By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

There is something so comforting in a sandwich. Take two pieces of bread, slather on the butter, the mayo, mustard or whatever appeals to your taste buds. Stack on the meat, fish, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, pepper and again whatever tickles your fancy. Put the two pieces of bread together, skewer with a toothpick, fork, chopstick or whatever handy tool is nearby and voila, you have a sandwich. If the sandwich is a tall and thick one, stuffed to the gills with delectables, then wear your napkin around your neck, take hold of both the top and bottom pieces of bread and prepare to dribble. As indeed you will if the sandwich is a hearty one.

The origin of the word ‘sandwich’ for an item of food may have originated from a story about John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He didn’t really ‘invent’ the sandwich but he may have made it popular.

It is said that in approximately 1762, he asked for meat to be served between slices of bread, to avoid interrupting a gambling game. This story may have been rumour or adverse propaganda, put about by his rivals. But soon people may have started ordering “the same as Sandwich”, and the name stuck!

Lately, there has been a proliferation of cafes dotted around Ipoh serving a wide selection of the aforementioned sandwich, some with more creativity and flair than others. One such newly-opened cafe with flair is Mustard on Jalan Chung Thye Phin opposite the Elim church.

The front of the cafe is clean, modern, minimalist and bathed in sunny yellow; designed for a quick bite or a longer meal in cool comfort. The back area is dimmed, rustic, shabby-chic-cum-industrial-glam with rough hewn wooden tables for longer more intimate chats over coffee and dessert and a sandwich or two.

The sandwiches have tantalising names like Awesome Pig, Smoky Virgin, Cowboy Hotpants, French Kiss, Green Submarine, Big Fish, Ducky, Miss Kimchee, Honolulu Chicken, Vegan Steak and Sam Salami. I tasted the Awesome Pig which was grilled pork bacon with tomato sauce and yellow mustard served on toasted charcoal bread. As its name suggests, this was tasty with the bread slightly crisped at the edges, the filling satisfying except that I would ask them to hold back on the tomato sauce making the sandwich too sweet for my palate – RM15.90.

The Vegan Steak was surprisingly the most expensive item on the menu but when I read the ingredients I understood why. The filling consisted of grilled portobello mushrooms (which are expensive and often hard to come by), oyster mushrooms, mozzarella cheese served on toasted charcoal bread – RM17.90.

Extra fillings like mild and smoked cheddar, smoked bacon, smoked duck, smoked ham, roasted ham and mushrooms can be added to any order for between RM1-2.50 and all sandwiches are served with a side salad and taco chips making each order a complete meal in itself.

If a healthy salad is the yearning for the day, two in particular stand out. The Honey Wild Rocket with sliced Gala apple, smoked duck and tossed with a honey mustard vinaigrette, sprinkled with roasted walnuts was hearty and wholesome at RM13.90; while the Anchovy Lover with butter lettuce, crispy bacon chips, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, topped with garlic bread and Caesar dressing had the real tang of macerated anchovies which I love – RM12.90.

Mustard’s menu also features a few soups and one or two pasta dishes as well as their special of the day which is displayed on a big signboard at the entrance as you walk in. Their coffees are delicious and all their breads are home baked by one of the partners’ wife.

Mustard Sandwich House
7 Jalan Chung Thye Phin, Ipoh.
Phone:  012 460 3814
Opening Hours:  8am-6pm; Tuesdays closed.