I have not been to Brown Betty’s on St. James’s Street for ages, actually it has been well over ten years I think when I used to work in one of the offices just off Maid Marian way about 5 minutes walk away. In those days we were in here at least a couple of times each week and every sandwich I ever had here was excellent. The only reason why I had not been was that I was not even living in the country and had been ex-patting it in the states. Now though while I am an ex expat, I was back on the hunt for good food in Nottingham and it was then with great delight that I came along St James’s Street on a Saturday lunchtime to see that they were open, and that I had a chance to try them out again after all these years.
Nothing seemed to have changed, there were still great big chalkboards with very tempting sandwich options, all very creatively put together, all full of freshly prepared meats and salads. It was like I had never been away, the same family guys from 10 years ago were all still working behind the counter and they all seemed as happy and as welcoming as they were back then.
I selected from the “Special Ciabatta” menu getting the ‘The 3 Meat Ciabatta’ described on their menu as “For the true meat lover. Bacon- grilled Napoli salami- Turkey breast and your choice of melted Cheddar- Mozzarella or Jarlsberg all served with Mayo and salsa.” I could have opted to eat this at one of the small tables inside Brown Betty’s, and in hindsight I wish I had, but instead chose to get it to takeaway. This meant I was eating this really large and somewhat unwieldy sandwich on a park bench by the castle. The first picture above is mine that I took after I unwrapped my parcel of tasty joy. It did not really do the sandwich justice so I have also copied a picture of the same sandwich off the Brown Betty’s website which shows the sandwich in all it’s glory. You can check out all of the other food options that are available on that site too.
I had almost forgotten how good and how packed with food the Brown Betty sandwiches are. As described on the menu, this one had a good layer of the salty grilled Napoli salami, topped with a layer of tender soft hand carved Turkey breast, this was in turned topped with three slices of bacon covered in melted cheese. The top and bottom of the toasted ciabatta bun were covered with a spread of mayo on the bottom slice and some nice chunky tomatao salsa on the top layer. It all worked very well together, but I wish that I had eaten it inside as it was falling apart in my hands and I really needed way more napkins than I had. Despite that it was really very good and worth the indiginity of walking back to the bus with mayo on my chin and bits of tomato juice dribbled onto my fleece.
When I was travelling through Chicago writing the El Stop Tram Project I rarely managed to get back to the same place to eat again, I really dont think that will be the case with Brown Betty’s. It is one of the beloved sandwich shops in Nottingham for a reason. Simply that it serves up some of the best sandwich food that you can find in the city.
Brown Betty’s is located at 17b St. James’s Street, the small narrow street running along between Maid Marian way and the Market Square. They have a website at http://www.brownbettys.co.uk, open every day except for Sundays.