Okay, so I don’t want to turn this into a restaurant review blog, because let’s not forget this is all about MY amazing (ahem) food. But after a couple of years of barely eating out at all (saving to buy our first house / saving to buy things to go into our first house), we’ve recently been eating out a fair bit (for us), and I thought it would be worth noting a few nice places on here.
Mishkins, Covent Garden
I first came across Mishkins just over a year ago when it opened – I think I had seen a review in the Guardian or Observer (Jay Rayner I think) and it sounded perfect for a dinner with the girls. Not too expensive, lots of fun dishes to try, a bit quirky, etc. I managed to bag a table for the four of us and we had a fantastic time, drinking gin and eating Reubens, big apple dogs, salt beef sandwiches and mac n cheese. Not too pricey, great atmosphere, and definitely worth going back to.
So I took Andrew there last June for my birthday, knowing he would absolutely love it (gin and huge American deli style food – what’s not to love?) and he did. We went there again for his sister’s birthday – again fabulous, and took a friend there last week for my fourth trip to Mishkins.
Four trips, four Reubens. I can’t help it okay? I don’t think I can make at home that fabulous combination of crispy bread, salty pastrami, gooey chewy cheese and tangy russian dressing. I might try sometime, but I am not convinced I could do it better. It’s epic. Accompanied by half and half (half skin on chips and crispy onion rings) – YUM. However, I am more adventurous with the gin cocktails, starters and puddings – and Andrew does try something different each time (and of course I try what he has) so I have a reasonable knowledge of the menu now.
Chopped liver starter is fabulous – it’s dark and tasty and has a nice texture. I thought chopped would mean chopped like an onion – it wasn’t, it was quite smooth but not pappy. Served with (not enough) bread and sauerkraut. We also had cod cheek popcorn, which was really nice, but I expected cod cheeks to taste more succulent than this – it tasted like little (5 pence piece size) pieces of white fish, battered and deep fried. The little pickled chillis sliced on top were nice, but overall I found it a little on the dry side. It was a large portion for someone to eat on their own – it made more sense to share it. Okay, but I wouldn’t have it again.
I had my faithful Reuben, Alison had salt beef and colemans doorstep sandwich, and Andrew had rabbit in a paprika sauce with a kind of homemade coleslaw. Mine was amazing as usual, although i could have done with more sauce (not enough to ask for some though). Alison really liked hers (not enough colemans – she did ask for more) but didn’t appreciate the market greens ordered as a side. It was just boiled cabbage – nothing special except an inflated price.
Andrew’s rabbit was delicious, although it came unexpectedly on the bone which meant I had to perform surgery on it before he would touch it. Luckily the meat was so well cooked it did literally fall off the bone, and it must have come from an extremely large rabbit – it looked more like a chicken thigh and leg! (I mean I am a little suspicious – do rabbits come that big?!). Anyway, tasted amazing – succulent and tender and juicy.
For pudding Andrew had a special of rhubarb and apple strudel with ice cream, and Alison and I shared salted caramel baked cheesecake (I mean, I wasn’t going to have pudding but how can you turn down something like that?). In the past I have been disappointed by puddings at Mishkins and I was this time as well … I really do believe the sandwiches and deli basics are their forte. I thought Andrew’s strudel had too much of the earthy flavour of rhubarb – it needed some sugar to sweeten it a bit. To be fair – Andrew loved it, but he doesn’t have a sweet tooth and he had drunk 3 gin martinis …
Our cheesecake didn’t have enough of a biscuit base and was too dry and crumbly from being baked – but baked cheesecakes are often like that, and that’s how people enjoy them, so maybe it was just me.
Service was friendly but not hugely attentive. 2 starters, 3 mains, 3 sides, 2 desserts, 4 gin cocktails and a G&T set us back £40 each including service, which I think is very reasonable. I would go back again – for the Reuben alone it’s worth it.