The Quo Vadis Eel Sandwich

This legendary eel sandwich recipe is one of Jeremy Lee's signature dishes and is a favourite among diners at Soho's iconic Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis Smoked Eel Sandwich

Serves 1

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 5 minutes

The Quo Vadis Eel Sandwich is served at the eponymous restaurant in the heart of Soho. Founded in 1926, Quo Vadis has a long and storied past, with a reputation as the gathering place for artists, writers and intellectuals who would meet to exchange ideas over good food and drink.

Today, it is owned by restaurateur Sam Hart and chef Jeremy Lee, who have preserved its heritage and made it a place worth pilgrimage. The smoked eel sandwich has been a fixture on the menu for years, a testament to its enduring popularity and the indelible mark it has left on the London food scene.

Smoked eel is a true delicacy with a flavour that equals its antiquity. The ones used at Quo Vadis were originally from Mr Beale’s Eels in Lincolnshire, which over time became the Dutch Eel Company, which in turn became the Devon Eel Company. When bought whole and cut from the bone, these eels are unparalleled. As a heavily protected species, Quo Vadis uses farmed, smoked eel which is meticulously monitored. When making at home, buying from an accredited, sustainable source is essential.

For Jeremy, the sourdough made at the Poilâne bakery in Paris is the only loaf for this sandwich. Sought to serve toasted with terrines and rillettes, he is yet to find a loaf whose structure matches that of the Poilâne and it remains true to the dish.

The remains of the smoked eel once prepared make a formidable stock, and when cooked with potatoes, leeks and mussels and the remaining pieces of smoked eel, an excellent soup.


  • 75g smoked eel fillet
  • 1 slice of sourdough bread, ideally Poilâne
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 soup spoon horseradish cream
  • 1 soup spoon mustard cream
  • 1 soup spoon red onion pickle


  1. Cut the eel into four pieces and the bread into two. Butter the bread sparingly.
  2. In a pan, fry the bread lightly, butter sides down, until crisp and golden.
  3. Place the bread on a board, crisp side up. Put a spoonful of horseradish cream on one slice. Do not spread, as gravity will do the work for you. Secure the eel in the horseradish cream.
  4. Place a spoon of mustard cream atop and the remaining slice of bread on top of that.
  5. Return the sandwich to the pan and cook swiftly until crisp and golden. Turn the sandwich and repeat, then lift on to a plate and serve with a small tangle of red onion pickle.

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