5 Delicious Ways to Elevate Your Lunchtime Sandwich

5 Delicious Ways to Elevate Your Lunchtime Sandwich

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    During the first UK lockdown, social media was a smorgasbord of home-fermented kombucha shots and the fruits of experimental baking. Now our cooking fervour has long since cooled – and the WFH crowd is falling back on old habits, reaching for the cheese and Branston pickle.

    Well-executed, however, the modest sandwich can still be a culinary event. Better still, it can be a versatile, functional delivery system for the proteins and micronutrients your body needs. You just need to be a little bolder with it. According to Max Halley – owner of the game-changing Max’s Sandwich Shop in North London – a sandwich’s ingredients should tick all of the following boxes: “hot, cold, sweet, sour, crunchy, soft”. That’s less tuna and sweetcorn, more spiced porchetta and pickled watermelon.

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    There is, of course, still a time and a place for a pretty, plant-based Buddha bowl. But equally, there’s room for heavenly bread and getting your teeth into something more satisfying. For a hassle-free, nutrient-packed lunch, they’re the best things since… well, you know.

    Chris Brooks

    Ham, Egg ‘n’ Chips

    Served on home-made focaccia baked at Max’sSandwich Shop in north London, this blends crispy carbohydrates with a generous serving of protein. It’s the ideal refuel after a long session– of both the dumbbell and Excel sheet varieties. maxssandwichshop.com

    • Slow-cooked ham hock
    • Fried egg
    • Shoestring fries
    • Piccalilli
    • Malt vinegar mayonnaise

      Ham Hock

      This smoky, cured meat is taken from the leg knuckle joint, making it rich in collagen. As well as topping you up on amino acids, it supports joint health, sleep and recovery.


      Max makes his with cauliflower, carrot, apple, fennel, among other things – all natural prebiotics. Buy (or make) proper fermented versions for extra gut-health points.

      Prawn S+dwich

      This prawn sandwich from Sam Herlihy and James Ramsden of Sons + Daughters – the duo behind Hackney’s Pidgin – comes with added bite. The jalapeño, ginger and fibre-rich cabbage will keep hunger at bay all afternoon. sonsanddaughterslondon.com

      • Cornish prawns
      • Prawn crackers
      • Napa cabbage
      • Pickled ginger
      • Jalapeño vinaigrette
      • S+D mayonnaise


        Along with being one of the lowest-calorie sources of protein available, prawns are a good source of copper, high levels of which improve your ability to burn body fat.


        Traditionally used as a mid-meal palate cleanser in Japan, ginger is also a potent anti-inflammatory, improving gut health as well as easing muscle aches.

        Babi Guling and Pickled Watermelon

        Traditional Balinese “babi guling” is a whole-roasted pig. This sanger from Dalston’s Snackbar is a healthy-ish homage: pork belly cooked with a nutrient-dense blend of lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime and brain-boosting turmeric, for a natural pick-me-up. snackbarlondon.com

        • Balinese spiced porchetta
        • Pickled watermelon
        • Tamarind sambal
        • Fermented chilli mayonnaise


          Though far from a sandwich staple, the fruit merits inclusion for more than just flavour. It’s a source of L-citrulline, which supports muscle maintenance and fat loss.


          Branch out from Sriracha. This vitamin C-rich paste is made with chillies, vinegar and a variety of aromatics. The tart tamarind fruit in this one adds extra antioxidants.

          The King Banh-Mi

          Vegan sandwiches are wont to default to houmous, but they needn’t. In this Vietnamese bánh mì from Bodega Rita’s in King’s Cross, the usual meat is replaced with umami-rich mushrooms, along with punchy herbs and pickles for energy-lifting vitamins. ritasdining.com

          • Roasted king oyster mushrooms
          • Peanut butter
          • Carrot and daikon pickle
          • Coriander
          • Peanuts
          • Mint chilli


            As well as lending dishes a savoury, meaty flavour, mushrooms are natural immune-boosters, as well as providing plenty of energy-producing B vitamins.

            Peanut Butter

            Good brands roast the nuts in their skins, then grind to a paste adding nothing but a pinch of salt. The roasting process actually increases the nuts’ antioxidant content.

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            Iberian Katsu Sando

            This is London’s most hyped sandwich – or “sando” – for good reason. Tōu is an outlet in Oxford Street’s Arcade food market that sells nothing but. It breads its pork in panko, then pairs it with tangy jam and shallot sauce in a cakey brioche: an indulgent delivery system for the macros you need when working (out) hard. arcade-london.com

            • Iberico pork katsu
            • Cabbage
            • Shallot sauce
            • Raspberry jam


              Researchers have found nearly 20 flavonoids and 15 phenols in cabbage, all of which act as antioxidants. It’s also linked to healthy testosterone production.

              Raspberry Jam

              Look for a jam that’s at least 50% fruit, ideally more. Raspberries are a great source of vitamin C, which reduces production of the stress hormone cortisol.

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