Imagine you had a childhood friend - you grew up in the same small town, and experienced all the pain of adolescence together. You bonded over how much you love Incubus and NOFX and over your awkwardness around members of the opposite sex, and at some point, you probably got terrible matching haircuts too. You drifted apart when you left home, but when your paths finally crossed again, it turned out they were just as awesome as they used to be, if not more so.
That’s what it felt like for us when we visited Monty’s Deli in Hoxton.
Monty’s is a Jewish deli that started out as a stall at Maltby Street Market years ago. When we tried their killer pastrami and reuben sandwiches back then, it was the closest thing to the doorstop sandwiches we had eaten in New York. And when they closed the stall, it was like drifting apart from a close friend - a few years in London might as well be a hundred.
But Monty’s has only managed to get better during said absence, and they’ve now opened up a permanent deli in Hoxton, a few minutes walk from the main Shoreditch strip. With a proper space to call home, we can definitely say that Monty’s has grown up into a properly fantastic spot. The sandwiches are as excellent as they’ve ever been, and the reuben special - a tower of salt beef, pastrami, and mustard between homemade rye bread - is pricier than the others, but we wouldn’t hesitate for a second to pay the difference. Biting into it, you’ll understand why it’s one of the best sandwiches in town. The latkes are great too, and sipping the matzo ball soup feels like getting a hug from a friend after a shitty day.
The restaurant itself is exactly where you’d want to come and rest up after a tough day, too. There are big booths for jamming with mates, and a long bar that’s perfect if you’re flying solo. If you have family in town, they’ll even do you a roast chicken lunch on Sundays. Even though Monty’s is billed as a US-style diner, it’s a space that feels true to London.
We’re glad that we got to become friends again.
Yup, this is the one. Everything is homemade, from the mustard and rye bread, to the slow-cooked briskets they use for the pastrami. And the results show: this is a mountain of meat and sauerkraut in a bun that’s one of the most satisfying things you can eat. You can get any of their sandwiches to take away, too.
A delicate chicken soup with a few matzo balls bobbing around in it. It’s pretty light, and goes great with all the cured meat you’ll be eating.
They use lox for the bagel, which is basically a less salty, more luxurious version of your standard smoked salmon. At £9, it’s around three times the price of the version at Beigel Bake down the road. Is it worth the extra? For us, yes. It’s stuffed so full of salmon that it might as well be a different sandwich altogether.
You can tell the cooks at Monty’s went through a lot of potatoes before getting these right, and the results speak for themselves - each latke is crunchy on the outside, and reassuringly comforting in the middle.
You can get booze, sure, but if you’re feeling nostalgic, they’ll do you a good egg cream.