Katsu sando in London: From Tata Eatery to Peg, the Japanese sandwiches you need to try

Ailis Brennan

Forget your limp sarnie – it’s time to swap that sandwich for a sando.

The term is basically the Japanese word for sandwich, but your typical sando is so much more. Pleasing qualities include an achingly precise square shape, crustless white milk bread and a thick filling, typically of a meat cutlet fried katsu-style in panko breadcrumbs.

At the end of last year, we even saw premium versions appear around London, with a £150 wagyu beef sando offered at Mayfair’s Tokimeite as a Christmas special, and Japanese kobe beef expert Wagyumafia serving a similarly pricey version at a series of pop-ups across the capital.

Tata Eatery, one of the most popular proponents of the seriously Instagrammable sandwich, is this week opening its second permanent location in two months – and we’re expecting the ‘gram to be more devoted to the sando than ever.

From traditional juicy pork to even a cheeseburger version, here’s where you can try sandos in London.

Tata Eatery

Tata Eatery is London’s undisputed sando king. It began life as a street food stall in Bermondsey’s Druid Street Market, before a series of pop-ups (including one at two Michelin-starred Kitchen Table) led it to open two permanent spots this year. The team is in charge of the food at Old Street cocktail bar Tayer + Elementary, and will open dedicated katsu sando shop Tou at new market hall Arcade Food Theatre this week. The signature here is the Iberico pork katsu sando, which tops the cutlet with cabbage, massa pimentão (fermented pepper) and raspberry jam. Tou will also offer an egg and tofu version.

Tayer + Elementary, 152 Old Street, EC1V 9BW, tayer-elementary.com; Tou, Arcade Food Theatre, 101-103 Oxford Street, WC1A 1DD, arcade-london.com

Peg

This katsu sando has been around the block – quite literally. It first made a stir last year over at Bright, the Hackney restaurant from acclaimed wine bar P Franco, but has since made regular appearances at nearby Peg, the group’s latest opening. This sando also features a filling of katsu fried pork cutlet and shredded white cabbage, along with katsu sauce on the inside and a dollop of hot mustard on the plate for dipping.

120 Morning Lane, E9 6LH, peglondon.co.uk

Tanakatsu

Islington Japanese restaurant Tanakatsu loves katsu so much it even (partially) named itself after it. It also dedicates its menu to serving katsu or teriyaki-based dishes, alongside a spot of sushi and sashimi. The katsu sando here can be made with either chicken or pork, and is slathered in a homemade katsu sauce – a kind of sweet and sour condiment often served with fried dishes – with an edamame salad on the side.

10 Wakley Street, EC1V 7LT, tanakatsu.co.uk

Jidori

East meets West in fast food terms at Jidori – this sando is a cheeseburger sando. The recipe actually differs at the restaurant’s two different sites, but both dishes are inspired by the American classic. At Dalston, a katsu beef patty is topped with lettuce, cheddar, kewpie mayo and tonkatsu sauce, all inside grilled bread. Over at Covent Garden, the sando presents a tsukune yakitori chicken skewer on an open faced slice of bread, topped with cheese and yuzu kosho sauce.

15 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JZ, jidori.co.uk

Monocle Cafe

This Instagrammable Marylebone coffee spot has a decidedly globetrotting menu, with dishes ranging from taco rice to Swedish toast skagen, alongside a host of Japanese-inspired bites. Among these are a duo of katsu sandos, featuring either chicken or shrimp. In a satisfying move for routine-happy Brits, the sandos are served with a side of salt and vinegar crisps, with mustard for the chicken version, and a pickle for shrimp fans.

18 Chiltern Street, W1U 7QA, cafe.monocle.com