LDNReview

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Paul Rothe & Son image
8.5

Paul Rothe & Son Delicatessen

Deli

Marylebone

$$$$Perfect For:LunchQuick EatsClassic EstablishmentTakeaway
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Nothing spells existential despair like searching for a quick and fulfilling lunch in central London. However, Paul Rothe will lift anyone’s spirits. The oldest of old-school sandwich shops (it opened in 1900), this century-old Marylebone deli will do anything you like. Homemade prawn cocktail? Of course. Ham, cheese, and piccalilli? A classic. Smoked salmon with one squeeze of lemon? Your wish is their command. For springy quartered sandwiches and a feeling of Britishness so quaint that you could picture Paddington Bear delivering rattling cups of tea to your table, there is simply nowhere that does it quite like here.

Inside it’s somewhere between a caff, a deli, and a Ye Olde Chutney Emporium. Jars of jams, pickles, and condiments line the wall and there are half a dozen or so formica tables plus a little counter to call dibs on. Manners are encouraged but don’t make the mistake of standing on ceremony. It’s a first come first served policy, and you need to give your order, most likely to Stephen—the always-amiable great grandson of Paul Rothe—before you sit down.

Paul Rothe & Son image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Paul Rothe & Son image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Paul Rothe & Son image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Paul Rothe & Son image
Paul Rothe & Son image
Paul Rothe & Son image

There are certain words that fly around this deli on a regular basis. ‘White’, ‘please’, ‘brown’, ‘thank you’, ‘scotch broth’, and ‘ta’ are seven of them. On weekends it’s chokka and the crowd is a mixture of wizened old-timers with jacket potatoes, beans, and cheese in front of them and quizzical tourists eyeing up a bowl of coronation chicken like a suspect accused of crimes to gastronomy. Given this spot’s history, there are often just as many new faces as there are old ones. But decisiveness is key at Paul Rothe regardless of how regular you are. Brown bread. Red sauce. Soup on the side. You’ll soon get into the rhythm. The scotch broth, which is made from chicken and ham off-cuts (and, if you’re lucky, peppery pastrami) is particularly popular among Marylebone regulars.

When it comes to the sandwiches, old friends like egg mayo with anchovies and pastrami with Swiss cheese and gherkins are gratifying favourites. Something about Paul Rothe’s loaf tin bread is especially soft but the crust still maintains a satisfying chew. Washed down with a carton of Ribena, these handfuls, from a plate inside or a paper bag outside, are pretty close to perfect.

Food Rundown

Paul Rothe & Son image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Egg Mayo And Anchovy

A good egg mayonnaise sandwich is no mean feat and the one from Paul Rothe & Son is excellent. Proper chunks of eggs and yolk, a handful of chives, tangy mayonnaise and, best of all, carefully placed salty anchovies on top. This is best enjoyed on their duvet-soft white bread.
Paul Rothe & Son image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Pastrami, Swiss Cheese, Mustard, Pickle

Another classic combination straight from the specials board. There is almost nothing about this pastrami sandwich that isn’t spot on. The meat is sliced so thinly it could have been cut with a razor blade and its cracked black pepper exterior fizzes on your tongue. Combined with slices of creamy Swiss cheese, fat wedges of gherkin, and a smear of mayo and mustard, it’s a superb bite. Best served on brown.
Paul Rothe & Son image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Coronation Chicken

Britain's chilled curried chicken classic was supposedly first created in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, so you would imagine it was as popular at Paul Rothe & Son then, as it is now. The mild curry powder-tasting filling has a smattering of raisins thrown in, and is mixed with tender chicken. If you’re partial, this combo is up there with the best corry chickens around.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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