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Restaurant details

Highchair
Yes
62

Harden's says...

Mishkin's WC2

Trendy but unintimidating, Russell Norman's new 'diner' looks set - like the similarly US-inpired local classic Joe Allen's - to become a long-term Theatreland fixture.


Is this a classic New York Jewish diner? And if so, why - with pork dishes clearly on the menu - is it so obviously not kosher? And do they do a Reuben on rye like you'd find at Katz's?


Pass. 'Authenticity' is generally a pointless prop for a restaurant review, and it's particularly so at this latest outpost of the group usually associated in the public mind with Russell Norman (but in which Richard Beatty is also a partner). This group is usually said to be unified not so much by any particular culinary leaning, but rather by its 'look and feel' - Mr Norman is a self-confessed Big Apple junkie, and his inspiration can usually be summarised in a single word: Downtown.


But we're beginning to wonder if, even on this front, the concept of 'authenticity' isn't something of a snare. Surely, your classic Lower East Side diner, Jewish or otherwise, would be much bigger, brighter and brasher than this rather well-mannered spot in Covent Garden? And it surely wouldn't make a feature of gin-based drinks?


No, it's time to stop trying to analyse Mr Norman's restaurants by reference to Old Gotham. It is time to start talking in terms of 'style Russell' - a style with inspirations elsewhere, but true ultimately only to itself. (You could call it Norman Style, but that might lead to confusion.)


Fortunately, we've always liked style Russell - as seen in its various Polpo manifestations - and we liked it, if anything, more in the relatively comfortable setting here. We had a basic lunch, quite consciously eschewing all those dishes about which debates of authenticity could swirl, and concluded that the food here, reasonably-priced as it is, is thoroughly nice without in any way being worth going out of your way for.


But Mr Norman really sells atmosphere more than food, and - on that front - we reckon Mishkin's is set to be yet another triumph. For how long, we wonder, can he keep this up?


See the Review
25 Catherine St, London, WC2B 5JS
Opening hours

Last orders: 11.15 pm, Sun 10.15 pm

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