Grilled Cheese – London’s Unlikely Street Food Star

Grilled cheese is definitely having a moment in London. Though ‘toasties’ have long been prevalent in the UK and Irish palette, American-style, thickly sliced sandwiches with ooey, gooey stringy cheese are definitely top of street food lovers’ lists of late. So comforting, so greasy, so cheesily fulfilling – sooo much grilled cheese.

We’re a dab hand at visiting London markets, as you’ve already read, and we’ve seen them crop up massively in the last few years in a number of guises and a couple of the stalls we outlined below have been offered residencies and catered to lavish events with their grr-chzz. In celebration of the humble grilled cheese sandwich, here’s a recipe…

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

But before that, here are some of our London favourites getting creative with two slices of bread and cheese for absolute grilled cheese indulgence.

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

Grill My Cheese won our hearts almost the moment we moved over when they set up stall at the (unfortunately now closed) Harringay Market up at Green Lanes. Nisha and Nishma dished out some of the most exciting flavour combinations ever to be lovingly smushed amongst cheese between bread. Not only are their signature sandwiches absolutely stellar but these guys have got street-style branding down to a tee with hilariously catchy, pun-fused and cheeky titles (Baby Got Mac, Justin Brie-ber, Bean-oncé, anyone?) and a big influence from the home of the GC – the good ‘ol USA.

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

We asked the girls what their top three defining factors of a perfect grilled cheese is, they told us:

  • Use real butter on the outside for golden crispness
  • Spend a smidgen extra for good cheese, and always use ones you like – there’s no right and wrong in cheese
  • Cook medium to low to ensure the cheese melts before the bread has time to crisp properly

Grill My Cheese can be found, as of March 2015, at Leather Lane Market on weekdays over lunchtime and taking weekend guest spots at markets and events around London.

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

Morty & Bobs is also run by another duo, Charlie and Jesse, and set up also in 2013. Their shack is guaranteed every Saturday to cater to a hefty queue from their little corner in Netil Market, just between Mare Street and Broadway Market in Hackney. This is extremely polished grill’chee without a doubt and the hipsters love this stuff. Effortlessly crisp and deliciously indulgent, we particularly love their deep flavours of truffle and mushroom and the fact they slather some marmite on their sandwiches too! Each one comes served with a hefty, sharp pickle to cut through the gooey goodness. Heaven!

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

Yet another cheese ch-rader who set up shop in 2013 (we’re beginning to see a trend here…) is the bright and sprightly The Cheese Truck who dish out grilled goodness from a renovated ice cream truck in gorgeous, sun-kissed yellow.  We’ve spotted them at Maltby St and KERB and love their dedication to artisan and British cheeses including Ogleshield, Keen’s Cheddar and Cropwell Bishop Stilton. Strangely enough, you can taste these delights in both London and Abu Dhabi – how ‘bout that?

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

Bet you’re craving a toasty right… about… now? Here’s our recipe.

GastroGays Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 120g blend of cheeses (we used gouda, Red Leicester & Parmesan)
  • 3/4 slices of Leerdammer (great for meltin’!)
  • 1 tbsp Soft Blue Cheese (we like Cashel Blue or Cornish Blue)
  • 2 tbsp cream or creme fraiche
  • 4 slices of thickly cut, hard crusted, organic sourdough bread
  • Butter
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Marmite (optional)
  • Mustard (optional)

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

1. To begin with, you really need a sandwich press in your kitchen. Yes, they may seem like one of those pointless gadgets that you keep in the cupboard. However, if you get into a habit of using it every so often, you’re in for a treat. We like the flat ones, as opposed to the angled George Forman style press. The weight pushed on the sandwich by the press helps create the gooey filling and crispy outside. Heat to medium-low while you get your ingredients prepared.

2. Prepare your harder cheeses by grating them together into a bowl on top of a weighing scales. You can make in excess of 120g if you like, and put it on pizzas etc., but we find it’s just about enough here.

3. Blend together the soft blue cheese with the cream/creme fraiche until it becomes spreadable, about 1:2 ratio will do it! 

4. Take your slices of bread, and butter with some good quality salted butter on the inside and the outside. We religiously use Kerrygold. Follow this by adding a slather of mustard or Marmite, if you’re using them. Then, spread a layer of the blue cheese spread on both sides. Begin to pile half of your grated cheese mix on one side of the bread, and top it off with the second slice.

5. Place on the preheated sandwich press, turning it over after about 3-5 minutes. Each machine will vary, so judge it by eye- basically, don’t let it burn.

6. Remove from the press and cut in half. Then inhale your creation. Approach with caution: the cheese will be very hot, but we guarantee it will be calling your name!

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

grilled cheese, cheese toastie, cheese toasty, grill cheese, cheese sandwich

Find more of our recipes here…

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