In Cape Town, the word “Gatsby” refers to the quintessential sandwich of Cape Town and not the book or movie. A foot-long submarine sandwich cut into four portions and packed with slap chips (or french fries), special sauce (like atchar) and a variety of other fillings including polony, steak or calamari. Its origin is the Cape Flats, where people filled their sandwiches with left overs, and its name is associated with the “Great Gatsby” movie when it came out in the 1970s.
If you want to stir up a debate in Cape Town, you just need to ask who makes the best Gatsby. From Miriam’s Kitchen (St George’s Mall), The Golden Dish (Athlone) to Aneesa’s Takeways (Wynberg), there are a number of places that make the best Gatsby lists. But I was told by people in the know that the greatest of all Cape Town Gatsby’s is found at Cosy Corner (Wynberg).
And so, I found myself at Cosy Corner and ordered the recommended grilled rump steak Gatsby (1/2 portion). I ate my way through it for the rest of the day. Filled to the brim with slap chips, steak, tomatoes, lettuce on a submarine sandwich it was a monster of a food challenge but very tasty.
The Gatsby won’t be my go-to cheat meal (that throne has long been occupied by pizza) but I am glad that I finally tried it because as a Cape Townian it was long overdue. The best part of the Gatsby experience was chatting to the Cosy Corner regulars who were big enthusiasts. It’s really a meal to be shared with friends and family and that’s what makes it a great Gatsby.