Monday, 7 May 2012

A new-ish Jew-ish deli

I went to Katz's deli in New York many moons ago. My trusty guidebook informed me the sandwiches featured in 'that moment' in the film When Harry Met Sally, a film I hadn't seen. Tucking into the thick stuffed pastrami sandwich, it didn't take long to figure out what 'that moment' entailed. Pastrami wasn't something I'd given much thought to before that moment, but after that I've been looking for preserved meat hits to satisfy my cravings.

Mishkins, the newish opening in Covent Garden from Russell Norman of Sputino/Polpo etc fame, really hit the mark with it's pastrami. Wow. It describes itself as a "kind of Jewish deli" and the d├ęcor is believable, and the vibe isn't as scene-y and showy as its Soho stable mates. The menu is classic Jewish comfort food - combined with sour gin cocktails, perfect for the drab weather we've been having.

I'd been snacking heavily at work (poor form) so we had to do comfort food-lite. We kicked off by sharing a plate of latkes (grated potato pancake), smoked trout, thinly sliced tangy beetroot and fiery horseradish cream. An absolutely perfect combination of flavours - what more can you say? The beetroot was a great texture, slightly chewy and I can't get enough of smoked trout.

For mains we both shared the Reuben sandwich and mac'n'cheese. Mac'n'cheese is one of those dishes I'm generally not inclined to eat out; it's a dish I can do quite well myself and there's something silly about paying £9 for pasta and white sauce. But it was worth it - totally buttery, not too cheesy (no heaps of dyed orange mild cheddar) but rich, and a lovely crispy, crumbly topping. We were circling our fingers round the skillet soaking up every last bit of juice.

And the Reuben, it was really excellent. Juicy juicy pastrami (my dining partner texted a week later saying she was still thinking about it), thickly sliced and generously stuffed between two pieces of lightly toasted rye bread, topped with swiss chesse and a layer of sauerkraut-y Russian dressing. Again, the flavours worked perfectly together.

The cocktails were great - short and strong. Mine, a Negroni, lovely and bitter with all the Campari. Our dessert, a warm cookie and ice cream was unremarkable, but nice.

Overall, it's a thumbs up from me. I'll be back, mostly to eat endless Reuben sandwiches, and to explore more of their menu (Hello lamb and pistachio meatballs!). And more gin cocktails.