Louisa Walters tucks into yom tov nosh straight from the deli counter…
It’s 7.30am and the shutters have gone up. It’s fast, it’s furious – it’s erev yom tov at the deli!
There’s no doubt that erev Rosh Hashanah and erev Yom Kippur are to the Jewish deli what Christmas Eve is to the supermarket. Shelves are fully stocked and counters groan with food. Harassed shoppers rush in to collect their orders and pick up last-minute bits.
Customers are doing the equivalent of a supermarket sweep, just in case….
At Yummies – in Mill Hill and Radlett – it is busy, for sure, but surprisingly calm. The key to this is in the organisation and the preparation. Across the two shops, there have been lots and lots of orders for fried fish and all manner of accompaniments. Lawrence Samuels and his team have been working all night to make sure that every last piece of fish is fried, drained and ready for collection, every last challah baked to perfection and the smoked salmon is cut, packaged and ripe for the picking.
All baking and food preparation is done onsite at Yummies and on a sneak visit to the kitchen, I saw how spotlessly clean and extremely well-organised it is. So much so, in fact, that I’ve completely rethought what to feed my guests to break the fast; watch out family – it’s fried fish for you all this year!
“Of course, it would be great if everyone was really organised and got their orders in early, but it doesn’t work like that!” says Lawrence. “We are taking orders right up until the last minute and people like to know that we will never say no to them. People have busy lives and we are here to help so everyone can have a relaxing yom tov with their family.”.
As well as fried fish, fish balls, boiled gefilte fish, poached salmon and salmon en croute, there is a huge array of salads – and salads that you can order. You can pick up apple pies, lokshen puddings, cheesecake and fabulous large round deluxe honey cakes (also available in loaf shape).
B Kosher, well established in Golders Green, Hendon and Edgware, is newly opened in Borehamwood, next door to Orli.
Borehamwood now has a branch of Mr Baker, too, so is fast becoming the destination of choice for Jewish food. You will find everything you need for Rosh Hashanah on the shelves at B Kosher, including wines, and the Edgware branch also has an in-house deli. Owner Sion Talgam is thrilled to be offering his service in Borehamwood and says that there are always special offers that customers can take advantage of.
With its thriving young Jewish population, it is really no surprise that delis are burgeoning in the Wood and it is possible to hop from one to to the other and try different delicacies. Sometimes it’s just down to the welcome you get, which is very warm at Flax’s, who have historically been the deli leaders owing to so many years of serving and producing tasty platters for all occasions.
I mentioned Orli earlier, but it is worth noting that aside from a well-stocked deli counter and delicious bread, you can stop there for afternoon tea while shopping for Rosh Hashanah, and you can also grab a cuppa or sample a smoked salmon bagel at Noshers in Radlett while perusing your endless list of must-have products.
The Hendon Bagel Bakery has its hands full erev yom tov with many orders for its famous apple cakes and honey cakes plus, of course, the shelves are groaning with challahs and all the usual baked goods from rugelach to Danish.
If all that shopping has worn you out, treat yourself to lunch at Yummies. The Mill Hill branch has recently been refurbished to create a larger dining area; an extensive menu offers many appetisers, a range of deep-filled sandwiches and bagels, meat and fish plates, desserts and a range of drinks. So now you know, get shopping.