With our wedding less than a month away, Gemma and I were looking for a cheap food option last Friday; ideally somewhere local that also sells good beer. The regeneration of Finsbury Park has brought many new eateries to the area, including Exeter Street Bakery on the corner of Morris Place and Stroud Green Road, which I was pleased to learn stocks beers by Pressure Drop and Wild Card breweries, as well as Birrifico Angelo Poretti. I’ve never eaten there but they make damn fine coffee, and having dropped in for a beer, the Italian-inspired menu was mighty tempting.
But we didn’t want pizza. We wanted a big f*ck-off sandwich, ideally washed down with a Gamma Ray. And that’s what brought us to Max’s Sandwich Shop on Crouch Hill. I had passed Max’s many times on my way home from work, and was intrigued by the sign heralding “late night joint, sandwiches and booze”. Recently featured in Time Out, you can follow the owner on twitter here. The premise is simple: a concise menu of (huge) hot sandwiches, great booze, a late licence and prices that won’t break the bank. I went for the “What’s Your Beef All About?”, comprising braised beef, sauerkraut, cassava root chips (well, crisps really) and “incredibly slutty gravy mayo”, while Gemma went for “The Spaniard”, with onion croquetas, sweet herbs, lime-pickled onions, baby gem and mayo. The former was great: generous chunks of tender beef found a perfect foil in the tangy sauerkraut, while the cassava root chips provided texture, the gravy mayo flavour and moistness, and all encased in two hunks of fluffy white bread. Beer-wise, we both opted for a can of Gamma Ray while bottles of Smog Rocket and The Kernel’s Table Beer were also on the drinks list, as was draught Neck Oil (there’s a rotating keg option, next up: Fourpure).
We arrived shortly after opening and it was quiet, but I reckon it gets pretty rowdy later on, in a good way, and the experience was further enhanced by the eponymous Max, whose casual, friendly service and quirky demeanour was joyous to behold, even to a grouch like me. If you’re anywhere near Finsbury Park and fancy a big f*ck-off sandwich washed down with fine beer, get yourself to Max’s Sandwich Shop – it’s the venue bread has been waiting for.