BERMONDSEY SE1 | HOXTON N1
The Reuben is a special sandwich, with an equally special history. Composed traditionally of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing - all grilled between slices of rye bread - the sandwich dates back as far as the 1920's. Since then, it has made a name for itself as one of the kings of the sandwich world.
Anywhere that sells a Reuben (as opposed to just a salt beef sandwich) has an obligation to do that legacy justice; at Monty's Deli, they do just that and some. One bite is all you need to understand why they're so popular.
The menu is straightforward, though in addition to all the classic components of a Reuben, each sandwich comes with a choice of two meats - salt beef or pastrami. These differ only in terms of cooking method, and both are quite frankly, delicious.
These guys are one of the only places in Britain to make their own salt beef and pastrami, and they make everything else too. They bake the bagels, they cure the meat, they make the mustard, and they've even developed a rye bread to complement their award-winning sandwiches. As chef Tom Kerridge once claimed, "the best value lunch in London".
Crammed to the hilt with layer upon layer of juicy tender meat, and served with pickles, it's a battle just to contain the beast. The definition of a hunger buster, this sandwich quite simply cannot be missed; it's worth making a special trip for.
Editor's note 2/7/2017: This review was first written when they still had their original site in Bermondsey, where a large Reuben was £8. They have since closed that site, and opened a large restaurant in Hoxton, where the Reuben is priced at £9. There are still a couple of other options within our price range in Hoxton though, including the £8 braised brisket sandwich, and the £8 Mensch sandwich (salt beef or pastrami, house mustard).
Words and photography | Kar-Shing Tong