Russel Norman has created a brand...
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 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 )|
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.
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...
Russel Norman now has a Venitian cook book out! Something I must invest in soon. Check it out