On a recent hungover morning, my animalistic instincts kicked in: I needed a bacon sandwich. Having had the fortune of being raised in Yorkshire – where bacon is an institution perhaps more than anywhere else – I was somewhat tentative as to what poncey spin London might put on my sacred, Northern bacon butty. Nonetheless, my (embarrassingly vast) research led to me to wander down to Broadway Market to pay Le Swine a visit, in anticipation of what they claim is ‘the best bacon butty in town’.
What do they do?
In their words: “BAD ASS BACON BUTTIES”. Le Swine is a van that rotates around three markets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of each week. If it wasn’t already obvious enough, what Le Swine do is bacon butties, and a Swine Burger (similar but made with gammon and topped with pineapple chutney).
What did I have?
I went for the bacon butty (£5) with a duck egg (£1) – it would’ve been rude not to. Given the choice between mushroom sauce and tomato sauce, I went for the intriguing former.
One important thing to note is that this is perhaps not a bacon butty to be eaten on the move. As the picture below shows, the yolk was precariously close to the edge of the bap, and splurted all over my hand upon my first bite (perhaps I should have seen this coming). This was somewhat novel, and perhaps even engineered as an attempt to show how bright and runny their yolks are, but it did mean that a fair proportion of the (eggsellent) yolk went to waste.
The yolk that wasn’t strewn across my hand trickled along the reasonably thick-cut bacon, and seeped into the (toasted) milk and onion bap. I’m still not entirely sure what is meant by milk’s presence in a bap, but it definitely worked. The bap had a generous layer of ‘bacon butter’, which made for a great combo – I never really go for butter, but something out of the milk, onion and bacon butter made for an excellent overall base for the butty. The mushroom sauce was difficult to describe – imagine brown sauce without the tangyness – but, as ever, complemented the bacon ideally.
Value for money: 3/5 – don’t get me wrong, it was a cracking butty, but £6 is pretty steep for a bacon and egg butty.
Pretentiousness: 3/5 – still don’t really know what ‘mushroom sauce’ is (though I’m not complaining), and it wasn’t clear whether ‘bad ass’ was being used in the ironic way that a hipster might say ‘radical’ or was an actual use of hyperbole – either way, it felt a bit like your Maths teacher trying to be ‘down with the kids’.
Atmosphere: 4/5 – it’d be a little unfair to judge the atmosphere of Le Swine purely on the basis of its van, so I’ve taken into account the surrounding area of Broadway Market. Rows of seats were just a few metres from Le Swine, with (talented) buskers keeping everyone entertained, and the market itself runs for a few hundred metres, with a great array of coffee, local meats, street food, and cheese. Le Swine’s other locations of choice are Spitalfields Market and Broadgate Circle, so they seem to have good atmosphere nailed on.
Le Swine was a seriously good bacon and egg butty, but a bit on the pricey side. I’d be very tempted to stroll down the morning after a boozy night, grab a butty, and see a bit more of the market – it definitely hit the mark and was worth the money in the circumstances – but I wouldn’t often part with £6 this on a sober morning.