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Friday, 2 December 2011

E.Mishkin's - is bringing sexy back

Mishkin's on Urbanspoon

Russel Norman has created a brand...
I am not sure if this was the mission, but inevitably with the opening of their fifth restaurant, Mishkin's, the little empire has picked up even more wind in its sail. It is now safe to say, that the new space of Mishkin's has a "Norman-y" feel about it; everything from the low hanging lights over the shiny bar, to the New York diner layout. 
Mishkins though,  is still unique in its own right, with the un-treated wooden panels, pastel blue splashes of colour and the awesome retro soap. Lots of Yiddish and aged Eastern European elements. The "brand" will now be hard to beat, and anyone who tries will probably be seen to have been influenced by "R.Norman" - signed, sealed, delivered!
The food of course, is the most important part, apart from the cool cocktails that is, which are all Gin based. Some such as the "London Cup", are served in jugs and drank from jars (!) that probably double as "speakeasy" prohibition glasses (?). Well, that's what they look like, but jars are probably just used because it is different... edgy.
After some deliberation about the best combinations of the menu (mostly Jewish/Eastern European influenced), we decided to order the Reuben Sandwich, Pickled Herring, Cod Cheek popcorn, meat Loaf, mac & cheese, a side of sauerkraut, and a dessert to share .

The cod cheek popcorn and the side of sauerkraut didn't hit the mark for me. Yes the cod was soft and the batter crispy, but overall there was no "wow" factor, no amazing flavours, rather bland. The sauerkraut it seems was missing the "sour" from the kraut, no kick that I normally crave from this food to cut through the other flavours on the plate.
Cod Cheek Popcord (Picture thanks to @theskinnybib )
The rest of our dishes were very tasty. The herring was sweetly marinated which was perfectly complimented by the beetroot and the dill. In fact, this was one of my favourite dishes; it being light and tasting of spring.

The meatloaf, perfectly cooked on the outside and warm enough (just) on the inside to pass the tar-tar stage. The hearty flavours of the mince were spot on, and the perfectly runny egg in the middle, well, that was just rich and creamy (technically perfect). Take the very cheesy- crispy on the top Mac & Cheese – and you have a perfect “feel good” party for the taste buds meal. Think rocklette and cream, and add maccaroni!
Herring on bed of beetroot (Picture thanks to @theskinnybib )
And then we come to the Reuben sandwhich from the "sandwiches" section of the menu (Note, not everything in this section is strictly a sandwhich, just that it may not have a place in other places of the menu) This was a guilty pleasure, but possibly not a "dinner" item. However it is nice to know that I can always call on the Reuben any time of the day/night.

It seems the origins of this sandwich date back to USA/New York around the 1914-1920's time.  A Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of layered meat, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, with a dressing. This has got to be one of the best sandwiches. Mishkin's portion requires both hands and a big bite! It's just a great sandwich (did I say that?), and brings out the 'Eastern European' flavours of Mishkin's.
The Reuben
Total bill came to £87 for two, which includes drinks, dessert and service. We rolled out of there full to the brim.

Service was attentive, but at times it fluctuated from extremes i.e. too much attention to too litte when it came to getting the bill and other small requests.

Overall,  from an objective point of view, i.e without any influence from the other massively successful restaurants, Mishkin's stands on its own. If i walked into Mishkin's tomorrow for the first time, I would be excited about the concept.

As my good friend @Madolyn_Grove said "Norman has manged to do what any great artist does, hes made his mark on a booming industry.. as I dare say, an avant-garde restaurateur perhaps? He certainly has become his own brand''

Have a listen to the 9pm atmosphere as the blinds on the windows are drawn and Mishkins becomes even more intimate...

Mishkins (mp3)

Russel Norman now has a Venitian cook book out! Something I must invest in soon. Check it out Square Meal


  1. Not sure about the pickled herring but up for the ruben! Nice find, I'll be adding this to my list.

  2. Definitely do, and let me know how it goes :)

  3. Oh I am so sad that Mishikins has opened once I left London - looks like it has the Russell Norman golden touch for sure.

  4. Absolutely does GC! :)
    Very sad that you have left London, i enjoyed your posts about the local eateries !

  5. Where is the meat?

    Two wafer-thin slices of meat – and you're calling this a Reuben.
    It's more sauerkraut than meat. And it's more bread than anything else.
    If I wanted a loaf of bread, I would have gone to a bakery.
    Are you joking?
    Marks and Spencer makes pre-packed Ham sandwiches with more meat than this thing!
    I've never seen such a stingy sandwich, let alone a Reuben.
    A place like this would be laughed out of existence in New York, New Jersey – or any state in America for that matter.

    What a let down... I will never return again.

  6. Joey,
    Thank you for the comment.

    I have to say that i have had the Reuben again since my initial visit to Mishkin's, and in fact it was a lot smaller than the one pictured in my original picture.

    I can assure you that the sandwich i had first time was FULL of meat, as you can see above.

    Hopefully Mishkins will rectify this

  7. I'm a big fan of a good Reuben. A good Reuben is a celebration of Life. It should be satisfying. And it should be generous.

    I will go miles out of my way for good Reuben or a good Salt Beef Sandwich on Rye with English mustard. These two sandwiches are like two brothers. I love them equally.

    Two of the best places in London to get them are B&K Salt Beef Bar up in Edgware and the Beigel Bake on Brick Lane which is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. Both of these joints know how to make a super-juicy-fall-out-the-sides generous sandwich.

    You could put either one of these shops somewhere in Brooklyn, and they would still have massive ques. Because New Yorkers don't want fancy-pants nonsense. They just want a good sandwich. And if you go to B&K Salt Beef Bar up in North London or the Beigel Bake on Brick Lane out in East London – that's what you get. A no-nonsense great tasting super-juicy super-generous Salt Beef Sandwich.

    1. Joey you sound like a big fan of the sandwich!

      I shall take your word and check it out for myself. Looking forward to trying out the Beigel Bake.

      thanks for the tip

  8. So it's a copy and pasted comment eh? Well, admittedly, the Reuben you had is a damn site chunkier than mine but neither of us deny the enjoyability of the dish. Still looking forward to going back, and you must try the London Cup..a total win!

    1. Oh the London Cup was enjoyed by two jug fulls :) an amazing cocktail.