• Paul O'Connor

Toastiegate revisited

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Earlier this year I had a toasted sandwich for lunch from a place in Dublin. While the taste was ok apart from the burnt to a crisp bits, social media went, well, apoplectic. Print media followed with tabloids and broadsheets covering the story. Followed in turn by radio stations who also asked me on to discuss, I turned down all interviews but it had already trended under the #toastiegate.

Which led me to think, what makes a good toastie. I turned to social media to ask that question and here are the results of the Irish jury.

Meltdown, Leeson street and Montague street, Dublin- Their Ballymaloe melt is unreal and apparently great for a hangover. Via @ConanGShore

Gourmet House, Dungarvan, Co.Waterford gets the thumbs up from a good few people in the southeast. Their ham and cheese toastie with house relish is on another level. Good shout out @mooringsdungarv

Margadh in Howth gets the nod from @stevekdublin and calls it a full on toastie.

In Wicklow, The Bear Paw in Greystones is the place to go via @tanyapike4

In Tipperary, The Green Shop is the clear favourite but slightly off brief with their Sourdough Croque Monsieur with a big shout out from Con @theapplefarmer

In Cork it's a corker from The Idaho Cafe. Cashel blue, Monterey Jack and mozzarella. That's actually worth travelling to @idahocafe for. Lucky Corkonians.

In Dublin, @lottsandco have a terrific pork sandwich and @denisemcbrien gives a shout out also to Poulet Bonne Femme in Avoca for their chicken with extra crispy skin. I have to try that.

Domini Kemp suggests her delicious looking BGC (Best Grilled Cheese) Get this, Wicklow blue, Wicklow cheddar, Durrus, Coolea, Maldon, spring onions on sourdough. That deserves an Oscar, Available @joesdublin and @itsacafes Dunlaoghaire.

In Dublin, old favourites such as Kehoes, Peter’s Pub and Grogans all get the thumbs up from many. Ideally with a nice pint.

Suggested by @seanohargain Micheal O’Muircheartaigh’s video for the Irish times on making the perfect toastie. Check out Youtube for the video, it’s fab.

Another favourite with many was 147 Deli on Parnell street.

I asked Sharyn and James in The Skinny batch, Rush, for a little bit about their sandwiches :

The Search for the Perfect Toastie

When it comes to the humble toasted sandwich, I believe our minds instantly wander towards the image of oozing melted cheese and greasy fingers. This is a comforting thought, especially being a self-confessed cheeseaholic! A Cubano is one of the many iconic toasted sandwiches from around the globe that has become popularized over the last few years.

But we Irish are very familiar with our classic “toasted specials” from the pub - a humble toastie all the same but when paired with a side of crinkle cut crisps and a cuppa soup it’s a perfect way to warm up on a cold day. Its the nostalgia factor we all crave when eating a toastie, for me that is where we find our comfort.

Contrary to popular belief I think cheese has a time and a place in a sandwich. I know some diehards are probably shaking their heads but I’m of the opinion that each toasted sandwich is different and should be looked at from the ground up (or should I say the bread up), which is where I start almost every time.

The inspiration for the latest Toasted Special at Skinny Batch Bakery comes from my wandering around the house on a day off, looking for a mid-day snack - opening and closing the fridge door hoping something will magically appear on one of the semi-vacant glass shelves. The next port of call is usually the pantry where thoughts of risotto and lasagna spark excitement which quickly fade as its only lunchtime.

It begins to feel hopeless until I remember that loaf of sourdough I have stashed in the bread box. Upon inspection it’s not the freshest so it’ll have to be toasted. Suddenly the world opens up and I have a blank canvas on which anything is possible!

The three leftover slices of roast beef I have in the fridge pop into mind, then that jar of horseradish in the back of the pantry suddenly becomes very appealing. Here we go, I’m on a roll! Grab out the mayo and that jar of roast peppers - luckily too, some rocket leaves have managed to survive in the veg compartment. Now we’re talking, a Toaste is born.

There is definitely a time and a place for cheese in a sandwich but this is not one of them. Sumptuous roast beef with a sharp horseradish mayo to blow off the cobwebs paired with the sweetness of roast peppers , crisp rocket and that airy, golden brown sourdough toast. A match made in heaven!

So when I was asked to create a Saturday Special Sambo by Sharyn at Skinny Batch, this was the first thing that popped into my head. With a few refinements here and there, we had our gorgeous roast beef special sandwich which went down a treat with our customers and may have to re-appear sometime soon! Keep your eyes peeled for more of our specials and daily tasty treats.

James Fayer

Kitchen Manager Skinny Batch Bakery Lusk, North Co. Dublin


Instagram: @SkinnyBatchBakery

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