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The kosher wine bars of New York, Paris and Hendon

    Trend setter: London’s Fernandez led the way for Yayin in Paris and Brooklyn’s Basil
    Trend setter: London’s Fernandez led the way for Yayin in Paris and Brooklyn’s Basil

    Paris and New York may be lead the culinary world, but in one respect at least, London is setting the trend.

    In 2008, Europe's first kosher pub opened in Hendon, when Fernandez (formerly Fernando's) took over the White Bear and offered a BBQ chicken grill and a wide variety of drinks.

    Last November, Paris upped the ante by opening a swanky kosher wine bar, Yayin, in the 17th arrondissement, a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe.

    The wine list, put together by two expert sommeliers, includes over 90 wines, almost 50 of them Israeli. There are two wine suggestions for every item on the menu (sample item: gefilte fish poached in coconut milk and lemongrass and wrapped in a banana leaf) and grands crus are available by the glass.

    And now, America's first kosher pizza and wine bar has opened in Crown Heights, New York. Basil (pronounced "Bay-zil") is a rare attempt at upscale kosher dining in Brooklyn, with the wine list running the gamut from Baron Herzog Late Harvest White Riesling at $16.50 a bottle to Herzog Special Reserve Limited Edition Chalk Hill at $125.

    The restaurant has taken a risk by daring to experiment with New York's venerable pizza, but has kept a safety net by offering pasta and fish too. Perhaps in a nod to the area's large Chasidic community, a photograph of the Lubavitcher Rebbe stares out at customers from a wall.

    Is it only a matter of time until kosher fish-and-chips makes it across the ocean as well?

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