Thursday, 24 November 2011

B&K Salt Beef Bar, Crouch End

The Crouch End branch of the (nonkosher) B&K Salt Beef Bar is located on a rather nondescript part of the Uxbridge Road, about two miles from the first house I ever lived in. Although I've grown up and moved away, my Grandad still lives just down the road in Pinner, and it's nice to drive back over for a weekend jaunt, especially if it involves some good grub.

The last Sunday we spent in this neck of the woods the Ewing and I eschewed the usual roast for a very nice Sri Lankan meal in Wealdstone. Despite being stuffed with spicy food and Lion lager I insisted on stopping off at the B&K Salt beef Bar for takeaway sandwiches to keep us going later.

The place is split into two areas; two seating areas on either side and a takeaway counter at the back. When we arrived at, at about half two, the place was full of older couples sitting down to liver, latkes and turkey, with a stream of younger customers coming in for food to go.

The salt beef on rye with mustard and a pickle. Although this picture shows the deep layers of hand carved brisket, generously stuffed between the caraway-studded bread, it doesn't show the juicy wonder of the meat. Even when enjoyed cold, the beef was well marbled with fat that kept it moist and tender. Costing a mere four quid, plus a pound for the pickle, this was a fiver very well spent.

Daniel Young, of Young&Foodish, currently rates the original Edgware branch of B&K as the best salt beef sandwich in London. He also points out that this is one of the only places that still brine their own briskets, and I assume it the case here too.

The latkes; barely a day has gone by without thinking about these pillows of potatoey goodness. They are, without doubt, in the top 10 things I have put in my mouth this year. I can't actually express in words how monumental these were (even eaten cold the next morning), so you'll just have to go and try them for yourselves.

The lokshen pudding, a Jewish grandmother classic made with with fruit juice, raisins and noodles.  This was my first lokshen experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although quite unlike anything I've eaten before, it managed to be a surprisingly moreish combination between creamy and fruity.

The apple strudel: I rate all apple strudel's against my mum's version, made for her legendary 80's dinner parties, and while this couldn't quite live up to those high standards it was still pretty good. The pastry was a nice balance of crispy and squidgy, the apples sharp and tangy and the whole thing was spiced nicely with cinnamon.

Service was very friendly; the two young guys behind the counter were full of banter, despite being pretty busy, and there is there is a welcoming, lively feeling about the place that makes you want to linger. If you want to stay and soak up the atmosphere then plates of food, including roast meats with mash and chopped liver and egg salad are available.  Next time I've got my eye on some of the tongue, with a mountain of latkes on the side. With a slice of the baked cheesecake for pudding if there's room.

And as well as feshly made sandwiches, meats (including tongue, turkey and roast beef) and salads are available to takeaway by the pound. The B&K also sells loaves of rye, meaning you can buy both your meat and bread together, for DIY sandwiches through the week.

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