North London Food & Culture

Max Sandwich Shop

A beginner’s guide to…Max’s Sandwich Shop, Crouch Hill

Does North London's most famous sarnie seller still deliver a decade on?

What exactly is it? Probably the most famous sandwich shop in London, no less.

Really? Yep, as its own website humbly proclaims, it “changed the sandwich.” Quite a claim, indeed, but if you need more proof, here it is: after an acclaimed opening in 2014, the first spin-off cookbook, Max’s Sandwich Book, was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, plus owner Max Halley is a resident expert on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and guest chef on ITV’s This Morning.

Well, I’m peckish now: is it worth the hype? Like anything that’s acclaimed, expectations are especially high. But happily, it’s extremely reliable.

Max Sandwich Shop
Max Sandwich Shop: the brief menu. Photo: SE

Tell us more. Having failed to bag a spot on numerous weekend attempts – normally a 45-minute wait – the solution, we finally realised, was 630pm sharp on a wet March Wednesday. Yes, it was almost full, but we did manage to get a table-for-two without a wait.


What’s on the menu? Just four sarnies on the quirky handwritten document (pictured above), including an inventive sounding pickled veg spring roll number, and a poached chicken with grape and tarragon salsa. We plumped for the classic Ham, Egg & Chips (£11.95, main pic, above), slow-cocked ham hock with a fried egg, piccalilli, shoestring fries and a vinegary mayo; and Tikkanother Piece Of my Heart, a goat tikka masala (£12.95) with pickled onions, coriander, pomegranate, bombay mix and gravy mayo. Imaginative eh? They come mouthwateringly wrapped in brown paper you can peel away.

Max's Sandwich Shop
Interior, Max’s. Photo: PR

Which was tastier? Arguably the goat, although it was a closely-fought contest. Both were not as big as you might imagine for the price (probably no bad thing if you’re of a certain age), and they’re served on crust-off foccaccia, rather than sourdough, light as a feather. We were concerned a levelled-up side of ‘Spuds’ – crushed fried pots with a nut salsa, yoghurt, spring onions, mint and touch of curry – might be too much, but it really wasn’t.

Wine? Yeah, it’s £29 a bottle for decent house red, with various London craft beers and cocktails too.

Anything else we should know? This is really a sit-down sandwich restaurant with efficient, friendly waiting staff. So the bill might just end up higher than you think: ours climbed to over £70 with a bottle of wine and service charge. But that, of course, is dining in Zone 2 these days.

Was it worth it? Yes, to finally tick off a true North London pioneer. While no longer unrivalled – let’s face it, posh toasties and sandos have swept the city in the last decade – it’s still more than holding its own. And, of course, packing them in on that cold, dark Wednesday.

Max’s Sandwich Shop, 19 Crouch Hill N4, open Wednesday-Sunday, follow @lunchluncheon

Main image: Jonathan Perugia

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