I’d never heard of a Reuben sandwich until Mishkins came to town. Two of my lovely friends went to New York recently and told me about this amazing pastrami sandwich they’d eaten and it didn’t click that they were talking about THE Reuben from Katz’s Deli that critics are comparing the same dish from Mishkins to. Mishkins sells itself as a ‘kind-of Jewish deli with cocktails’, and since their opening earlier this year, the crowds have gone crazy for this sandwich (don’t worry, I’ll get to it soon). This probably had something to do with the fact that its the new project from the same team behind Polpo, Spuntino, Polpetta etc, a massively successful set of foody boozy haunts that has gained itself a huge online following. I popped to Mishkins on my day off to get a part of the action and eat the Reuben which, to clarify, is a toasted sandwich (rye or pumpernickel) of layered meat (pastrami or corned beef), sauerkraut and swiss cheese with dressing.
The sandwich (£9) was good, the generously sized bread making it enough for two to share, and it had salty tender meat and seriously stringy cheese. The tangy kick wasn’t there for me in the sauerkraut (maybe the portion was too small) so I stuffed half of my gherkins in there which did the trick. Even with the gherkins, the filling was a bit sparse; the cheese and meat had met in the middle and left the ends bare. In all honesty, I didn’t get all of the fuss. I wanted this sandwich to be perfect, to sing to me, to be unlike any other sandwich I’d ever eaten and it wasn’t, it was just really nice.
The cod popcorn (£7), which came under the ‘Supper’ section on the menu was little, lightly battered chunks of sweet cod. They went nicely with the slithers of chilli peppers and the chunk of lime garnish, but the dish was just too tiny. If I had ordered if for my ‘supper’ I would have been very very hungry and probably quite drunk (the cocktails, which were absolutely brilliant, packed a punch or two- more below), it was definitely a slider dish that needed pairing up to make it complete. And so came the Cauliflower and Caraway Slaw, a generous side that was light, fresh and wholesome, the perfect accompaniment. Yes an accompaniment, but more filling and cheaper than the cod popcorn. I know what I’ll chose first next time I go.
The ‘London Cup’ cocktail that we ordered was glorious- well thought out and beautifully presented, served up in a mock American diner style plastic jug and two jam jar glasses. A mix of gin, sweet vermouth, campari, mint, grapefruit, was balanced perfectly so that it was tart, sweet and deliciously boozy, our £12 jug poured four cocktails worth too making it a bargain.
Our bill, including a 12.5% tip, was a very reasonable £36 for a jug of cocktail, two mains and a side, though if it’d been dinner we’d probably have needed another dish or two to satisfy our hunger. Overall I did enjoy the experience, but if the sandwiches got a little chunkier, the service got a little tighter and the other dishes got a little more exciting Mishkins would become something really special, rather another decent opening in the Polpo (don’t-call-them-a-chain) chain.