Spotlight: Sub Cult
— 9 Oct 2018 by Lauren Furey
Sub Cult have unleashed their mighty signature sandwiches on the good folks of Shoreditch .We caught up with founders Ben and Gaz to get the lowdown on their sell-out menu and their personal inspirations.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
We’re Sub Cult: an award winning, Michelin chef collaborating, gourmet sub sandwich slinger inspired by Uncle Sam’s delis with a good dollop of Anglo-French flair and British swagger. Media darlings yet devoted to our people, aka the Cult! Our mission: to bring the mighty sandwich home.
How did Sub Cult come about?
Sub Cult are Ben Chancellor and Gareth 'Gaz' Phillips, who met at a rave over a decade ago.
Whilst Ben's pilgrimages to New York's hallowed delis were the original inspiration for the fare, Gaz's formal fine dining training ensures the sandwiches are a cut above; winning national awards judged by Michelin star chefs and leading to working with several decorated names in-house themselves, including, David Muñoz, Tom Sellers, Dan Doherty and Tom Aikens, amongst their fans and collaborators.
We have appeared at Street Feast, Brockley and Maltby St Markets and, more recently, we operated out of a shipping container in Moorgate before joining Boxpark. We’ve picked up a cabinet full of awards, press and accolades along the way including being placed in both Time Out and The Evening Standard's 'Best Sandwiches' and 'Best Street food' articles respectively whilst collecting two 'British Street Food Awards' for 'Best Sandwich' and 'Best Vegetarian'.
The key driver for Sub Cult’s fare was that so many people were doing great burgers and pizza and boxed food on the street food scene but for some reason no one had nailed the sandwich in the broader sense so we saw an obvious gap that needed filling. In America you have sandwiches that have an iconic status such as the Reuben, the Po Boy, the Sloppy Joe, The Cuban and the most famous of all: The Philly Cheesesteak. We felt why should the country that invented the sarnie be left wanting with soggy triangles in cellophane boxes or homogenised processed meats via that other sub place so we stepped up to the plate!
What song best sums up your brand?
The heart of Sub Cult’s brand is the love of music sub cultures, influenced by our time on the 90s dance and mod/soul scenes. Ben was such a die-hard mod that he was selected to ride out to The Who in the closing ceremony of the Olympic games with a load of other Lambrettas and Vespas, and appeared in various style magazines and photo exhibitions before taking a back seat on the scene as he approached 40 for fear of having a ‘mod life crisis’! Nevertheless, the brand’s 2tone (monochrome) image is by no chance so we would have to choose the classic cover of Dandy Livingstone’s ‘A Message to You Rudy’ by English ska legends The Specials as our song!
What can customers expect from your menu at Boxpark Shoreditch?
Customers can expect a refined version of our current menu including reworked versions of our fan favourites that we think will take them to another level.
The award winning Sub Marine in particular will be tastier than ever after the improved recipe being unleashed at, foodie heaven, The Big Feastival in recent weeks.
Our vegetarian and vegan offerings will be extended to include a knock out Halloumi Sub that never fails to sell out each time it’s on the menu .Whilst our Vegan sub - the Sub Conscious - was deemed by Time Out as one of London’s ‘Ultimate Sandwiches’ earlier this year and will include ginger beer battered broccoli, fermented beetroot kraut and a pea and sesame hummus.
Keep your eyes peeled for some extra special sides, such as our Sloppy Joe Fritters, that we think the Boxpark crowd will absolutely love, too.
Which other Boxpark Shoreditch trader would you recommend to customers?
What is your favourite thing about Shoreditch?
Shoreditch was our old stomping ground in the noughties when I was in a band and our studio was based there above the old Dragon Bar, so it has a special place in my heart. Our first pub kitchen residencies were also in neighbouring Dalston and Bethnal Green. Despite the fact that Shoreditch has moved on significantly from those days, it’s still an exciting creative and social hub, rich in culture and vibes!