Yelly Eats

Beseder the Bell and Brisket!

When I was little, my father talked about salt beef and chicken soup all the time.  He always waxed poetic about how life was in kibbutz that he stayed in.  He studied in Israel and loved his time there, eventually converting to Judaism.  Most of the memories that I remember him sharing with us while we were growing up was about the food that he ate.

I am more partial to chicken, but will eat beef, occasionally.  But I do love salt beef.  Especially when it’s done right.  We met the lovely Bel Shapiro of The Bell and Brisket, oh maybe, three years ago, at the Brewer Street Market (I think it was in the Brewer Street parking building).  Her salt beef is beautiful and delicious and yummy and succulent and flavourful…I could go on.  I am such a fan.  But this fan hasn’t been able to have a salt beef fix in a very long time.  That salt beef desert ended last Friday though.

I got a “naked” Old Timer from The Bell and Brisket (sans any carbs) so I could enjoy the lovely salt beef in all its deliciousness, only adorned with horseradish and mustard and complimented by pickled gherkins and beets and it was beseder!  Well, not just good.  It was AMAZING!

Old Timer

 

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Hudson New York Bar and Kitchen, Colchester

I’m not much of a beef eater so I hardly order steaks.  If I do order anything made from beef, it would probably either a salt beef sandwich or pastrami (the more kosher, the better!).  So imagine my delight when I found out you could get a salt beef bagel from an American-inspired bar in Colchester!

I read through the menu and wondered what the food would be like.  It looked promising with club sandwiches, salt beef bagels and hotdogs on offer.  With a claim that they served fabulous Atlantic cuisine and that they were inspired by downtown Manhattan, I was looking forward to tucking into my salt beef bagel.

Well, I’ve had my salt beef bagel and I was a tiny bit underwhelmed.  The salt beef was a tad on the dry side but I guess I’ve been spoiled by the Bell & Brisket and Monty’s Deli because they made REALLY good salt beef from scratch and each sandwich would be prepared as ordered from a batch that was probably made the same day.  The space was amazing and it was big and airy.  But the concept confused me a little bit because it felt like I was walking into a southern restaurant instead of a Manhattan bar.

Will I be going back to Hudson?  I’m not sure.  Maybe their other offerings are okay, they may even be really good.  But it’s quite hard to get a salt beef sandwich wrong — if you have great salt beef to begin with.  Don’t get me wrong, the food looked okay and the coleslaw and fries that came with it were really nice.  I’m just really picky about my salt beef.  And unfortunately for them, I wasn’t too impressed.

Hudson's salt beef bagel

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The Bell & Brisket Fix

I remember really craving salt beef sandwiches.  And I remember the great salt beef sandwich search.  It was quite the exciting thing, trying to find the best place for salt beef sandwiches in London (I wasn’t expecting to find it in Essex–I’m glad to be proven wrong though, so if there are good purveyors of salt beef sandwiches in Essex, can I get a shout out?).  I now have two favourites for salt beef sandwiches:  The Bell and Brisket and Monty’s Deli.  But the sentimental favourite will always be The Bell and Brisket because it was the first place I’d gotten the long-awaited sandwich from.

My first salt beef on rye sandwich with American mustard in the UK was from The Bell and Brisket and even now, I still smile when I remember how good it was when I took that first bite!  It was so good!  And the sandwich looked sooooooo pretty!  I remember wanting to take a picture for posterity.  Considering that this sandwich traveled from London to Harwich, I thought it traveled quite well!

BrisketBel

One of my favourite salt beef sandwich incarnations is the salt beef with kimchi either on rye or on a bagel.  I remember having it first at Queen’s Head in Soho when Bel had her pop-up shop there.  She had meal deals and served a selection of pickles with her salt beef sandwiches.  I was a bit dubious about the kimchi with the salt beef, but it was two of my favourite food things: salt beef and kimchi.  It wouldn’t hurt to try it!  It was a salt beef eureka moment.  It was quite the East meets West food fusion moment.  Who knew salt beef would work amazingly well with kimchi.  Well, obviously, Bel knew!

BrisketBelQH

It was ages since I had a salt beef sandwich from Bel.  Last week, on Friday, I saw a tweet from Bel saying she was at KERB in Kings Cross.  I quickly sent her a tweet to ask her how long she was going to be there.  I thought it was the best time to catch her since I hadn’t had a Bell and Brisket fix in ages!  I was quite relieved that we managed to catch her there.  I had my salt beef and kimchi bagel and was in salt beef heaven!

Salt Beef and Kimchi

The meat is wonderfully flavoured and is meltingly soft.   There is something fundamentally comforting about hot salt beef sliced fresh right in front of you.  The salt beef sandwich is quite an experience and I would recommend The Bell and Brisket to anyone and everyone!   The Bell and Brisket is at Kings Cross with KERB on Fridays, every week, until 2:30PM.  If you’re there, make sure you get one of the sandwiches offered because they are dee-vine!!!

The Bell and Brisket at KERB