Mishkin’s, 25 Catherine Street, London
MISHKIN’S describes itself as a “sort-of Jewish deli with cocktails”. It doesn’t do kosher food but it does have a scrumptious-looking array of the kind of stodgy comfort food you’d find in a downtown New York deli: reuben on rye, salt beef sarnie – all stuffed to the crusts with slurpy mustard and delicious pickles – chicken matzo ball soup, big fat burgers. Gard, I wish I wasn’t veggie sometimes. (A lot of the time.)
As this is the little sis of my beloved Polpo and Spuntino, I’d been wanting to try it out for a while. A midweek catch-up and cinema trip with one of my bezzies Emma was the perfect excuse. Interior-wise, Mishkin’s is less raw and more polished than its big sisters. It has warm lighting, rather than the edgy bulbs on strings you see in Polpo, and exposed brick work and pastel-painted walls instead of the attractively-grubby salvage yard tiles of Spuntino. It’s all laid out on one level with more table places than spaces at the bar (which could probably sit about 10.)
Warning: this place is pop-u-lar. Em and I turned up at about 6.20 p.m. and all the tables in the cosy space were booked (unlike Spunt and Polp, Mishkin’s takes reservations) – meaning we had to take a seat at the pewter-topped square bar in the right corner of the restaurant, right by the retro net-curtained windows. Which was fine by me as I actually prefer the atmosphere of eating at the bar and being able to watch the drinks being made, seeing other people’s food orders turn up, drooling over other people’s food, listening in on other people’s conversations… You know, being at the heart of the action!
As it was a Wednesday night and E and I had already spoken about the fact we were totally getting a pic ‘n’ mix at the cinema, we decided to go for healthy-ish options. Which meant spritzers instead of one of the many chic gin-based cocktails (I ‘m going for the Diamond Fizz next time: Beefeater, lemon, and Prosecco); no fries – although they looked good; and no macaroni cheese. It was a sad time saying no to the macaroni cheese – when the girls’ next to us turned up, all bubbling and browned and smushy and crunchy-looking, we had to do our best not to stick our forks in.
Instead, I ordered the house fishcakes with chrain – a beetrooty horse radish, our lovely waitress explained – and a bowl of market greens. There are several other tasty-looking options for proper veggies by the way. E went for the turkey schnitzel with house greens, apple compote and mustard sauce. They were both delish; the fishcakes plump and fluffy with soft globules of potato; the chrain offering the perfect little sharp kick and the greens al dente and wholesome. The schnitzel, according to E, was, “Mmm, really good. Really good actually. Although I don’t like mustard so I’m not having the sauce. Bleurgh.” I tried the mustard sauce, was nice.
We washed our fodder down with another little spritzer and put the worlds to rights before heading out to the cinema to watch Take This Waltz, which we both loved. Mishkin’s is the perfect place for a midweek, or weekend for that matter, catch-up: buzzy, cool, girl-friendly, gossip-friendly – when it introduces a Quorn reuben on rye, it will be perfect.