lunches at Mishkin's...

LawrenceofArb and I wanted to grab lunch - the kind of lunch where you can talk loudly, have a quick drink - and shoot the breeze.  None of my usual haunts then.   As I was coming straight from a meeting at No. 1 Aldwych, LoA suggested Mishkin's, the latest offering from Russell Norman and the Polpo team.  Mishkin's serves (non-kosher) Jewish deli food and also cocktails - a perfect choice.

The room is bare-bricked, with banquette's, kitsch fittings, and Norman's trademark horseshoe bar where you can grab food, or have a drink while you wait.  Now getting a table at Mishkin's is actually somewhat more complicated though - I was of course late - and poor LoA spent some time trying to organise a table.  By the time I finally arrived, the queue was out of the door and the staff were turning business away.  We made a reservation for 1:45 and retreated next door to the Opera Tavern for a quick catchup.  Returning a little later, we were quickly shown to a table, and given glasses of tap water and the menu.

LoA has spent time in NewYork, so was drawn nostalgically to a number of dishes - should he have the Reuben? Look, there was meatloaf! And saltbeef...  Having grown up in Germany, the menu evoked equal feelings of nostalgia in me - there was sauerkraut, pickles and matzo balls...  We debated our order - I knew the portions would be too big for me, so we traded combinations - if I had the Reuben Lawrence could have half of mine, then he could order something else...  This went on for a surprising amount of time, which is testimony to the varied offerings.

Ultimately LoA chose the Reuben, and I had a pastrami with salad.  I ordered some sauerkraut and onion rings as a side.  Going with the flow we also both chose a cocktail: I had the Cucumber Martini and Lawence The Last Word.  Now I should have paid a little more attention to that list, as my cucumber martini was actually just Hendricks gin (which is flavoured with cucumber), with a garnish of a long wound strip of cucumber balanced inside the old fashioned glass.  The first taste was of pure alcohol, but as it sat there for some time, the cucumber did soften the flavour somewhat (or the Hendricks worked its magic on my tastebuds).  The Last Word on the other hand contained gin, lime, green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur.  It tasted amazing, with a very tiny herby/spicy kick in it that we couldn't quite identify - presumably from the chartreuse.

Our onion rings arrived - they were hot, crisp in a tempura style batter, but a little undercooked for my personal taste - they were good, just a tiny bit too pale.  The sauerkraut arrived, crisp, soused and a finely shredded variety.

Our sandwiches arrived very promptly too - my pastrami had an amazing nutmeg kick - the cure on the outside of the meat transported me right back to Germany, and I found myself in the second conversation of the day on German lebkuchen*, with their spicy warm gingerbread flavour.  This added enormously to the sandwich.  There were sliced dill pickles to the side which were crisp and tangy.  Lawrence's Reuben went down well too and was soon finished off.

I love Mishkin's - it's loud, it's packed and every time a dish goes past you you wonder what that amazing scent is.  The staff were very attentive and very friendly - having seen that I drink water like a fish, one young chap made a point of topping me up frequently.  The entire bill came to £40 - perhaps some will consider £10 a sandwich expensive, but these were sandwiches I'd cross town for.  If you know what a good pastrami sandwich is, you'll know the price of nostalgia.  My only recommendation would be to book your table - it's a very vibrant, happy and popular haunt, and I can't see it quietening down any time soon.

* I ended up discussing gingerbread and lebkuchen three times in one day -  and my later review of 7 Park Place will include a dessert completely reminiscent of German gingerbread.

The gorgeous photos were taken by Paul Winch-Furness for Mishkin's... 
For more examples of Paul's work go to

Brick Lane Salt beef with Colman’s mustard & pickles 9
Reuben on rye with pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing & Swiss cheese 9
Severn & Wye lox beigel with house schmear 6
Chopped chicken liver with schmaltzed radish 6
All pork Big Apple dog, dragged through the garden, (more info at 9
3oz steamed beef patty with onions & Swiss cheese 5

Meatballs, Choose from:Lamb & pistachio
Ground beef & green peppercorn
Chickpea, spinach & ricotta
Naked (3 balls) 6
In a bap (1 ball) 3
3 balls & 2 sides 12

All day brunch Duck hash, fried egg & liquor 9
Latkes, smoked eel, apple sauce & soured cream 8
Roast figs, cashews, goat curd & spiced honey 7
Egg & chips 6

All day supper Whitefish & spinach knish with parsley liquor 8
Pickled herring, beets tartar 7
Meat loaf 8
Cod cheek popcorn 7
Oxtail cholent with barley, beer & beans 9
Macaroni cheese, to share 9
Chicken matzo ball soup 5

Salads & sides & extras Cauliflower & caraway slaw 5
Fried green tomatoes 4
Chips 3
Fried onion rings 4
Half & half 4
Mash 4
Market greens 5
Baby gem & walnut salad 4
Dill pickles 2
Half sours 2,
Sauerkraut 2
Fried egg 2,
Schmaltzed radish 11
Jalapenos 1
Duck or parsley liquor 1
Russian dressing 1

Puddings Bananas Foster 5
Apple & honey blintz 6
Warm choc chip cookie & ice cream 5
Nancy Newman’s soggy lemon drizzle cake 5
Malted milkshake 4

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