Salt beef aficionados may rejoice: Reubens’ secret recipe for the meaty classic has been passed down to the kosher institution’s new owners.
Since its opening in 1973, the iconic deli and restaurant earned a reputation for serving mouthwatering Ashkenazi classics. After its unexpected closure three months ago, condolences poured in for the last kosher restaurant operating in the West End.
But Baker Street’s beloved kosher deli has reopened today, with a restaurant section on the ground-floor expected to open next month after an extensive refurbishment with a brand new menu.
“Salt beef sandwiches will taste exactly the same,” claimed restaurateur Lee Landau, who bought the lease for Reubens last month. “It was part of the deal.”
Previous owners, he said, “dedicated their whole lives to Reubens and were very passionate about making sure it was handed over correctly,” he said. “They have been with us for a month now and are staying for another month just to make sure that we’re doing it correctly.”
Prices will either drop or remain the same, he said. Ordering Reubens’ famous salt beef sandwich will set you back £10.95, but for those on a budget, the deli offers a more affordable, less meaty option for £7.95.
Other family favourites on the menu include chicken soup (£7.95), kneidlach and lockshen, (priced at £7.95), chicken schnitzel (£14.95) and latkes (£2.95).
Landau was born to Israeli parents in Golders Green and describes himself as “Israeli first and British second”, but spent most of his life in London and has memories of Reubens over the years.
“I have memories as a child of going to the theatre and having pre-theatre early dinners at Reubens. I have memories of visiting the West End and stopping by,” he said.
London’s dining scene, he said, has seen a growing interest in modern Middle-Eastern cooking over recent years, popularised in the UK by the chef Yotam Ottolenghi.
But “Ashkenazi food, there was a gap in the market here, after Bloom’s disappeared, Reubens was the only Ashkenazi specialist in London,” he said.
To attract younger diners, the restaurant and deli has undergone a complete makeover. “There will be music playing. There will be staff in trendy uniforms, new branding. It will be more appealing for the youngsters,” he said.
In the future, Landau even sees potential for possible Reubens ventures in North West London, including Golders Green, and in Canary Wharf.
“Young people are the future generation. They have time to go out and spend time in these venues,” he said. “But it won’t be a nightclub with a disco-ball as opposed to the chandelier that used to hang,” he quipped.