The British like things on toast, right? Toasties, or toasted sandwiches, are merely an extension of that love, and they are big in the U.K.—particularly when filled with cheese, making it a cheese toastie and quite the same as what many of us would call “grilled cheese”: a hot, gooey cheese sandwich. It’s as basic as basic gets, but that doesn’t mean this classic comfort food can’t be elevated by local ingredients. Here's where to score a top-notch cheese toastie in London.
Where: Long a beloved fixture of Borough Market (8 Southwark St., map), dairy stall Kappacasein was controversially evicted in spring 2011, relocated to the Maltby Street market—which has since gained a rep as a less touristy, less chaotic version of Borough Market—and finally was invited back into Borough Market in 2012. Now you can find the stall in both markets (technically, Borough Market and Spa Terminus, about 10 minutes' walk from Maltby St.). Terrific news for shoppers everywhere!
Kappacasein sells its own cheeses, and just two products that it makes with those cheeses. Yep, you guessed it: One of them's a cheese toastie, and it's among the very best in London.
When: Find Kappacasein at Borough Market: Thurs, 11am-5pm; Fri, 11am-6pm; Sat, 8am-5pm. At Spa Terminus (1 Voyager Industrial Estate, map): Sat, 9am-2pm (during this time you can visit other Spa Terminus and Maltby St. vendors too).
Good to know: Besides this sandwich, our two favorite reasons to visit the nearby Maltby Street market are St. John Bakery—bread supplier for all of Fergus Henderson’s St. John restaurants—and the excellent Kernel Brewery, producer of small-batch artisanal beers (see also: Local craft beer). Like the other vendors, both are open to the public on Saturday mornings.
Order: The toasted cheese sandwich (£6), famously called “the platonic ideal of grilled cheese” by superfan-food writer Ruth Reichl, is a gooey affair of shredded Montgomery’s cheddar—the king of British cheddars; a nutty, earthy cheese handmade in Somerset—with chopped leeks, onions, and garlic, all melted together between slices of sourdough bread baked by Poilâne, a world-renowned Parisian bakery with a London outlet. (The sandwich also uses some Ogleshield, a deliciously pungent cheese likewise produced by Somerset’s Montgomery family, and occasionally some Devon-produced Quickes cheddar or Bermondsey hard-pressed cheese, which Kappacasein produces in London.) Crunchy, melty, and deeply flavorful, it’s living, oozing proof that simplicity triumphs when high-quality ingredients are involved. This sandwich is an absolute must if you are at Borough Market!
The only other item sold by Kappacasein is the raclette, a Swiss dish of boiled new potatoes and spicy baby gherkins covered in melted Ogleshield. We’ve heard very good things.
See also: Local cheese in London
Alternatively: This was the only cheese toastie we personally got to eat in London, but the Evening Standard has some good backups in mind.