The Heston from Waitrose brand is as strong as ever, when Heston signed up it could have been a doomed endeavour, a flash in the celebrity endorsed food product pan, but it has survived. I suspect the main reasons for this are that the products are generally good and they keep developing and reinventing the brand, they stick with the good products and get rid of the rubbish ones. It is also good for me as it means I won’t run out of things to review as there’s always something Heston based to fall back on.
The sandwiches are not a new addition to the range, they have been around for a while now and as well as the salt beef there is also a coronation chicken and at one point there was a prawn cocktail one but I haven’t seen that in a while so it might have been discontinued.
The thing about a salt beef sandwich is that it’s a classic, there is a good way to do it and a bad way to do it and serving it chilled and wrapped in cellophane is not a good way. A good salt beef sandwich is a piled high mountain of thick cut, hot, soft, pink meat, it is salty and unctuous, the fat melting and delicious, when you lift it up the meat should fall out and mess up your clothes, the mustard should burn your nostrils and once finished you should be coated in meat juice and fat and smell of beef for hours. Trying to recreate this on a supermarket shelf was never going to be easy.
Supermarket sandwiches are rubbish at the best of times, they are where food goes to die, they are the thing you buy when you really can’t be bothered putting any effort into your lunch or when you’re at a service station and the only other option is an even worse fish and chips that costs £12.
The packaging describes the sandwich as “A pretzel roll filled with flavoursome salt beef, sharp gherkins, Emmental, mayonnaise and zingy American mustard” which actually sounds pretty good. I took a bite and the beef was tasty and soft, it wasn’t the thick slab you’d normally get in a salt beef sandwich but the flavour was there. The mustard was good and the gherkin did add the sharpness it promised. To be honest I have no recollection at all of the cheese so the best I can say is that it mustn’t have been horrid. The pretzel roll was sweet, chewy and a bit dry, but the dryness was eased by the mayonnaise. Overall it was an enjoyable sandwich.
Making a judgement on Heston’s Salt Beef sandwich is a tough call; in the supermarket sandwich pantheon of mediocrity it is right at the top, but on the leader board of great salt beef sandwiches see Gaby’s Deli, Selfridges Brass Rail and Delancey and Co it really doesn’t come close. Ultimately I think it should be judged against other supermarket sandwiches as that is where it is being sold so….
Heston from Waitrose Salt Beef Sandwich £3.50