The Free Ranger – London Philly Cheesesteak – £6 – London and Chelmsford
Hark at thee, hungry readers and food porn enthusiasts. I am here to tell you a cheesy meaty tale, from the valleys (or high street) of Chelmsford, Essex. Our story began one uneventful Friday lunchtime when a lost soul was wandering through this pity-city – I say this because the Queen deemed Chelmsford a city but let’s be real here…this is a place for realness. Anyway, I digress! I am here to tell you about some joy that was brought to me on a day of boredom and darkness.
It was Friday, I was hungry. Most lunchtimes in Chelmsford I settle for something pretty standard from M&S, Pret or the like. Fridays are market days and there are various stalls set up along the high street. I was on a Pokemon stroll and saw The Free Ranger stall…I’d seen this before and was always slightly intrigued because it had “London Philly Cheesesteak” written on the board, but yet we weren’t in London nor Philadelphia. A quick search told me that The Free Ranger has also set up around London, at festivals and now also occasionally rests in Chelmsford. Acceptable, I thought. As we are a mainly London based blog I grabbed this opportunity to try something and pass the news onwards via these here writings.
And so I purchased my first Philly Cheesesteak (London, or otherwise).
They cooked the freshly diced beef steak up in front of me and asked if I wanted onion, peppers, mushrooms and jalepenos. I said “please and thank you” to all but the jalepenos so they chucked those on with the beef and actually sliced the mushroom up while it was on the grill hot plate. After a while it was all mixed about and there were a few of these piles of joy being cooked at the same time, each with their own choice of veggies.
Now with photos of cheese steaks I had kind of imagined a bundle of sliced steak with some sort of plasticcy American cheese on the top, melted. So I was surprised to see a ladle of their home made mature cheddar cheese sauce be draped over my steak veg mix. This started bubbling and got mixed in releasing DELIGHTFUL AROMAS. I was getting excited (and a little aroused, let’s not lie – meat and cheese).
A half size (six inch?) white baguette or “Rustic Huffer”, similar to a tiger loaf, was split in two and the now cheesy meat chunk mixture was added, then I got asked if I wanted ‘Street Frites’. Of course I do! They come free with every meal ordered, if you want them. I really had no idea what they were but frites (Français pour le chips) they weren’t. Instead they were discs of what seemed like freshly cut potato. Interesting!
I handed over my £6 and went away to find myself an eating nest.
Once I was settled I tucked in – I picked up a fork from the stall because there was a ton of filling in this bad boy – and man….it was shamazing, The sauce was cheesy but not overpowering, creamy and rich. The beef was really nicely cooked…I like my beef rare but that wouldn’t have suited this sort of sandwich and this wasn’t overdone at all. Really surprising considering this had been lobbed on a flat hot plate thing to cook and was stirred occasionally but it seems these guys aren’t messing around and know what they’re doing.
The veg was good too, but that was just a nice background component to the beef and cheese. That was my main focus and I really couldn’t get enough. Eventually I could pick the sub up and go at it with my hands and face. The cheesy sauce had invaded some of the baguette and gahhhhd it was pretty, pretty, pretty pretttty special. Soft moist bread with a meaty cheese flavour. Perfecto. Really good and really filling. Really.
The Street Frites, what about those? These potato discs were a surprise for me. Very nicely seasoned and cooked. Salty, a but peppery and maybe buttery?…I would call anyone who doesn’t say yes to these (unless there is a health reason) an eejit. Really great especially as a free add on to your main. I could easily eat a bowl of those on their own, no sauce or anything.
So yes, as you may have picked up I was very surprised with this lunch find, I went back to work recommending it to my colleagues and knew I had to spread the news on this as Chelmsford doesn’t have a large array of eatieries (though a few different restuarants have opened recently I must say). If you are ever in Chelmsford and the market is on down the high street, pop down near McDonalds. Ignore McDonalds and turn around to the glory that is The Free Ranger and try their London Philly Cheesesteak. You won’t regret it – trust blud.
Forked by Stefpuff