Kentish Express Ashford & District - What's On


Food aficionado Max Halley explains to Prudence Wade how to make the perfect sandwich


It’s crunchy, salty, tangy, herby, soft and fragrant – the ideal combinatio­n for a sandwich. But this is no average sandwich. This is a sandwich made, in front of me, by Max Halley – sandwich expert, Sunday Brunch regular and owner of a cult London restaurant.

At Max’s Sandwich Shop, you won’t get a few cold cuts slammed between slices of bread. Instead, Max’s approach to sandwiches is far bigger and bolder – his mantra is well summed up when he says bluntly: “It’s a meal, not a snack.”

The sandwich Max, 41, makes for me is fried spring rolls inside fresh focaccia, with a funky vegan mayonnaise, kimchi mixed with sauerkraut, sesame seeds and a whole lot of fresh herbs, called That’s How We Spring Roll.

It’s absolutely delicious, and very much a meal. Like many sandwiches Max has created, the filling isn’t typically what you’d have between two slices of bread – other of his creations include the lasagne sandwich or the shop’s bestseller, the ham, egg and chips.

“I tend to think of dishes and plates of food, then think about how to turn those into a sandwich – because sometimes if you try to think about a sandwich, you end up just making a deli sandwich,” Max says.

With a culinary background, Max had the opportunit­y to open a restaurant a decade ago, and could have “opened a small plates, modern

European restaurant trying for a Michelin star – like a great deal of other people do”, he says, but that didn’t quite suit his boisterous personalit­y.

“I wanted to take the thing that had mass appeal, but had been a bit neglected. And I thought: it’s sandwiches.”

This was particular­ly crystallis­ed after a “sandwich pilgrimage” to New Orleans, where among all the classic dishes, he had a stewed roast beef sandwich which completely changed his perspectiv­e.

But back to Max’s Sandwich Shop, where Max is putting together my dish. Despite looking like a fairly humble sandwich shop, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes – including fresh bread made daily for every sandwich.

“One loaf makes 10 sandwiches and on a Saturday, we will do 450 covers or something like that,” Max says, which means the team is “banging out 45 loaves on a Saturday”.

As he builds the dish, he

dives into what components seeds are sprinkled over the are needed for the perfect sauce, then freshly deep-fried sandwich. That tangy spring rolls that Max rolled homemade vegan mayonnaise himself with homemade is slathered on both slices of pickled veg are then placed on bread (“you should always top. Next, comes a mix of spread with a spoon, not a vegan kimchi and sauerkraut – knife”). for the ultimate hit of funk and The next tip is simple: “The tang – and a load of parsley,

nd reason why the sandwiches mint and coriander. are built in layers is so you can The sandwich ticks every guarantee that every bite box – in every bite there’s that contains every element of the mix of crunchy spring roll, sandwich,” Max explains. tangy sauce, fresh herbs and

“That’s why here we will soft bread. As I’m eating, half never put cherry tomatoes in a of it spills out of the sandwich sandwich, because you end up and onto the brown paper with one bite that is all cherry below – ready to be mopped tomato, and the next bite is no up when I’m finished. cherry tomato. I think every For Max, that’s the sign of a element should be present in good sandwich: “They are every bite – that just makes it messy but I think that’s nice. more delicious.” You feel like you know you’ve

Black and white sesame had it.”

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 ?? ?? Also in Max’s new book, Max’s World Of Sandwiches, is this coronation fried chicken version
Also in Max’s new book, Max’s World Of Sandwiches, is this coronation fried chicken version
 ?? ?? Max shows off his finished That’s How We Spring Roll sandwich and, above right, the preparatio­n
Max shows off his finished That’s How We Spring Roll sandwich and, above right, the preparatio­n

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