Monty’s Deli opens its first bricks and mortar site today (Tuesday 18th April), bringing their Jewish soul food to an old bakery in London’s East End. Having started life in 2012 as a market stall, with pastrami smoked in founder Mark Ogus’ backyard, he joined with Owen Barratt to build a loyal following. Best known for their comforting chicken soup and sandwiches packed with hand carved towers of their home-made, signature salt beef and pastrami, they are one of the only places in Britain to make their own from scratch.
Inspired by the food Mark grew up on and the Jewish delis of America, with Katz’s in New York and Langer’s in LA, Owen makes everything on site from closely guarded recipes. Bagels are baked on traditional cedar planks wrapped in hessian, along with home-made mustard, pickles and ferments, and cured meats which Mark has spent years perfecting.
Breakfast features fresh hand-rolled bagels, sweet pastries and breads, including the much-loved chocolate Babka, baked daily. Available to eat in or take away, the counter will run a ticket-style service during breakfast and lunch, alongside their theatrical slicing bar. For lunchtime, Monty’s full sandwich menu is available, including their immense Reuben Special with layer upon layer of salt beef, pastrami, pickles and mustard piled between their custom rye bread, and the Mensch for the purists, with its famed fatty meat and mustard. New on the menu are cold cuts platters of house made meats and pickles, and Seinfeld-style ‘big salads’.
The evening menu consists of whole joints of hot pastrami or salt beef for the table, cholent, a traditional slow braised brisket dish with bone marrow, potatoes and pearl barley, and all beef and dill meatballs topped with pastrami dripping breadcrumbs.
Every night, they’ll offer a Shabbat dinner. Chopped liver and house-baked challah, a serving bowl of chicken soup to share, Chinese restaurant style, then roast chicken and sides, with lokshen pudding for dessert. On weekends, brunch will include an extended breakfast and lunch menu, with an XL latke, topped with tender salt beef and a fried egg, along with Prosecco and jugs of Bloody Marys.
‘It was my grandfather, Monty, who introduced me to the Jewish food of my youth – in Yiddish he was what you’d call a fresser. Owen and I both started in bands, but we share this obsession for food. It was a happy coincidence that we ended up not only making really delicious meat, but enjoying the performance of the slicing bar, of building these beautiful sandwiches and creating a really great show that people can take part in too’ says Mark.
The new deli exposes the building’s original Victorian tiles, with booths based on those in the classic workers’ cafes Mark and Owen love. A long bar offers seats where customers can watch the meat being sliced and sandwiches being prepared, with a baked goods section displaying pastries and the guest bagel of the week. A relaxed environment striking the balance between deli and restaurant, Monty’s will be filled with the warm smells of their Jewish soul food from morning to night.