Wednesday, 17 August 2016
Cure & Cut, Covent Garden
After noticing, once again, that the average length of the posts on this blog seems to be creeping up, I'm going to make a renewed effort to do a few single-dish or sandwich bar reviews. Takeaways and casual lunchtime spots are just as much a part of the fabric of London's food culture as any Michelin-starred tasting menu, and deserve just as much attention. Well, the good ones do, at least.
Unfortunately, though I was hoping that I'd be able to bring you news of a great new pastrami joint in Covent Garden, the reality of Cure & Cut on Monmouth Street didn't quite live up to expectations. But before I get to the details, a little lesson in How Not To Soft Launch Your Restaurant.
I first attempted lunch at Cure & Cut at midday on Friday last week, only to reach the front of the queue to discover a) They'd run out of pastrami and b) Even if they hadn't, the 50% off food offer they'd been advertising on Twitter applied to everything apart from the pastrami. Guys, I can get sweet potato salad and crispy kale anywhere; I've come to you for some nice salt beef. But then I suspect you knew that, didn't you.
Anyway, promotional cynicism aside, the product still wasn't that much to shout about. The beef didn't have much flavour, and was quite dry and chewy; it was impossible to take a bite out of the (faintly stale) rye bread without it drawing all the filling back out in one go, which is a Major Sandwich Annoyance. The Reuben was better, as the bland beef was masked by some nice melted cheese, mustard and zingy sauerkraut, and the toasted bread meant you didn't notice it was slightly stale, but it still managed to be fairly underwhelming, certainly not worth the queue. Tongue and Brisket on Leather Lane is probably my favourite in central (where I've never had to queue); and of course on Brick Lane you can get a beigel packed full of the good stuff, all soft and melty with fat, for £4. I'm comparing apples with oranges in terms of property rent, I know, but if all I can think about when eating a sandwich is how much better and cheaper I can get the same thing elsewhere, then someone's doing something wrong.
Oh, and the crispy kale? It was fine. But I'm sure you won't need telling you're better off getting it from Whole Foods, where you won't need to queue and they probably won't run out of anything just as you reach the counter. Right, that's enough of my whining. Onwards and upwards.
Not much chance of Cure & Cut making the app, but Covent Garden is a hotbed of alternatives.