Sandwiched In-Between A Diner and A Cool Place
They say sometimes the best things in life are right under your nose. You’re just too busy looking up at the clouds to take notice.
What can I say, living on the 8th floor naturally promotes head-in-the-sky syndrome! Jokes aside, I discovered a gem of an eatery right around the block from where we live. After stumbling upon Les Chanterelles, I was content that at least a first-rate pastry destination was a stone’s throw from home. But now, a diner, too? The stars were really starting to line up in my (foodie) favor, I thought.
I’d heard of Sandwiched long ago. In fact, my husband and I were among the inaugural delivery customers of the eatery some seven years past, when we pored over the menu tucked inside the door of my father-in-law’s Zalka office. I distinctly remember “The Mighty,” two thick slices of pan-grilled sliced bread sandwiching barbecue chicken breast, barbecue bacon, deli turkey, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, melted Swiss, and sweet, bold BBQ sauce. It was euphoric. I don’t recall what else we sampled from the menu, but The Mighty remains seared vividly in my mind.
Last week, we found ourselves climbing the stairs to the walk-up diner. We pushed past the canopied terrace and into the dining space, where two cozy rooms outfitted with booths and tables beckoned us. Immediately our attention shifted to the walls, plastered with paper placemats on which customers had scribbled warm words of praise. Flair is always a positive sign (quite literally, in this case!).
Joelle, smiling contagiously beneath her long brunette locks, made fast recommendations, and we nodded vehemently in agreement. I tend to avoid fried, breaded appetizers, but something about her expressive descriptions coaxed me into ordering mozzarella sticks. Oh, and why not indulge in some garlic cheese bread with a side of salsa? The quesadillas are ravishing, she exclaimed, and who was I to dismiss her declarations?
Sure enough, the mozzarella sticks (9,000 LL) were the embodiment of perfection. A golden, slender, crunchy shell caches a core of molten mozzarella whose elastic modulus would puzzle even a materials science engineer. Ranch dip gives it an herbaceous, creamy kick.
|Crunchy mozzarella sticks with ranch dressing|
The garlic cheese bread (10,000 LL) is light, airy, and ethereal: picture a nest of whole-wheat and oat baguette blanketed with molten mozzarella. Nothing that’ll gnaw at your conscience!
|The oat bread makes it guilt-free, right?|
The quesadillas (12,000 LL) reinforce the diner’s fetish for barbecue sauce. The guacamole is subtle, taking a backseat to the feistier flavors of hickory. Whipped sour cream is served on the side for those who wish to temper the spices.
|BBQ chicken quesadillas with whipped sour cream|
We were intrigued. How would the burgers stack up?
The Chicken Aioli (14,000 LL) is mind-blowing. Again, supple oat buns hug a grilled chicken breast, breaded mozzarella patty, fries, tomatoes, lettuce and a lick of garlic sauce, rendering this one messy but beautiful beast. It’s sublime.
|Chicken Aioli Burger|
While the Mushroom Steak Burger (18,000 LL) scored high marks in aesthetics, I found the beef patty to be void of seasoning. Beyond that, the description of “beef fillet” led me to believe I’d be receiving a cut of steak, not ground beef, which clashed with the reality of the situation. This burger leaves more to be desired, but the paprika-dusted steak fries with their oh-so-pillowy interiors made me quickly move on.
|The color orange strokes the appetite, and mine surely was after eyeing this platter!|
|It's bursting with juiciness!|
There was no chance I was bouncing before trying Sandwiched’s acclaimed chocolate cake (11,000 LL). The diner’s Instagram account is decorated with customers’ snapshots of the four-layered fudge wonder, and I was game. How best to describe it? Try to imagine a milk chocolate lava cake re-conceived in a diner cake format. Gooey ganache injects life into the chocolate crumb, and there’s no way you can finish this feat on your own. It’s silky, yet it’s cloyingly sweet. Pucker up!
|Death By Chocolate|
There’s so much more to explore on the Sandwiched menu – I’d venture to guess there are easily 50 sandwiches, burgers, and the like in the 11-page booklet. Recently, the diner introduced a vegan menu riding on the coattails of a food trend that is picking up pace in our country. Fancy a fajita fashioned from soy chunks? How about carrot-based Lox smoked salmon? I wouldn’t mind sinking my teeth into a cheesecake comprising cashew, oat, and homemade berry compote.
We’ll be back, no doubt about that. With courteous staff like Joelle and Paul – the Antelias franchisee and restaurant manager – dishing out delicious food, liberal portions, and something for everyone, it’s hard to find fault with Sandwiched. I’m thanking me lucky stars, because I unearthed a pot of gold right under me nose!
Antelias Inner Road, across from Saniour
+961 4 416955 / 71 416955