The Fresser

Tasting new treats post lockdown

There's a lot of fressing to be done - if we want to help our kosher caterers and restaurants stay in business.

August 09, 2020 23:29

I've just returned from a ten days on the Sussex coast - more on that in a later post. Just before I left, I was treated to a bikini-busting fress.

Kosher caterer, Ben Tenenblat, whose food is normally reserved for high-end simchas, has diversified to stay afloat during, what has to be, an annus horribilis for him and his competitors. All of them have needed to find other ways of feeding the community while Covid-19 restrictions prevent us from celebrating in large numbers. 

Tenenblat already has a website offering frozen meals - which I tasted a couple of months ago and which were superb - proper gourmet food to heat at home. As lockdown has eased a little, he has been able to offer dinner party deliveries for the (now permitted) small groups meeting at a social distance. 

In early August, he launched his Crave London street food truck, and had invited me to road test it.  

I thought my children would be immediately on board, but on a stiflingly hot Thursday afternoon, I had to drag my daughter down the M1 to Kinloss Synagogue in Finchley, to sample the menu.

I was treated to non-stop nine year old whining all the way there, which, on arrival, morphed into an Education Minister-worthy U-turn as she saw Tenenblat's takeaway.   

The silver Air Stream trailer is so shiny it's a wonder he didn't greet me with a duster and can of Mr Sheen - oy, the finger print stress!

Inside, three funky-looking chefs were cooking and assembling a range of burgers; fries; street-style snacks and drinks. This was no ordinary burger van. 

Tenenblat had ordered for me - warning me not to eat that day. He should have advised a slightly longer fast, as we walked away with half the menu: a children's burger and hot dog for her (and her brother, who had jumped ship last minute in favour of a paddling pool play date) and a gut-busting list of burgers and sides for me.

As I had in fact, fasted for most of the day, mini me and I almost ran back to our (air-conditioned) car and immediately tucked in.

First up was the Truffle Shuffle - a steak/brisket patty with truffle essence; Portobello mushroom; a sweet red wine sauce and soft-yolk fried egg in a soft brioche bun - worth every minute of Mini Me's moaning.

She also hoovered up her burger and chips and we agreed to take the rest to the friend hosting my son's pool date.

We sampled the Drunken Chic (crumbed chicken burger); chilli beef loaded fries; chidren's hot dog and more fries. All delicious. 

A brownie with shredded halva, and grape muffin were also popular with the troops, but by that point (Dragons' Den style) I was out. Simply no more room. 

I'd saved the Perfect Catch (sea bass with guacamole and a shower of crispy sweet onion) for Mr F, which he hoovered up for lunch the next day, with a side of tortilla chips.

You have to order ahead but the Crave London will be appearing at a car park near you - if you live in North West London, that is. Check out the timetable here

Another treat to be had is at Temple Fortune's Number One Ashbourne, where they're offering an Eat Out to Help Out menu. From Monday to Wednesday, main courses that are ordinarily £20 are only a tasty tenner. My personal favourite - a Chicken Milanese with chips for £10 - you'd be mad to pass that one up.

And on a Thursday, owner, Ben Teacher, was offering 25% off the price of his burgers. Make sure you call in advance though. Space is limited though, as Teacher is taking his Covid precautions seriously.

At the start of August, he told me they were fully booked a week in advance. "I can only serve a limited number of covers as I won't compromise on safety and service" Teacher told me, explaining that he has been turning away customers. 

It's a good time to be eating out - and supporting our kosher cooks. If we don't, they may not be there when we need them.

August 09, 2020 23:29

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