarket ever again. In the time that has passed, I've since lowered my expectations dramatically learned to appreciate a well-made sandwich. Thus, when BA sounded the call for a group lunch at Benugo's shop in Covent Garden ("Guys, they have great coffee! And I think they do sandwiches!"), I didn't outright refuse as I might have done three years ago. 

The first thing that greeted me was the display of roasted pork bellies, the current special. Stood proudly under the spotlight, it was like a display of gleaming jewels. Didn't bother looking at the rest of the menu - my mind had been made up for me. Found BA in the basement with his friend T, realized we were all after the same thing, and went to place our orders back at the cashier upstairs so I'd have a chance to watch the sandwiches get assembled. 

Armed with my receipt, I went over to the sandwich counter, where the sandwich guy was already carving through the crackling and into the soft pork belly. The main reason he'd managed to anticipate my arrival was due to the fact that I initially tried ordering the sandwiches directly from him, and he had to wave me over to the counter. Perhaps it was more efficient that way though, since he'd pulled out the ciabatta loaves as well and all that was left was arranging everything nicely. 

Looking at the camera I was clutching in my hand, with a sly wink, the sandwich guy told me to take all the photos I wanted, and proceeded to tell me about his deep appreciation for this particular variety of sandwich. 

"It's the best one we sell," he murmured, like he was letting me in on a secret, "And the apple chutney goes very well with the pork."

The lovely man helped me carry everything to our tables downstairs as well. I was very glad I didn't have to balance the plates - the last time I worked as a waitress, I managed to drop a knife on someone's leg because my motor skills are so poor. 

As sandwiches go, these were fairly enjoyable. The pork belly had been well cooked and my only issue was that there wasn't enough of it. There was a good tang to the apple chutney and the salad greens were crisp. Really, the only issue I had was that the bread was a bit on the dry side and I kept having to take sips of tea so it didn't end up sticking to the roof of my mouth. 

IZV and MJ also joined us for lunch, and IZV had the Sicilian with Brie, which by all accounts was a pretty tasty sandwich. Not a bad place for a simple lunch: the price was right and it felt quite healthy as well after all that rich food we'd been eating in Amsterdam.

Sandwiches = Success. We're in London after all. 

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