Streets with more bite
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.
Golders Green: a world of supervised cuisine
Temple Fortune: villagey enclave, good for food and fashion