Hampstead’s Rosslyn Hill has long been a magnet for trendy cafes and restaurants. Affluent local residents enjoy a local evening bite and a weekend hangout while tourists visiting Hampstead’s quaint narrow lanes and heath seek pit stops to re-energise.
But for the affluent kosher set, it’s a barren landscape with just Golders Green the nearest neighbourhood for a meat meal. No wonder Delicatessen’s recent opening has caused such excitement within north London’s Orthodox Jewish community. Now, at last, they have a restaurant on their doorstep offering high-quality kosher food.
Delicatessen is the brainchild of Israeli-born Or Golan, a student of Tel Aviv’s restaurant scene before joining Yotam Ottolenghi’s Belgravia deli as head chef. It is a genius move to open up bang in the middle of Hampstead’s affluent kosher crowd, who are likely to be more than a little demanding.
It’s certainly got that hipster interior going on; rustic wooden tables, exposed piping and walls resembling middle eastern washed sandstone.
Drawing on his grandparents’ Moroccan and Lebanese roots and the current “newish Jewish’ fad for trendy sharing deli food, Golan focuses on sharing plates as starters and more hearty dishes for mains.
Slow-cooked and pulled salt beef schnitzel (£12) was a perfect combo for me. Two of my favourite comfort foods rolled into one. Golden cauliflower with tahini and smoked chilli (£8) was another world beater. A tanned aubergine with tahini, figs and mixed nuts (£9) served in a large pan had all the earthy kick you could want, while the hummus masabacha with harissa (£7.5) was pretty much as you would expect hummus to be. I suspect the option with confit lamb and crackling (£11) would have been a lot more interesting.
Despite having to compete with England’s last game in the World Cup group stage, the restaurant was pretty full, but the takeaway orders were also going great guns. A sure sign there was something big on the telly.
As we tucked into an intriguing Yemenite Kubaneh, fried peppers, tahini and grated tomato (£6.5) which is essentially a pull-apart yeast bread to dip, a collective gasp ensued as a huge mixed grill passed by en route to a window table. A platter piled with chicken thighs, kebab, lamb chops, merguez and steak (£75 for two). Another notable mention was an impressively large tagine pot filled with Moroccan chicken meatballs with Jerusalem artichoke, lemon, dill and rice (£25)
As an encore, the sweets didn’t disappoint. A smooth malabi with passion fruit, rose petals and coconut & nut bits (£7) was very tasty, like an Arabic crème brûlée. Babouska cake with tahini, mint jelly and a raspberry and lemon coulis and a warm apple strudel with ice cream and cardamom spiced syrup (£10) were also worth a mention.
There are some eye wateringly expensive dishes, the mixed dessert platter at £40 for example or 2.5g of slow-cooked spare ribs for 2-3 people £85. But this is Hampstead and kosher to boot, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Yet at these prices, there were some teething problems for me. I would have liked my sharing plates to be drip fed rather than delivered all together, and a little more attention to refilling empty water glasses would be appreciated.
Despite this, I think Delicatessen is just what Hampstead’s kosher crowd have been waiting for.
Tell me more about Delicatessen
Delicatessen 46 Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, NW3 1NH
T: 020 7700 5511