Streets with more bite

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL - BYBILLIEJOSEPHS&ELISACOWEN

OLD­ERS GREEN AND Tem­ple For­tune are foodie haunts — from a sand­wich at a c o f f e e b a r to some­thing more sub­stan­tial at a smart restau­rant. Kosher foods dom­i­nate the neigh­bour­hood, cre­at­ing — as one lo­cal busi­ness de­clares in its name — a “Kosher Par­adise”.

Bak­eries such as Daniel’s in Tem­ple For­tune and Carmelli in Gold­ers Green at­tract lengthy, bustling queues, par­tic­u­larly on Fridays for chal­lah and Sun­days when cus­tomers bat­tle for bagels. The two bak­eries, which draw Jewish cus­tomers from all over Lon­don, are joined by fish­mon­gers, green­gro­cers, butch­ers, wine sell­ers, grocers, cafés and restaurants, to form what must be the big­gest kosher shop­ping cen­tre in the coun­try.

Kosher King­dom, in Gold­ers Green Road, is a su­per­store stock­ing a mas­sive se­lec­tion of well-priced kosher items from gro­ceries, fruit and veg to con­fec­tionery and wine. Many prod­ucts are im­ported from Is­rael and Amer­ica and are dif­fi­cult to find any­where else.

The Is­raeli in­flu­ence is clear in Gold­ers Green, where no one is more than a few min­utes’ walk from hum­mus or shwarma. Most have a take­away counter as well as a seated area and sev­eral, such as White House Ex­press and Sami’s, of­fer Is­raeli spe­cial­i­ties. If you fancy brows­ing through an Is­raeli paper while de­vour­ing your pitta, there is a branch of Steimatzky, Is­rael’s big­gest news agency.

If, on the other hand, you would like a change, Gold­ers Green has kosher Chi­nese and Ital­ian es­tab­lish­ments, both meat and milk.

Nat­u­rally there is no short­age of kosher butch­ers -— spot­less, mod­ern meat bou­tiques with in-house chefs pre­par­ing spe­cial­i­ties for take-away cus­tomers and in some cases home de­liv­ery. You can buy gefilte fish as well as beef, lamb and poul­try and you are also likely to be pre­sented with cold cuts and a hot counter ded­i­cated to ready-cooked items such as lamb, spit roast chicken, meat­balls and hot salt beef. Kosher Deli has sev­eral stores in­clud­ing those in Gold­ers Green and Tem­ple For­tune, with an em­pha­sis on con­ve­nience and value for money. There is a cen­tral or­der­ing desk through which cus­tomers can or­der de­liv­ery by phone. High­lights for me are the cold cuts and cholent.

In Gold­ers Green, Me­nachem’s has a wide range of cooked meat prod­ucts, from fried chicken to goulash. For non-meat-eaters it of­fers fish­cakes, fried plaice and had­dock, Moroc­canstyle fish (sal­mon with chilli and pep­pers) and gefilte fish. The shop has just started an on­line ser­vice. Yossi Haz­iza’s fa­ther, Me­nachem, opened the busi­ness 23 years ago.

Yossi says: “Ev­ery­one seems to want to open a kosher shop in this area; then they get into trou­ble be­cause they think they can un­der­cut prices but they re­ally can’t. This is a nice place to do busi­ness but to suc­ceed you have got to keep an eye on good cus­tomer ser­vices and mak­ing what you sell af­ford­able.”

Tem­ple For­tune’s food scene cen­tres on its two fish­mon­gers who co-ex­ist within a few hun­dreds yards of each other in Finch­ley Road. J.A. Cor­ney and Sam Stoller both serve only kosher­per­mit­ted fish in­clud­ing tra­di­tional favourites such as cod, sal­mon and had­dock.

J.A.Cor­ney is a third-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily busi­ness that has been trad­ing on the same pa­rade for nearly 70 years. “My grand­fa­ther started the busi­ness af­ter the Sec­ond World War,” says Do­minic Cor­ney. “In those years we have seen Tem­ple For­tune grow into the busy eclec­tic high street it now is, made up mainly from in­de­pen­dent shops of­fer­ing great pro­duce and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion,” he adds.

Wild sal­mon, trout and sea bass are all in sea­son now — and so is sam­phire (a sea veg­etable). Red snap­per, sea bream and sar­dines are all great for the bar­be­cue. Along­side the tra­di­tional favourites, the fish­mon­ger has freshly minced had­dock and whit­ing “which are per­fect for fish­balls and gefilte fish”.

Su­per­vised dairy pro­duce is easy to find in NW11. The lo­cal deli fridges are well stocked and Charedi Dairies has been serv­ing the area for six days a week since the 1950s. As well as fresh milk it now pro­vides yo­gurts un­der the Charedi Gold brand, Coco Pod fresh choco­late milk and the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar Hal­loumi cheese.

Tem­ple For­tune food shop­ping is mainly about small in­de­pen­dents but there are two no­table ex­cep­tions. Par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar with Jewish cus­tomers is Waitrose, which has been on its site in Finch­ley Road for gen­er­a­tions — and across the road is a Marks & Spencer’s food store, which boasts a car park that is usu­ally packed. At week­ends the queue is daunt­ing but it’s easy to shop on a week­day be­cause M&S opens early and closes gen­er­ously late.

PHO­TOS: LAURA LAN­DON

Gold­ers Green: a world of su­per­vised cui­sine

Tem­ple For­tune: vil­lagey en­clave, good for food and fash­ion

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