From street eats to creations made in food trucks and gastropubs, we think these sandwiches are the best thing since sliced bread
Hassan mathar at Seashell Cafeteria
This is not just a shawarma. It’s the shawarma to end all shawarmas. Small, but packing a mighty punch, this little flatbread wrap is like a bizarre cross between a traditional meat-filled shawarma and a grilled cheese sandwich, filled with plenty of molten, greedy mess. Worth every dirham. All six of them! Dhs6 each. Various locations including Jumeirah Beach Road, www.seashell-cafe.com (04 394 2886).
Salmon burger at Sushi Counter Among the tales of unusual sandwich experiences, this ‘burger’ with a Japanese twist might just top the list. You can in fact find a series of these ‘burgers’ at Sushi Counter, each made with a wafer approximation of a burger bun, filled with sushi rice and raw fish toppings (including a choice of salmon, tuna and also beef), along with tamago (egg). Dhs18. Various locations including Dubai Media City, www.sushicounter.com (800 268 6837).
Chip shop chip bap at The Scene by Simon Rimmer What more would you expect from this quirky British gastropub than a quirky British street food favourite. This sandwich is a particularly British peculiarity that simply involves chips stuffed in white bread with plenty of butter. Sound gross? Well, it will probably cure whatever ails you, and you’ll find this on the restaurant’s ‘nibbles’ menu if you are eager to try. Dhs29. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 422 2328).
Chicken skewer souvlaki at Labbys The Hellenic House
There can be no better place to try Greece’s (arguably superior, but shhhh!) answer to the Middle Eastern shawarma. Labbys’ take on pita-wrapped souvlaki is almost embarrassingly generous – opt for option ‘a’, stuffed with tomatoes, onions, parsley, home-made chips and impossibly creamy tzatziki, all vying for attention next to juicy chunks of marinated poultry. If you can’t make it to Athens this year, get thee to JLT. Dhs26. Podium level, Goldcrest Views 2, Cluster J, JLT (04 429 8964).
Doner kebab at German Doner Kebab
This is not just a kebab sandwich, this is a German kebab. And yes, before you scoff at that, there is in fact a difference. Thanks to the sizeable Turkish community in Berlin, the German capital not only has a healthy kebab shop scene, but also makes a mean sandwich, quite unlike any other kebab you’ve ever sampled (even in the rest of Deutschland). Some even go so far as to claim that Berlin invented the doner kebab. They did at least invent this particular style of sandwich, which involves a triangular pouch of bread (crispy on the outside, fluffy and doughy inside, when at its best), slices of chicken or veal and so much finely shredded salad that you can actually just about kid yourself that this is in fact quite healthy. From Dhs28 per sandwich. Various locations including Marina View Tower, Dubai Marina, www.donerkebab.ae (800 36637).
Dubai’s first independent doughnut boutique, Jam Bar, specialises in what it refers to as ‘artisanal’ doughnuts, meaning they are made fresh and by hand, without artificial additives. Sandwich fanatics with a sweet tooth can head to this spot to pick out any one of the filled doughnuts in the display counter and choose any scoop of ice cream. Staff will cut your doughnut in half and stuff it with the scoop, sticking it all back to together like a little saccharine burger. Very naughty. Very nice. Dhs25. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 330 8737).
Good morning wrap at Kauai
This fast food joint in Dubai Marina offers one major point of difference, which is that all the food on its menu has a healthier focus. For example, the brand promises that recipes are free from trans fats and MSG. They also promise that there is no deep-frying going on behind the scenes in the kitchen. Try this wrap, filled with scrambled egg, smoked turkey rashers, cheddar cheese, fresh salsa and tomato, to start your day with a healthier kick than the average breakfast sandwich. Dhs26. Park Island, Dubai Marina (800 52824).
Kathi rolls at The Taste Initiative This sustainable-minded café focuses on using local, seasonal and organic ingredients where possible. The eatery is launching a new series of what it considers to be ‘cult’ and classic street food dishes. First up on that list is the kathi roll. You can order this Indian favourite made with a potato paratha stuffed with paneer or chicken and dressed with onion, peppers, cumin, turmeric, chilli, coriander, tomato and mint chutney. Dhs25 (paneer or chicken). The Change Initiative, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Barsha (04 376 9213).
Roti wrap at Moti Roti
Nobody makes Pakistan’s street food look cooler than the kids at Moti Roti. This pop-up store and food truck (look out for them at events such as Ripe Market, the Formula 1 and Dubai Rugby 7s) offers Pakistan’s answer to the grab-and-go sandwich: roti stuffed with rice, and a freshly made, daily changing selection of curries. We’re fans of the fresh, home-made taste of these whole-wheat flatbreads. Dhs20. Various locations, www.motiroti.me.
Shawurger at JF Street Food
In this age of culinary hybrids, the next on the list of weird mash-ups had to be the humble sandwich. This home-grown brand has brought together two of the world’s most beloved fast food sandwiches, the shawarma and the burger, and in doing so, created the ‘shawurger’. It’s a small and fluffy burger bap stuffed with slices of shawarma meat and a little fresh salad and onion. Dhs22. Various locations including Executive Towers, Business Bay, www.justfalafel.com (04 457 2198).
Lamb ouzi sliders at Vida Food Truck
Amid the spree of giving burgers an ethnic twist, this permanently moored food truck, located outside Manzil Downtown Dubai, has come up with a completely unique creation. Try a mini burger (aka slider) stuffed with traditional Arabic slow-cooked dish, lamb ouzi. Dhs30. Outside Manzil Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5888).
Original smoked meat at Maple Leaf Deli
Now with two branches in Dubai, this Canadian deli specialises in Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches. The classic and original version is this beast of smoked beef, thinly sliced and piled high to the rafters on rye bread slices. You can also opt for the famous ‘Rueben on rye’ version, which includes Gruyère cheese and sauerkraut. From Dhs30. Goldcrest Views, Cluster V, JLT (800 653 354). Other location: Jumeirah Beach Road (04 338 3001).
Salmontini at Pressman’s This shop in JLT specialises in grilled sandwiches. Among some of the messier and more decadent combinations on offer, there is also a ‘premium’ list of creations, which includes the salmontini. It’s filled with flakes of steamed salmon fillet, egg, ripe avocado, lettuce, mozzarella and ranch dressing. From Dhs31. Saba Tower 1, Cluster E, JLT (04 430 8282).
Yorkshire pudding wrap at 1762
It’s a Tuesday lunchtime, but what you really fancy is a traditional British roast dinner. On the off chance that this is a common scenario for you, you ought to try out this beef wrap at 1762. Inside it contains a fairly normal combination of slices of roast beef, plus traditional accompaniments of English mustard and horseradish cream. The twist, however, is that this is all wrapped in a flat-bread version of a Yorkshire pudding. Dhs38. Sheikh Zayed Road. Other locations: OMD Building, Dubai Media City; Jebel Ali (800 1762).
Barbecoa torta at Taqado Mexican Kitchen
Right in time for this week’s issue, this Indie Mexican food shop brand is launching a brand new style of sandwich today (Wednesday August 12), across all branches. Called the ‘torta’, this traditional sandwich is made with bolillo bread – a Mexican style of mini baguette baked in a stone oven. Using an authentic Mexican recipe, Taqado has this bread made exclusively for its restaurants and they fill it with their signature barbacoa beef, as well as chipotle sour cream, lettuce and Monterey Jack cheese. And, on the side, you’ll also get tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. Dhs42. Various locations including DIFC, www.taqado.com (800 827236).
Club sandwich at Retro Feasts
We are rather fond of this odd little space at The Beach, JBR, where you’ll dine at re-used industrial spools and have to enter the restaurant through a pillar box red phone booth. Tuck into the club sandwich, which is made with sourdough bread, roasted chicken breast, turkey bacon, egg mayo and rocket leaves. Dhs45. The Beach, JBR (052 722 6462).
Corned beef sanga at The Sum of Us
A veritable feast of colours, the corned beef sanga at The Sum of Us isn’t an easy thing to eat without making a mess – the mark of a good sandwich for many. It’s stacked with moist, braised red cabbage, layered with cheddar that drizzles out the side, and topped with gherkins and Dijon mayo. And then there’s the fistful of succulent beef, all packed into a doorstep of sourdough. Proper. Dhs40. Sheikh Zayed Road, www.thesumofusdubai.com (056 445 7526).
Tikka sandwich at Logma This Emirati-inspired eatery in BoxPark serves several sandwich combinations, all made using traditional Emirati khameer bread. This particular recipe takes its inspiration from India for the filling, which consists of ginger-spiced chicken, basil, roasted peppers, mango chutney and raita. Dhs42. BoxPark, Al Wasl Road (04 429 8960).
Buttermilk biscuit sandwich at Clinton Street Baking Company
This dish is sure to confuse British diners, but rest assured, this is not a sandwich made out of what Americans call ‘cookies’. The American biscuits are little flaky bread rolls similar in look and taste to the British scone. At this New York-born bakery, the kitchen offers a very American alternative to the British breakfast bap, with buttermilk biscuits used as the sandwich for a morning fry-up, complete with scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese, hash browns and a tomato jam made in-house. Dhs52. Burj Views, Downtown Dubai (04 428 1331).
Shrimp mac and cheese toastie at Crab Tavern
This brand-new crab shack experience at Media One Hotel has plenty of decadent American-style dishes on its menu. Included are the seafood-themed sandwiches, such as the carb-orama creation of a mac and cheese toastie, made with shrimps. Its other sensational sandwich recipes include the crispy oyster po’boy with molten cheese and cabbage slaw. Dhs55. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 420 7489).
Healthy sub at Nine7One
In recent months, this eatery has taken an interest in local, organic and sustainable eating options. The latest proof is the new healthy sub sandwich created on a multigrain loaf (baked in-house and slow proved for 24 hours). The sub is stuffed with organic tomatoes (grown in Al Ain) and mozzarella produced in the UAE, along with braised red cabbage, sundried tomatoes and pesto. Dhs60. The Oberoi, Dubai, Business Bay, (04 444 1444).
Philly steak melt at Black Lion
This new American-inspired gastropub serves a special late-night ‘lock in’ menu, which starts from 11.30pm. On it you’ll find this Philadelphia classic. The chefs make it by brining prime Angus short rib beef for 24 hours and cooking it sous vide for 72 hours. The sandwich is assembled in thick slabs of sourdough bread with fried onions, green peppers and Monterey Jack cheddar. Dhs65. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).
Gluten-free and gourmet
Six pages of bread just ain’t that much for the celiac and gluten-intolerant among you. So here’s a selection of gluten-free alternatives around Dubai to keep your bellies happy too
Be Super Natural This café and boutique at Lafayette Gourmet offers a menu that is strictly and entirely raw, gluten-free and vegan-friendly. On it, you’ll find pasta made with zucchini, pizza bases made with seeds and more. Galleries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 339 9933).
GlutenFree Supermarket This website is currently Dubai’s first and only online grocery store that is one hundred percent gluten-free. What you can buy here is a selection of breads, pasta, pizza and also sweet items such as cakes and cookies. Many of these recipes are also egg- and dairy-free too. www.glutenfree-supermarket.ae.
Pret to Go The new sandwich stop has recently introduced several gluten-free and vegan options to its menu, including gluten-free pizza, muffins and vegan cheesecakes. JAFZA; DIFC; Dubai Media City, www.prettogo.com (800 7738).
Sweet Connection This bakery, now with a new stall at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, specialises in freshly baked goods, which are all entirely gluten-free. This includes cakes, breads, muffins and rather amazing brownies. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.theglutenfreekitchenandcafe.com (no number). Other locations: DIFC (050 558 2679); Mercato Mall (056 370 8018).