Everyone has a guilty secret. Reality TV, a glass of wine or two whilst cooking dinner, 90s pop music, eating a particular hazelnut spread from the jar, loving the jingling of multiple bracelets etc. but a learned behavior I have taken on in my expat years has been the sandwiching of potato chips, sorry British translation: making crisp sarnies. Yes. It’s carb on butter on fried carb on butter on carb.
Warning: Crazy, delicious time-limited popup.
Considered very much an occasional treat in our kitchen, there are admittedly (though rare) nights where we forsake the food pyramid and buy a white loaf and a small packet of crisps and crunch our way to an indulgent dinner between a couple of slices. We tend to prefer salt & vinegar or bacon flavoured crisps and just enjoy.
I suppose it’s only logical – compared to my childhood lunchbox treats of frozen yoghurts that defrosted just in time for your break, dried fruit and home baking, his school lunches (when not eaten at home!? or in the school canteen, another strange thought) almost always contained a packet of crisps, so it was only logical to whomp them on sandwiches to get them eaten quickly enough to run around causing havoc.
I’m always dragging my food-simplicity loving husband to curious and delicious restaurants with exotic offerings, so when I saw an ad for the Walker’s Crisp Sarnie pop-up restaurant, I knew I had to take my Englishman on a secret, romantic dinner date there. Well, we have been together for nearly a decade…
We somehow managed to get tickets to the crisp speakeasy for the launch day. Barraging me with messages all that day, he tried to weasel our destination (simply put into his diary as ‘DO NOT MAKE ANY PLANS TONIGHT’) a conversation which went something like “What’s for dinner then – curry?” “No.” “Burgers?” “No.” “Fish and Chips?” “No.” “Pizza?” “No”. “Pub Food?” “Not really.” “Oh. How can something not really be pub food?” “Stop asking questions or I’ll tell you.” “Oh.”
When we rocked up to the cleverly designed “newsagents” he
looked at me quizzically as if to say ‘I thought we were going to be
late?’ before spotting the Walkers logo on their shirt and looking even
Getting the password correct and being ushered through a cleverly secret entrance into the cozy bistro crowned by a smiling portrait of Gary “presenting Football shows in undies” Lineker, we were welcomed by a Maître’D in a crisp packet bow tie and seated by our waitress clad in an apron also made of crisp packets. Well played marketing team, well played.
The hardest part was deciding what to have whilst we sipped our wine (Chardonnay, of a choice of 3 white wines!) and beer.
The crisps on offer were a little more gourmet than we are used to (Mr
Kiwi even looked at me a little sadly upon realising there weren’t to be
salt and vinegar crisps) and bouncing flavour combinations off each
other, we chose. I played safe (and a little Kiwi) with sliced white
bread, roast chicken and mayonnaise crisps, cucumber slices and butter,
whilst my dining companion went old school trying a white bun with
cheddar, cheese toastie and Worcestershire cheese crisps and mustard.
And they were GOOOOOOOD. Afterwards you can even ‘be one’ with the sandwich, and crawl in between those soft slices of white.
It was rather hilarious and will be on for the next couple of weekends (Thursday-Saturday.) Pre-booking is ideal, though they take a few walk-ins (though if full, the crew on the door will act confused and go ”no, no, it’s a newsagents” all quizzically.
As we left, they shoved packets of the new flavours in our hands, ready for the next crisp sarnie evening. Legends. (And for anyone in doubt, here’s the BBC Good Foods Recipe link for making your own crisp sarnie at home.)
Best £3 per person I’ve ever spent.
What are your guilty pleasures?