If I say “British Food” you’re either thinking bland pub food with room-temperature Newcastle Brown, or your mouth is watering at the thought of melt-in-the-mouth fish and chips enjoyed with the smell of salt sea air. If you’re going to London for the 2012 Olympics and keep a kosher diet, I can all but promise you that neither of these images will come alive for you. London has always had plenty of fine dining options, from the classics that I remember as a child, to the near culinary delights to hit the scene and I intend to help you make sure you have a taste of the best when you get to Her Majesty’s land.
Central London has fewer kosher options than Golders Green, Edgeware and Boreham Wood, but for the best salt beef (corned beef to those of us in the US) on rye with Coleman’ss mustard and latkes large enough to share, I beg you to visit the West End and stop at Reubens (79 Baker Street, W1U 6RG). The smells and sounds of this Zagat-rated deli make it so much more than just a place to eat. Reuben’s is a place to dine, to people watch, and to experience part of Jewish London that hasn’t changed since 1973. One similar culinary adventure that brings a smile to my face is Blooms, unfortunately they closed their doors in the summer of 2010. If you’ve heard of Blooms from friends or family, the experience you will enjoy at Reuben’s will stay with you forever.
If you’re staying in Golder’s Green or Hendon and want an authentic taste of the Middle East, visit Solly’s (146-150 Golders Green Road, NW11 8HE). For years, I swore the shwarma I would get at Solly’s was better than the shwarma I could get in Israel. Family owned, and Israeli-run, you can order in English or Hebrew. As well as providing a filling, and flavorful lunch or dinner, the decor of this restaurant is unique and adds to the experience too.
Also in Golder’s Green, Carmelli’s Kosher Bakery (126-128 Golders Green Road) close their doors only on shabbat and chagim. If you’re itching for a donut, pastry or bagel with lox and cream cheese at 3am, this is the place to find it. Just a short walk from Golder’s Green Tube station and no more than one block away from Solly’s, be sure to pick up some treats to enjoy while at the Olympics. Be warned, they get busy on a Saturday night, especially as the other eateries near-by, kosher and non-kosher alike, start to empty out.
If you are still in London on August 5, be sure to check out Kosher Roast. Inspired by Amy Beilin, a fellow foodie that missed the smells and taste’s of a Sunday roast lunch, Kosher Roast is a one of a kind “pop up restaurant”. Pop up restaurants, perhaps like supper clubs in the US, offer restaurants and chefs the chance to test run new concepts. By the same token, would-be chefs and restauranteurs can get a taste of the business. During the Olympic celebrations, Amy will share her British classics like the scotch egg and mini chicken and leek pies with a Kosher Roast event.