And now for something completely different. The world’s most expensive club sandwich, price HK$480, available at The Parlour restaurant at Hullett House in Tsim Sha Tsui until August 31.
How often do you consider the price of that humble staple of the hotel coffee shop and room service menu, the club sandwich? For those of you who have never eaten one, it’s a pretty bland stacked toasted sandwich combination of bacon, turkey or chicken, mayo, lettuce, sliced tomato and sometimes egg.
It needs to be eaten quickly or the toast goes cold and chewy, and once the lettuce and tomato have soaked through, the whole thing resembles a soggy brick that falls to pieces in your hands. They are usually served with a swizzle stick to anchor the three or five pieces of quartered toast together.
Usually they are garnished with a tired bit of salad and some potato crisps or French fries. Club sandwiches look much nicer than they taste, usually, and it is fair to say few people can eat one without dribbling some of the component parts down their front.
I’ve never understood their universal popularity. Chefs hate them: fiddly and messy to make and at half time during the football in any hotel the room service phone rings off the hook with male guests bellowing for a club sandwich NOW.
Only in Hong Kong
This month booking site Hotels.com ran a survey of club sandwich prices around the world, Hong Kong’s five-star Hullett House Hotel has teamed up with the website to make the most ludicrously extravagant club sandwich. And the price is double the average cost even of one in the capital of expensive food, Geneva in Switzerland, which according to the Daily Telegraph, topped this year’s global club sandwich index - the annual survey estimating the cost of visiting different cities using the price of a club sandwich as a yardstick.
The Hullett House monster deluxe club sandwich features some of the world’s most absurdly over top ingredients, from Beluga caviar, to “A5 Wagyu beef and Balik salmon, which costs around £107 (HK$1,300) per kilo,” said Peter Lee, Executive Sous Chef at Hullett House.
It consists of three toasted bread slices, crusts removed, with the above ingredients sticks with black pork bacon, Iberico ham, Belgian figs, sliced Roma tomato, Romaine lettuce, cucumber, French chicken, Italian organic egg, mayonnaise, mesclun salad and green asparagus.
So I rang Hullett House to speak to the chef to ask him why. Why make such a ridiculous club sandwich? A rather snooty lady answered the phone. Could I speak to the chef? No. There wasn’t one at the moment, she said. Obviously indisposed due to over indulgence in sandwiches.
Could I speak to the public relations person then? No, I could not. Why not? Because they were “between PRS right now.” Oh. Not a good place to be. One last try. Could I speak to the general manager, Mr Au? No. He was out. She did not sound like the sort of girl who passed on messages, so I gave up.
The Daily Telegraph had more luck. Hotels.com was happy to chat. "The Club Sandwich frequently appears on hotel menus across the globe, but the creation from Hullett House shows how you can transform a staple into a work of art with a few luxurious ingredients,” said Alison Couper from Hotels.com. Can’t help thinking this kind of “creation” is like Madonna draping herself in crucifixes to shock. It’s not creative, or clever, or difficult. Anyone can be over-the-top, but most choose not to be, because it’s tacky and tasteless.