The Humble Toastie!

I am old enough to remember the only hot food available in British pubs was ‘the toastie’.

They came in a thin plastic wrapper that turned a singed brown once out of the toaster and the fillings were always molten hot. Savoury Mince, Ham & Cheese, Cheese & Onion and the most dangerous being the Cheese & Tomato; the tomato retaining it’s volcanic temperature for an incredible amount of time and always capable of burning the roof of your mouth, even if you’d let it sit for a couple of minutes (not that anyone did, we just blow it and scolded ourselves).

Happy Days!


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Never had one being American but sounds pretty delicious to me

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My son’s favourite thing at the moment. He keeps asking to have them for breakfast. Although the Brevell Sandwich Maker has long been retired. We fry then now, US stylee.


@Jow, you missed a treat!




Yes, we had the Breville Toastie maker when I was a kid in Australia, think toasties are called grilled cheese in the US

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100% correct about the US calling them grilled cheese, grilled ham/cheese, ect.


Our old local Youngs pub in Streatham (South London) used to do toasties, remember them back in the late 80s going with my dad. Used to get Ham Cheese “and also Onion” toasties with what where great Youngs beers back in the day, halcyon times! :smiley:

Reminds of that joke about the rabbit…

Got any grapes ?

Or were you thinking of a different rabbit joke ?

A rabbit walks into a pub, walks up to the bar and orders a pint of bitter and a cheese and onion toastie.

The landlord, while surprised to hear a rabbit speak, let alone order beer and food, was happy enough to serve the rabbit. The rabbit drank the pint, ate the toasties, and left without a word.

The rabbit came back the next day. Hopped up to the bar, ordered a pint of bitter and a cheese and onion toastie. The rabbit drank the beer, ate the toastie and left, again without a word.

Well, this went on for a couple of weeks. The landlord was secretly happy to have such an odd customer turn into a bit of a regular, and the rabbit seemed to enjoy his brief stops at the pub well enough.

Then one day the rabbit hopped in with his usual order. ‘Sorry, rabbit.’ said the landlord, ‘I don’t have a cheese and onion toastie today. How about a nice cheese and tomato toastie?’

The rabbit thought for a moment and said, ‘That’s fine, I’d love to try a cheese and tomato toastie.’ He drank his beer, ate the toastie, and as usual left without a word.

And didn’t come back.

Many months later the landlord was closing up on evening when he heard a noise and felt a chill on the back of his neck. He turned around to see a ghostly apparition in front of him.

‘W- who are you?’ He asked, shivering with fright.


‘Oh, oh yes, of course? H- how are you these days?’


‘I’m sorry to hear that, rabbit… what did you die of?’



If you ever find yourself near Oxford Circus-ish I HIGHLY recommend heading to the Wigmore for a pint of Thornbridge and their epic cheese toastie. I’ve had it a couple of times and it is awesome. Jay Rayner talks about it here:


I have fond childhood memories of toasties from the 80’s before I ever drank in a pub.

This was mainly in Ireland when visiting my grandparents.

There was a pub in Dundalk called the Fane … still exists to this day.

As a 6 to 11 year old this place fascinated me … plumb in the town centre on the main road through town (what was the main Dublin - Belfast N1 until they upgraded and diverted in the 90’s) … and as you entered you walked down a constant gentle slope to where we would always sit at the rear, where it eventually levelled out. There were no windows here with the only natural light at the very front … it almost had a night club feel about it so to a child this was all very exciting.

What really made it though were the large circular leather seated booths at the rear … would seat around 12. They had a doorbell on the wall next to them for table service so as a child I would love this and hey presto a minute or two later a bar man (always a man) and always dressed in black trousers and white shirt with black bow tie and black apron would appear.

Had some great times in here as a kid … normally would head here with my dad and grandad after a session down the snooker hall around 4pm then between 4 and 7 various aunts, uncles and family friends would drift in until the booth was buzzing.

Toasties … yes … that was the food offered in the Fane, Cheese, ham or combo.

I would always have the mixed version every visit.

The humble pub toastie … happy days (via door bell) !


The Red Hand in Dalston (Hackney, London) does a nice range of toasties. I’ve had two different ones from them, both very tasty.

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Someone had stolen the thread:

Good to see my local brewry demonstrating their old school stylee and getting annoyed that someone wants food in a pub.

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