& sandwich may soon be your new favorite sunny lunch spot. A one-minute walk from Shinjuku Gyoen, the restaurant offers fresh, delicious sandwiches (eat in or take-out), friendly service and terrace seating. & sandwich first attracted a following in 2015 with a takeout lunch service located near the NHK headquarters in Shibuya. In December of 2017, the shop moved to its new location in Shinjuku and began offering dinner service.
The new space is a warm and well-lit cafe that seats 16. A few counter seats face the open kitchen, where cheerful and friendly staff prepare each sandwich (made fresh to order) on a flat grill top. The sandwich lineup features classic options (BLT, clubhouse, fish sandwich, chicken cutlet sandwich; ¥850-¥1,150) as well as seasonal fare (chicken cutlet in tomato sauce, chicken caesar; ¥950). A vegetable sandwich and vegan salad sandwich are also available (¥1,150). Customers can choose between white or brown bread, then add toppings including cheddar cheese, jalapeno or avocado for a small fee. If you’re eating in the shop, you can add coffee or tea to your order for free.
The classic clubhouse sandwich (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and chicken) includes a slice of red onion and a light, fresh mayonnaise; it’s satisfying and comfortably familiar. The hearty chicken cutlet sandwich features a generous portion size topped with a thick slice of tomato, crispy shredded cabbage, lettuce and mayo. The brightly colored toothpicks used to hold the sandwich together are a charming and nostalgic touch.
Surprisingly, its the vegetable sandwich that steals the show: a layer of fresh, crisp carrot and cucumber sticks forms a base for sliced hard-boiled egg, avocado, fresh cabbage, jalapeno, fried onion crumbs, tomato and lettuce. The vegetable sandwich also comes with a choice of mild or spicy dressing (there’s also the intriguingly vague “mild & spicy” dressing option). The spicy dressing is light but sneaky, giving a pleasantly stimulating (but not distracting) kick of heat to the end of every bite. Add a slice of cheddar cheese to the veggie option for an extra treat. Everything prepared by the & sandwich team is packed with flavor and wonderful textures without ever feeling heavy or greasy.
Ingredients are grilled, toasted and warmed to perfection before assembly in careful delineated layers, so everything is clearly visible. Sandwich portions are so large it’ll pose a challenge to even the most graceful eater, but paper holders at the tables are available to prevent a mess.
For dinner, the menu expands to include some small snack-sized items such as eggplant, buttered cabbage, a grilled vegetable platter, sausage, chicken steak and fish and chips.
The tables are on the small side so this isn’t the space to bring a laptop and work. Instead, bring a friend and enjoy the sunshine near one of the large windows. Lucky visitors will be able to nab one of the three terrace tables. The counter seating also makes it an easy location to visit alone (added bonus: watch each sandwich as it’s made and decide what you’d like to try on your next visit to the shop). On sunny days, the front of the shop opens up to allow a fresh breeze to circulate (so even guests who are sitting inside can enjoy the good weather).
If you’re planning a day trip to Shinjuku Gyoen, you can stop in and get yourself some delicious takeout for a picnic in the park. Visit in the evening and explore the dinner menu options for a more intimate vibe. Tokyo sandwich aficionados, this is one not to miss, and make sure not to overlook the vegetable options. & sandwich pays attention to each detail in their menu offerings and it’s evident in every delicious bite.
&sandwich. Shila Garden 1F, 1-5-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. Tues–Thurs: 11:30am–3:00pm (L.O. 2:30pm), 6:00pm–10pm (L.O. 9pm); Friday: 11:30am–3:30pm (L.O. 3pm), 6:00pm–10pm (L.O. 9pm). Sundays and Holidays 11:30am–6pm (L.O. 5pm). Non-smoking. http://www.andsandwich.tokyo/