Wednesday, 30 May 2012

"A kind of Jewish deli with cocktails"

At some point last year, D and I went to Polpo – a quick check of my records tells me that this was, in fact, in October. We liked it very much. We conceived the notion of going to the other places created and owned by Russell Norman. Apparently, he used to work for a rather posh restaurant group and left to start up his own place so that he wouldn’t have to wear a tie to work anymore. Brilliant. Presumably he had a slightly more detailed business plan than that, but I hope that he brought the tie thing up in the meeting with his bank manager.

D asked me to choose and I went for the latest one in the stable, Mishkin’s, rather to his chagrin I think. It is described on its website as a kind of Jewish-deli with cocktails. I was primarily sold because the menu contained a Reuben sandwich – a dish I have wanted to try for around eight years. (Dr House ordered one in an early episode of House – being curious about food I looked it up and have fancied it ever since. Corned beef! Sauerkraut! Swiss cheese! Russian mayonnaise! Rye bread! These are All Good Things.) Of course, now I come to research (i.e. check Wikipedia) I find that what Mishkin’s have on the menu is actually a variation of the Reuben called the Rachel – where corned beef is swapped for pastrami. It didn’t matter. The choice of venue was made.

The interior of Mishkin’s is absolutely adorable – the kind of set up that I, growing up in darkest suburbia, used to imagine existed on every corner of New York. The staff, in common with all those employed across Norman’s restaurants, were young and beautiful and trendy. The waitresses were wearing extremely short shorts which retro nod was much appreciated by D.

I didn’t need to look at the menu – I was already salivating at the thought of my Reuben. D, deciding to get into the spirit of the Jewish deli theme, ordered the chopped chicken liver as well as one of the specials, a salad consisting of smoked mackerel, asparagus, fennel and a poached egg. He appeared to enjoy both thoroughly; I tried a little of the chopped chicken liver spread on toasted rye and thought it was gorgeous, especially with a generous dollop of a pickled (schmaltzed) radish to give a bit of acidity to the rich offal.
Chopped liver!
My sandwich was a true behemoth. I had eaten very lightly throughout the day in order to be thoroughly hungry come the evening, but still, was nearly defeated. It was as scrumptious as I had imagined – beautiful salty beef and sharp pickle and gooey cheese….however, when I go again, I shall opt for the half Reuben with slaw – I’m sure that would be more than enough. Mind you, the heavenly smell that was rising up from the mac and cheese ordered by the table next to us might be enough to tempt me away from the sandwiches altogether. I very, very nearly plucked up the courage to ask them for a bit. Another carafe of wine and I probably would.

A very large sandwich indeed!
In the spirit of research, and after a bit of digestion, we roused ourselves to share a pudding: a slice of cheesecake (well, when in pretend New York….) which was surprisingly light with a lovely lemony sharpness. Had I had more room I would have tried to make space for the soggy lemon drizzle cake but, alas, it seems that will have to wait for the definitely called for second visit – although with da Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino’s still to get round it may be a while. Still, if you yourself happen in the vicinity – and it is located right in the heart of theatre land so very handy for a pre or post play supper, then do go and wrap yourself around one of those glorious sandwiches. And please help satisfy my curiosity on this point – do the waitresses still have to wander around in tiny shorts in the middle of winter?


  1. Oh yum. I love a Reuben. I will have to check this place out the next time I venture into London. x

    1. This was one massive sandwich! But I am definitely a lifelong Reuben fan now...