My love of finding authentic and delicious American food in London is well documented on this blog and I can’t help but rave when I find one that hits so close to home, it practically transports me, for a mere matter of minutes, back to the USA. Liberty Cheesesteak Company is one of those gems in London that only comes across so often, that evokes great memories of going to high school on the East Coast and driving to Philadelphia just to eat a Philly Cheesesteak. These guys are the real deal and it was such a pleasure being able to meet the team behind these awesome cheesesteaks and try them out too.
First off, for those of you who are reading this post and don’t know what a Philly Cheesesteak is, you are in a for a real treat. An authentic cheesesteak is made with well-seasoned rib eye beef, cheese, and more specifically “Wiz,” (no not the spray kind) and sautéed onions, all placed delicately on a fresh, soft Italian sub. It’s basically heaven in the form of a sandwich. The Philly Cheesesteak Company is the very first in London to bring real Philly Cheesesteaks to London, do not be fooled by the many imposters out there.
We visited The Philly Cheesesteak Co. on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Old Spitalfields Market. They’ve got an awesome truck decked out to represent all that is great about the City of Brotherly Love – Phillies baseball memorabilia, the Liberty Bell, stars and stripes – it’s great, you can’t miss it! I have a friend who has a similar kind of truck for which he had to take HGV Cat C training to get a license. Thus I know it would not have been easy for this food truck owner to get his license. We were greeted by Philly native, PJ Teti, who left his London corporate job to bring a taste of his hometown to the Big Smoke. One day, PJ was really craving a Philly Cheesesteak and started to question why he couldn’t get a great one in London. It was at that moment, a few years ago, that he started experimenting with different ingredients at home to create his hometown comfort food. After a lot of trial and error, PJ got it right and with that, The Liberty Cheesesteak Company was born! Let freedom ring.
The menu is filled with the classics – traditional Philly Cheesesteaks as well as specials such as Chicken Cheesesteaks. When you go to Liberty Cheesesteak Co, the key is knowing how to order and rehearse it ahead of time. Do you want a whole or a half sandwich? What kind of cheese – Wiz or Provolone (both are awesome but you need to try the Wiz) and Wit or Witout (onions). Put it altogether and you get “Whole + Wiz + Wit” or “Half + Provolone + Witout.” Simple. PJ treated us to two Italian hoagies, and 2 Wholes, one with Wiz, the other with provolone, both Wit, alongside a Soda Folk Cream Soda and Root Beer.
I grew up eating Italian hoagies when I lived in New Jersey and these were out of this world. I know you’re thinking it’s just a sandwich, but honestly, you haven’t tried a real sandwich in London until you’ve tried these. Filled with capicola, prosciutto, genoa salami, soprassata salami, lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, olive oil and dried oregano, rolled together on their own freshly made hoagie rolls. It was love at first bite, a real crowd pleaser. We did save room though for the stars of the show and happily took half home to enjoy for dinner later.
Next up were the mind blowingly awesome Philly Cheesesteaks, packed with flavourful chunks of prime rib eye that they butcher themselves, sautéed onions, and the secret ingredient that ties it all together – the Wiz. What is Wiz you may be wondering? Made locally with 99.9% real cheese, PJ has perfected the technique of creating this gooey cheese, which you can see in action if you go visit them in Spitalfields. The combination of the meat, the bread and the Wiz is extraordinary and it brought back such great memories of home. It was definitely the best Philly I’ve had and it was refreshing to have a hearty, comforting sandwich.
Provolone cheese is nearly impossible to find over here and it was a real treat to have it on my Philly Cheesesteak. I love Wiz, but I think you can taste the flavour of the meat more with a lighter, but sharper provolone. The bread also must be talked about. Typically, authentic Philly cheesesteaks come on Amoroso bread, hearth-baked bread rolls. You can’t really find them outside of the East Coast, much less London or the UK in general. PJ pretty much perfected his own version of Amoroso’s famous Italian hoagies, and it’s unlike any bread you’ll have in London. It’s something you need to eat for yourself to understand.
The look of pure joy.
Washed down with Soda Folk pop. How cool are these cans?
It was a fantastic afternoon with some real deal Philly Cheesesteaks. The passion for creating not only authentic food, but an authentic American experience for the people of London was so evident and it was truly inspiring talking to PJ and hearing about the roots of the company. There’s a lot of soul there and if you visit for yourself, you’ll see what I mean, and you’ll walk away very very happy after your Philly Cheesesteak feast.
I can’t wait what to see what they’ve got planned for Soho over the next few months… stay tuned!
The Liberty Cheesesteak Company | Spitalfields Market | Lamb Street | E1 6EA | Daily
- Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday – 11:30 – 16:00
- Thursday/Friday – 11:30 – 19:00
- Saturday/Sunday – 12:00 – 17:00
City Point | 1 Ropemaker Street | London | EC2Y 9JU | Every Wednesday & Friday fro 11am to 2pm.
*A huge thank you to the Liberty Cheesesteak Co for the awesome hospitality.