Would you pay £28 for a sandwich? Christina’s Shoreditch, which is located on the ground floor of London’s new Mondrian hotel, specialises in gourmet Japanese-style milk bread ‘sandos’. Jenny Southan reports
Previously the Curtain Club and Hotel, the venue reopened as a Mondrian earlier this month, with on-site restaurants including casual breakfast, lunch and cocktail spot Christina’s Shoreditch. I liked the glowing bronze bar, foliage and murals, which gave it a trendy “Tulum” vibe.
Described as a “Katsu Sando bar”, Christina’s has taken to serving sumptuous Japanese-style sandwiches that look and taste amazing. They are, in fact, totally incomparable to Pret – hence the price tag.
Christina’s also only sources products from local independent suppliers (farmers, growers and community bakeries), start-ups and brands with social impact. Coffee, for example, comes from Redemption Roasters.
According to the website, the cocktail menu was designed by award-winning mixologist Marcis Dzelzainis and features a “curated supplier list of British artisans”. A selection of organic and biodynamic wines from independent and small scale producers are also listed.There are small batch vermouth producers including Ostara Vermouth who specialise in wild botanicals such as meadowsweet and hawthorn, the local East London Liquor Company, Peckham-based Kanpai Sake, Northumberland based Hepple Gin, and Modal natural wine.
Open daily from 8am-1am Thursday to Saturday, as well as 8am to 12am Sunday to Wednesday, in the morning, bespoke pastries (including caramel miso filled chocolate croissants) are served from the Chestnut Bakery but I came for the lunchtime sandos.
The menu lists seven sandos made with soft white milk bread with the crusts cut off, including: egg with Kewpie mayo (£6); deep-fried breaded chicken with melted Provolone cheese (£10); 110g of Aussie Wagyu beef with black truffle aioli (£28); deep-fried panko crumbed thick cut mortadella (£12); and fruit with whipped crème fraîche (£6).There are three side dishes available: stuffed crispy olives, fried cheesy tater tots and curry leaf fries, which I tried and absolutely loved. These are all £4.50.
When it came to the sandos, I opted for the decadent aubergine Parmigiana at £9 – although it looked quite modest in terms of proportion, it was really filling and I couldn’t finish the last mouthful.It was supremely tasty and well-constructed, though – with pleasingly crisp-coated slices of cheesy aubergine placed between layers of sundried tomato sauce and rocket. It stayed together really well when I bit into it and proved very moreish.
I also ordered a non-alcoholic mocktail – there are three to choose from priced at £9.50. I liked how they were not sweet fruit juice-based. I opted for “Pine” made with Aecorn Bitter, Everleaf, Mountain, Verjus and Idyll pine forest soda. The outside of the glass was dusted with bee pollen.Next time I want to return for the fruit sando, which I predict will become a trend in the UK and US, thanks to their photogenic qualities. Check out Japan’s Fruits and Season.