When I think of Jewish deli food, my mind wanders to the massive pastrami on rye sandwiches from Katz’s Deli in New York City. Made famous in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ for orgasm-inducing pastrami. You can barely fit a NY Deli sandwich into your mouth it’s so packed full of meat, barely being held together by woefully overwhelmed pieces of rye bread.
Mishkin’s is European take on Katz’s but done in a much more refined way. Don’t get me wrong, some people enjoy two little pieces of bread with two pounds of sliced deli meat mashed between, but I think some things can be taken in moderation. And moderation is what makes Mishkin’s so great. Their menu features normal sized portions or “half” plates of everything. You can order a half pastrami on rye and team is up with a half portion of coleman’s mustard macaroni and cheese. Beautiful.
The restaurant in its current form has been around since late 2011. However, they note that the namesake was Ezra Mishkin who allegedly established the first “E. Mishkin’s” Jewish restaurant in 1931 on Catherine street where the new restaurant now stands.
Like Katz’s Deli in NYC, Mishkin’s isn’t a Kosher Jewish restaurant. They just serve tasty, filling comfort food – the best being the pastrami and salt beef sandwiches. Mmmm beefy. Mishkin’s has done a great job of taking homey, traditional, stodgy deli foods and posh-ing them up just enough to catch Londoner’s attention. Not an easy feat.
Their traditional and beefy offerings include the aforementioned salt beef and pastrami sandwiches, but also meatloaf (with mays and greens), meatballs with gravy (Friday’s only), and all-beef hotdogs in traditional or corn dog. As you can see, the hotdog comes fully overloaded and near un-pick-up-able. They also offer a little selection of sliders that I find irresistible. Starting with a traditional beef with onion and swiss, they also include a lamb slider with minted yoghurt, and a fried chicken with jalapeños.
Even though the ‘sliders’ are available in a full size for around £9, I would recommend a selection of the smaller ones, or a plate of all varieties to share. Don’t go big on the burger if you have salt beef and pastrami right at your fingertips!
Another dish worth mentioning is their macaroni cheese section. Particularly the mac that’s mixed with coleman’s hot mustard and bit of their salt beef. The spicy English mustard sits extremely well with the salty beef and just the right amount of toasted breadcrumbs. I’ve been there 5 times and no matter what my entrée I always have a small side of that macaroni. One last favourite (I promise)… the onion rings. They are fried perfectly in a light, tempura-like batter they are delicious and won’t last long once placed on the table.
Mishkin’s definitely does food right, but it does cost a little more for this amazing spread. Most of their main, full-size dishes will run about £9-11. The smaller portions come in around the £4-6 mark. In my opinion, totally worth it. The restaurant itself is very relaxed with country-style tables and wooden chairs and a couple diner style booths to sit larger parties.
Much like Spuntino, they have purposely left the interior a little bit ragged, but in a countryside way. Spuntino goes for the grimy inner-city school look, mishkin’s goes for country rustic, but with just enough splash of city diner to remind you that it’s a Jewish deli, not a roadside greasy spoon. This one is definitely worth a visit or two…or five. There is plenty to choose from on the menu, so bring an appetite and if you’re feeling like pushing your luck, get a milkshake.
Mishkin’s – 38/50
Beef (9): Only because of the amount of beef you’re served, it’s still delicious.
Bun (7): Rye breads toasted to perfection, crunchy and soft.
Toppings (6): Good deli toppings like sauerkraut, sour salsa, dill pickles, etc.
Value (6): Pricey, but half plates allow you to mix and match.
Ambiance (10): Posh, grimey, cool, perfect.
You can visit Mishkin’s at 25 Catherine Street near Covent Garden, or visit their website here.