A Salt Beef Sandwich
Think of it as English pastrami. A gift to London's gourmands from its Jewish community, salt beef is a true multi-culti urbanite treat and something that's sadly not as commonly found as it once was. A quest for London's best salt beef might have you seeking high and low (a great resource for such a delicious endeavor is the Young & Foodish blog). However, that one'll have ya scurrying all over the urban sprawl that is London. Here's a short and savoury list of a few salt beef favourites worth hitting the next time you’ve got a flight to London and visit Central London.
Bell & Brisket at the Queen's Head
15 Denman Street, W1D 7H
Bell & Brisket is London's newest enterprise to offer salt beef. It's a West End pop up project taking over the kitchen of late Victorian pub, the Queen's Head, near Piccadilly Circus. Featuring a menu of salt beef “bagels, wraps and rye,” along with a range of pickles (kimchi, beetroot, honey gherkins and more), Bell & Brisket dishes out juicy comfort food in a pretty pub setting. Highly recommended is B&B's Lord Rupert, a “British take on the Reuben sandwich,” this lordly double fist sarnie combines salt beef, home pickled cabbage and melted cheddar on toasted rye. Served with a tasty and ample portion of chips for a tenner (roughly $16).
Brass Rail Salt Beef Bar at Selfridges
Food Hall, Ground Floor, Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Shop till you drop and then refuel in style at this celebrated department store. The eatery's main carver, Saj, has been at it for more than 30 years. As you would expect at such a glammed up location, this is not the cheapest salt beef option in London. Expect to pay around £10. But be sure you'll have a filling and quality experience.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake
159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Unlike Selfridges, Brick Lane Beigel Bake probably is the cheapest salt beef option in town. It's also the most popular. The thriving nightlife around Brick Lane as well as its happening street market means this four hour bagel shop keeps an almost constant queue. A hot salt beef beigel with mustard will set ya back about two or three quid.
25 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JS
Another West End, Mishkin's aims to be London's answer to New York's famed Katz's Deli. The “Brick Lane salt beef with Colman's mustard and pickles” costs around £8. Not just about the (non-Kosher) Jewish comfort food, Miskin's – in the heart of “Theatreland” is a great place for drinks and evening rendezvouses.
79 Baker Street W1U 6RG
The Reuben … at Reuben's – now this is a sandwich! For mighty sandwiches and kosher delights, head to this old school diner in the heart of London's upscale Marylebone village. The sandwich is stacked to the sky with tomatoes, gherkins, sauerkraut, hot mustard and ample salt beef between two pieces of rye bread. The thing's so big it's almost impossible to hold with just two hands. Beyond the massive sandwich, Reuben's is a brilliant setting for a meal. The cafeteria-esque counter service makes you feel all retro and the Star of David logo-ed plates et al yields an atmosphere that feels a lot more like Tel Aviv or Lower East Side Manhattan than Central London.
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photo: Chris Osburn