Coronavirus restrictions force kosher menu revolution in the capital

The need to offer food outdoors has prompted restaurants to introduce separate kitchens, allowing them to serve both meat and milk-based dishes


As London heads into tier three, the pandemic is forcing some kosher restaurateurs to do something that they may never have contemplated before: offer both meat and milk-based menus.

Inspired by the need to offer food outside their premises, the owners of One Ashbourne in Temple Fortune and Slice in Golders Green have set up separate outlets outside their eateries.

Slice offers a milky menu in its main restaurant but has added a meat menu served from a food truck outside. At One Ashbourne it has been the reverse — with an al fresco dairy-based service joining the existing meat-based offer.

“I bought the food truck about a year ago but had not decided what to do with it,” said Slice owner, Mr Avi Schwartz. “The pandemic was the nudge I needed to get going and we were granted a licence to run it as a meaty kitchen about a month ago. It’s still a work in progress and we’ve been using it mostly for events. We were at St John’s Wood Synagogue last week and have been at Hasmonean School for two days over Chanukah, serving burgers to the pupils.”

In both cases, the physical separation of the two services has made it easy to run two kitchens for milk and meat.

Ben Teacher, owner of One Ashbourne, is about to open a takeaway creperie, Crepe and Shake, on parking bays outside his premises.

In order to allow the new takeaway to offer a dairy menu while his chefs continue cooking a meat-based menu (for delivery only) inside the restaurant, he has had to obtain a second kashrut licence from the Federation.

“The milky and meaty parts of my operation will be entirely separate. We’ll be making the crepes, shakes, toasties and hot drinks in a gazebo in converted parking bays outside the restaurant, on the Finchley Road. I’ve been negotiating with the London Borough of Barnet to turn the bays into a ‘parklet’ surrounded by flower troughs.”

The al fresco takeaway will launch on Sunday, with a menu of crepes, toasties, shakes and hot drinks. Stock for the creperie will be stored and refrigerated outside the main restaurant at the back of the premises, where washing up will also take place.

Mr Teacher, who was hospitalised with Covid-19 in April, explained that the outdoor takeaway would almost certainly not have happened pre-pandemic.

He said: “We’ve had to think on our feet and are grateful that both Barnet and Federation have been incredibly helpful. The original plan was to include seating but now that we’ve gone into tier three it will be grab and go only. With what’s going on, we wanted to find something that would work in the open air. Hopefully we’ll be able to add seating in the future.”

A Federation mashgiach will oversee both operations. “We’ll have a full-time shomer who will open up Crepe and Shake and then move into the restaurant during the day, whilst doing spot checks on the takeaway outside.”

Dayan Yehoshua Posen, Director of Beth Din Operations at the Federation said: “We are pleased to see how One Ashbourne amongst other licensees of ours have adapted to provide new and innovative solutions to enable them to keep serving the public.”

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