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The Definitive List Of The Best Grilled Cheese Toasties In London

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4 months ago

There is something about a grilled cheese toastie on a Saturday afternoon (or a Sunday afternoon, or a Monday afternoon, or a…) that is so comforting and intensely satisfying. The problem with a grilled cheese toastie is that they really are not made equal.

You have to know where to go and, more importantly, who to trust for the enormous calorie spend you’re about to make.

I’m sure there’s a study somewhere which concludes that a bad grilled cheese toastie is one of the leading causes of a bad day, so we’re on a campaign to help our fellow citizens not fall victim to a bad cheese toastie.

We’ve had too many poor excuses for a cheese toastie in London, so we’re committing to writing down right here what are – definitively – the absolute best grilled cheese toasties in London.

different types of cheese at cheese shop in london

Also, there was an absolutely incredible grilled cheese in Broadway Market in East London’s London Fields called Cheesy Nicks that closed down in 2022. Cheesy Nicks, wherever you are, this is an appeal from the people: bring back the kim cheese toastie (it was kim chi and cheese).

5. The Kim Chi Toastie at Abuelo

Abuelo is so understated (and, sadly, under-advertised) that you’d be forgiven for walking right by it. They don’t specialise in cheese toasties like some others, but both Abuelo’s kim chi toastie with gruyere, kim chi and Sesame. Garlic. Butter. is a party for your tastebuds.

Abuelo also offers a truffle mushroom toastie which they’re happy to make vegan. I think there are better vegan grilled cheese toasties on the market (including the below), but it’s still an incredible choice (I’m just being very, very picky).

mushroom grilled cheese toastie at abuelo in soho
The truffle mushroom toastie at Abuelo

Beyond its incredible grilled cheese toastie, Abuelo offers a particularly curious choice of food: it’s a mix of Australian (me!) and South American (not me, but I did live in Medellin, Colombia for a while), and you can see that in their farm-to-fable fare.

This might be the only café in London that has vegemite, a fry-up called “The Bondi” and huevos rancheros all on one menu.

4. The Scottish Haggis Toastie at Grilled Cheese in Brick Lane Market

It saddens me greatly that this grilled cheese toastie stall only opens on Sundays. And I’m sad about it because the team behind the operation has perfected their craft, and you can see it in the assembly line that they’ve created.

brick lane sunday market
Brick Lane’s Sunday market can get very busy – but that just adds to the atmosphere!

As soon as you approach the stall, you’ll see stacks of grilled cheese sandwiches ready to have even more cheese added to them and then toasted to perfection. This is a specialist grilled cheese maker that knows what they’re doing.

I suspect the owner of this stall is Scottish because they offer a Scottish haggis cheese toastie. I had it because I love trying new things, but unless you know you like haggis, don’t choose this meal to try it. Stick to their classic because it’s always wonderful.

If you happen to be in Spitalfields and Brick Lane on Sunday (and you should go for the amazing Brick Lane Markets), the grilled cheese stall can be found between Buxton Street and Grimsby Street on Brick Lane. And Brick Lane’s markets warrant a full day of their own.

3. The Mature Cheddar & Caramelized Onion Toastie at Yeast Bakery

Yeast Bakery is a fairly new addition to the London grilled cheese toastie scene, but they’ve made a name for themselves in the GCC (the Grilled Cheese Community, you understand) pretty quickly.

Yeast Bakery’s cheese toasties aren’t as heavy on the cheese content as our reigning number one, but what they do well here is the balance of flavors.

I personally loved the mature cheddar and caramelised onion, but they also have a vegan grilled cheese toastie that has harissa jam and pesto which looked absolutely fantastic.

Yeast Bakery only serves cheese toasties on the weekend, and only up to 2:30 pm (but last order can be earlier) so make sure you don’t leave this one for a late lunch.

While you’re there, check out Yeast Bakery’s other interesting baked creations. They’ve even got the next generation of fusion bread that is just waiting to be picked up by a major newspaper.

It’s called the Croaf which (you guessed it) is a croissant loaf that Yeast Bakery invented. (I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I saw this pretty frequently in South Korea and Hong Kong, but it’s unique to the UK at least.)

2. The XXL Stovetop 3 Cheese & Mustard Toastie at The Wigmore

I’ve included the full name of the cheese toastie in question here because it is something of an institution for anyone who has actively sought out the best grilled cheese toastie in London.

I’m honestly unsure if I can use words to explain this beast, but I’m going to do my best. The first thing that you’ll notice is that it’s big: so big that it’s probably intended for two, but I take that as a challenge rather than a suggestion.

And then it’s the way it’s presented. This mammoth toastie comes served pressed firmly under a cast-iron press, the whole intention of which is to make sure that the cheese doesn’t harden. This neat addition guarantees that the first bite is as good as the last, which is very difficult to do with a grilled cheese toastie because bread goes cold quickly, and cheese loses its gooeyness even more quickly. And a word of warning:

Cheese Toastie with Lid
The XXL Stovetop 3 Cheese and Mustard Toastie

They disclose the calories on the menu. It’s silly, and I’m sorry that they’ve done this. Like that other study that I cited at the top of this post, there’s a study somewhere that says happy calories don’t count.

And if you ask nicely, they’ll give you pickles to eat with it. It doesn’t come with the toastie, but it’s the right addition to make it just that bit better.

1. And the Best Grilled Cheese Toastie in London goes to…

If a list of grilled cheese toasties in London doesn’t feature Pistachio & Pickle Dairy in North London’s Angel and Islington, click out of the page immediately. They’re just wrong, and they don’t know what they’re saying. I won’t hear anything else. And burn it.

Pistachio & Pickle Dairy’s grilled cheese toastie is so good that it’s truly worth a special visit. They get every detail right: the bread is toasted to perfection (with the crisped cheese on the sides and edges properly crunchy and not soggy), the choices of jam are just right, and there’s an aggressive amount of so many types of cheeses on the inside ready to dazzle your palette.

grilled cheese sandwich  from camden passage in london
Grilled cheese isn’t meant to be pretty

If you’re unsure which cheese toastie is the right choice (because you’re spoiled for choice with all of the amazing options), the answer is the chilli jam. It’s basically a luxe cheese toastie but it’s somehow only £6.

Because they pack every cheese toastie with so much cheese, you’ll be waiting just a little longer than you might expect to wait. It takes time to melt that much cheese! It’s literally thick with cheese.

The owner is also super friendly and very proud of his artisan cheese toasties, so don’t feel afraid to compliment him on his mastery (and you’ll want to).

Appreciate that texture

Pistachio & Pickle Dairy is located in Camden Passage which itself is a beautiful part of North London. The pedestrianized street is home to so many perfectly English storefronts with plenty to eat, shop and do. There is even a great vintage jewellery stand that pops up on Fridays selling wares up to 1990 for very reasonable prices.

Incidentally, one of our favorite ice cream shops in London is a couple of doors down: Badiani.

terraced homes in angel, london
While you’re in the neighborhood, take some time to explore pretty Angel

A word on Grilled Cheese Toasties in London

I’d say London has really come into its own in the grilled cheese toastie game in the last few years, which is why it’s so difficult to squeeze in the best cheese toasties in London into one list (though these really are the best).

There are so many more that didn’t make the list that we love, including the very famous Kappacasein Dairy in Borough Market (you can’t miss it, the queue is huge because it’s on every tourist’s trail – get the raclette with Montogomery cheddar). But these are, in our humble opinion, the best grilled cheese toasties in London right now.

york cheese shop toastie
The Love Cheese in York deserves a shout out

And if you’re looking for the best grilled cheese toastie in the United Kingdom, you’ll find it at Love Cheese in York – and you’ll absolutely love every single option that they make.


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