“A kind-of Jewish deli with cocktails.” They had me at that, to be honest. Jewish deli-style comfort food with old-fashioned (mostly gin-based) cocktails; that definitely sounds like the sort of thing that I would have no specific objection to.
Mishkin’s is a recent addition to Russel Norman’s “definitely not a chain, but actually maybe kind-of a chain” of restaurants (but in a good way). One noticeable difference from the other restaurants in the group is that Mishkin’s actually takes bookings, which is a Good Thing. Not taking reservations seems to be all the rage at the moment, but it can also be very off-putting for those of us who aren’t fans of queuing for over an hour in the rain for a burger.
So it was with high hopes (and a guaranteed reservation) that we arrived at Mishkin’s. This was actually our second visit. Previously we ate from the pre-theatre menu; in my case a chicken and matzo ball soup starter followed by a steaming hot cast iron pot of mac and cheese. Both were fantastic, and well-priced at £12.50 for two courses (although you have to order before 6pm).
This time we were eating at a sensible time and opted to have something from the specials board. We both went for the mac and cheese-topped hotdog at £12-ish, or thereabouts (it was too ridiculously decadent to turn down and neither of us wanted to suffer from food envy).
We were not disappointed. The ‘dog was top quality; the bread was toasted the perfect amount; the crispy onions and sliced chillies made for perfect toppings; and after all of that, they slathered it in gloopy mac and cheese. Oh, and onion rings on the side. Man, that’s a lot of carbs… I’m nothing if not inconsistent. We didn’t have a starter, and that one dish was enough to leave us in physical pain from over-eating (the best kind of physical pain in my opinion).
I haven’t even mentioned the cocktails yet. Basically, they’re fantastic. I asked for a dirty and dry Sipsmith martini (my usual tipple) and they brought me just that – made to my exacting standards when it comes to martinis, and stained purple from the Kalamata olive brine that they opted to use. After one of those I chose to go for a Campari-based cocktail, which I did not like at all. This was entirely my fault though, as I had never had Campari before so didn’t know that it was very much not to my liking (seriously, Campari, ewww). They went above and beyond when I asked for some simple syrup to mask the Campari bitterness and replaced the cocktail with a maple old fashioned, which I enjoyed very much. They scored some serious brownie points from me here – not every restaurant/bar would do this, and nor should they be expected to.
The total bill (for two people eating either a main from from the specials board, or two courses from the the pre-theatre menu, with two cocktails each, plus service) is about £75. For the quality of the food and the cocktails I think that’s a great price. Replace the cocktails with tap water and you’re looking at less than £40. Except don’t, because that would be a mistake when they’re so well-made.
It’s in a great location – just around the corner from Covent Garden piazza – and is now our default pre-theatre venue. I’m already looking forward to visit number three.