Food Friday: Mishkin’s, Covent Garden, London

First off, apologies for the lack of posts this week – birthday weekends and weeks aren’t very conducive to blogging! However, I couldn’t let Food Friday go – even belatedly – without tying it into the holiday season.

You’re probably wondering how exactly I plan to tie-in restaurants and Easter. A Hot Cross Bun Café? A chocolate shop dedicated to Easter eggs? Or just somewhere that does a particularly good roast to rival your Mum’s?

No, no and no. (Although I may do a pop-up Hot Cross Bun Café next lent – imagine the smell!) Because this weekend in my World isn’t Easter, it’s the beginning of Passover. A Jewish festival. And for me this is a good enough connection for me to be reviewing Mishkin’s, a ‘kind of Jewish deli, with cocktails’ in Covent Garden – the latest venture from the Polpo Group.

Photo Credit: We Love Food, It’s All We Eat
Photo Credit: Total Access
Photo Credit: Restaurant Gossip

By kind-of, they mean that the food served is based on Jewish comfort food, such as salt beef sandwiches, chopped liver and chicken matzo/matzah ball soup. However the restaurant isn’t, and doesn’t pretend to be, kosher. In fact, it suggests on its ‘About’ page that they serve hot dogs (that said, either I completely missed it, or this has changed recently, but I can’t actually find this option on the menu itself).

My main reason for visiting Mishkin’s was the salt beef sandwich (and before anyone points it out for me, I am aware of the irony (if it can be called irony, anyway) of reviewing a sandwich on Passover*. But I’m doing it anyway). It didn’t disappoint. The beef was tender and moist – perhaps a tiny bit less salty than I think is the ‘norm’, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And the portion size was more than generous. This was John’s first taste of a salt beef sandwich, and it far exceeded his expectations.

We ordered chips and onion rings for sides. The chips came with their skins on, which made them better than your average chip. As John pointed out, onion rings often have a tendency not to ‘break off’ properly, leaving you with a mouthful of onion and clutching some empty batter. These definitely did not do that, making them some pretty tasty onion rings in our opinion. I think in future, though, I’d either order one side to share, or one carb-y side and something else like the slaw – this was our main meal of the day, we hadn’t eaten lunch and we were still unable to completely finish everything between us.

Besides the food, the other thing worth noting about Mishkin’s is the décor. It’s American diner with a twist. Red booths surround Formica tables boasting plastic condiment bottles and plastic water jugs and plastic-topped salt and pepper shakers. The floor is black and white checked, the walls exposed brick and feature a specials board using those plastic white letters to spell out the food of the day. I also loved that the blue and white bowls in which our sides were very similar to some dishes and plates my Grandma has. It’s a lot sleeker, and nowhere near as as busy  (in terms of décor) as the American-Jewish diners on which it’s modelled – no photos of celebrity guests all over the walls for example. Nonetheless, it still succeeds in feeling like a diner – it’s just a bit ‘cooler’ than your average one.

Photo copyright Paul Winch-Furness
Photo Credit: Rocket & Squash
Photo copyright Paul Winch-Furness

Although I’ve heard mixed reviews about Mishkin’s, we had no complaints. (Though most of the negative comments seem to relate to the non-sandwich based dishes, and suggest that portion sizes don’t quite live up to American-sized expectations. Definitely not a problem with the sandwiches!) It was reasonably priced: sandwiches are £9, sides £3-£4 and desserts around £5. Drinks are a bit more expensive, at £6+ for a glass of wine and £7+ for cocktails, but not extortionate considering the central London location. Service was fine – if nothing to write home about. And then there’s the interesting surroundings, full of interesting details and objects to spot.

If you want an authentic Jewish experience then there are definitely better places to go. But if you’re looking fun, filling New York deli-inspired food with an accompaniment of cocktails in the centre of London then Mishkin’s is definitely worth a visit.

*For the uninitiated to Passover, you eat unleavened bread for the duration of the festival. You can find out more information here.

The Details
25 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JS
Bookings: 020 7240 2078
Menu available on their website