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Cheese toasties are a British staple and for good reason: they’re amazing. Already pretty darn perfect with only the basics of cheese, butter and bread, she’s also a versatile queen who can be further dressed up with ham, spinach, whatever else you want. Most of us might baulk at the idea of including banana, though.
Well, dear reader, I’ve got a secret to let you in on. At least at one West London spot, sweet cheese toasties made of mozzarella plus banana, peach, salted caramel, nuts, Nutella and more, do exist. And they are utterly delicious.
This magical place is Haus of Grilled Cheese, a new gourmet toastie shop in Chiswick that opened mid-April. If that sounds familiar it’s because I’ve previously raved about their incredible browned butter, Emmental, cheddar and black pepper sourdough toasted sandwich. But I didn’t address the line-up of dessert toasties which, initially, coloured me intrigued with flavour-ways like ‘peach melba’ and ‘caramel coffee’, then, not long after, blew my mind with its ‘bananut’ option.
Now, as elaborated in my former review, Haus of Grilled Cheese is available to order via Deliveroo and UberEats all week, but only for dine-in from Wednesday to Sunday. I didn’t realise this and ended up outside the (closed) shopfront of The Italian Job, which it operates within. The upside of this was that, as I waited for my order to be ready for collection, I got a tempting prelude to my sweet treat courtesy of the breeze, which grew increasingly caramel, vanilla, and toasted marshmallow scented.
Soon home, I confirmed my ‘bananut’ toastie – a combination of blowtorched banana, candied walnuts, almond paste and mozzarella on brioche bread – to be the definite source of that earlier sensual joy, as well as an ideal candle scent and, likely, what heaven smells like.
Like its savoury sibling, ‘The bananut’ had leaked its oily goodness through the two paper bags attempting to constrain it. As I gently unpeeled these layers, my hands got a little sticky – but I didn’t care because, oh god, it looked as delicious as it smelled.
Longer and fluffier than the sourdough slabs of ‘The O.G.’, this squishy brioche-based toasted sandwich was gloriously golden. Bar the pale, thick threads of mozzarella that were revealed as I parted its two triangles, it could easily have passed as French toast in smell, appearance and accompanying condiments (maple syrup and whipped cream).
And in fact, biting into it I was surprised by how much this rang true for the taste, too, with the mozzarella acting as a cream cheese might: a creamy base that’s inoffensive and delicious, adding greater texture and background hits of savoury and salt. The rest of the seemingly Banoffee pie-inspired innards were equally perfect; a beautifully sloppy, gooey mix of soft, slick, sweet banana, smooth almond paste and crunchy, caramelised nuts.
Everything pulled its weight. Everything had its own special, special role – including, very much so, the cheese. Everything screamed ‘total heaven’. Or maybe that was just me because, for sure, I was now actually in heaven, I decided.
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