Address: 4 Cobb Street, E1 7LB
Nearest Station: Aldgate/Liverpool Street
Tel.: 020 7377 9276
Good For: Casual dining, Friendly conversation, Filling meal, Lunchtime fix, Carnivorous eating
Having been pointed in the way of youngandfoodish.com’s Top Ten Burger List (a recommended pathway to glorious unhealthiness… yes yes), I soon discovered that they also had a Top Ten Sandwich List. Whilst I could snobbishly say that I’d already heard of four of the top ten, I must confess that the description of the lomito at Moo Grill as “the kind of steak sandwich that obsessions are made of” made me rather excited. And since it was within walking distance of work, I guess that it had to be done.
Well, earlier this year work was… very quiet, to put it mildly. I had the time and luxury to roam widely and freely during my lengthy lunch hours, and so it was not long between hearing of Moo Grill and my actually going there.
Cobb Street, one of the small lanes between Bishopsgate and Commercial Street, is probably the last place you’d expect to find an Argentinean steak restaurant. The front gives nothing away, but as soon as you enter you know you’ve hit somewhere special. Whilst the brickwork and wood exude a bit of a rustic feel, any visual effect is topped by the bellows of “Amigo!” that reverberate around the small and narrow establishment. As I ordered takeaway from the counter at the back of the restaurant, I was told with much pride that they had WiFi that I could use while I waited. I could sense that this was the start of a great new relationship.
I’ve since been there several times now for takeaway (and one sit down) and have had three different lomitos, their signature ‘gourmet’ sandwiches – Potro, Pollo Loco and Milanga. If I were pressed to choose, I would go for the Potro, as it comes with tasty ham and egg – just more protein, really. But then again, the crispy, breaded deep-fried steak in the Milanga lathered with American mustard is also a sure-fire winner. Ah, the tyranny of choice…
But why choose, huh? All of them are packed in the sort of warm, crusty ciabatta that you would write home about if you found it in a tiny no-name bakery in an Italian village no one has heard of, and when I say packed I mean PACKED. These sandwiches are hustling and bustling with ingredients and full of flavour. Each bite brings something new to the table in terms of texture and flavour. The steak (and in the case of Pollo Loco, the chicken) is beautifully tender, perfect for a sandwich. If I had one criticism of the lomito concept, I would say that perhaps it had too many ingredients… but that’s like a ‘weakness’ you would offer up in a job interview i.e. not particularly a weakness at all.
I wish I had taken photos to commemorate my experiences, but colleagues do tend to look oddly (and judgingly) at you when you photograph food at your desk…
That first visit of mine, the man-with-the-plan behind the counter cheerily informed me that he was peddling alfajorcitos for dessert, home-made to an old family recipe. Whether that’s his spiel or not, these small alfajores live up to expectations. The shortbread is the right amount of crumbly, and offsets the sweetness of the dulce de leche nicely. If the lomitos were not so big, I’d have these for dessert every time. And then I’d be fat.
VERDICT – Highly recommended. Their lomitos will clobber you for six. Their smiles and cries of “Amigo” will heal your lomito-inflicted wounds, and encourage you to go back. Moo Grill puts the best of the nearby sandwich chains to almighty shame. There is no excuse not to at least try them once. Seriously, they have things sorted – a unique offering for the area, a quality product, and a sincere warmth and friendliness. If only I worked a bit closer now…