Every weekend, pubs around England serve up a traditional Sunday roast dinner, complete with roasted meat, potatoes and puddings. After one kosher foodie in London got tired of being unable to take part in the tradition, she set out to make the custom available to all her friends.
Meanwhile, across the pond in Savannah, Ga., a culinary duo is breaking down barriers by opening a kosher “virtual restaurant,” filling the hole that was left when the last kosher eatery in the city closed in 2006.
Amy Beilin, 33, is organizing the “pop-up” Kosher Roast restaurant in London’s Kensal Green neighborhood, which will run for two Sundays next month. The menu is packed with traditional British bar food, like rib roast beef, goose fat roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.
“For years I would sit around complaining that no one else was doing a kosher roast, and I was sick of going to the pub and watching everyone else have one,” said Beilin. So she set out to bring her idea to life, renting space at a local bar that agreed to have its kitchen kashered, and finding a supervising rabbi, Moshe Dadoun. The next step? The food.
“I went to the butcher and bought shoulder of lamb, rib of beef, and I started to teach myself how to cook them. I started reading lots of books, really old-school random books on the British roast,” said Beilin, who perfected the recipes while trying them out on her boyfriend and friends.
While the two dates have already sold out — six days after tickets went on sale ¬— Beilin, who holds a day job at the London Jewish Community Center, is already looking towards the future of Kosher Roast.
“I’m already thinking about what we want to do next,” she said. “Some people have come with us asking us to do food for Limmud [the international Jewish education conference] fest, Chanukah parties; there is also the Jewish food festival every year.” Plus, said Beilin, she would love to come to New York and stage a Kosher Roast for any Anglophiles in the area.
Beilin is eager to use her restaurant to reach out to young Jews in London, some of whom feel alienated by the mainstream community.
“The area that we’re doing it in is not the Jewish area but really fast growing,” said Beilin. While there are many kosher restaurants in London, they are all in the more heavily Jewish areas, and “what’s missing is absolute variety and fresh ways of doing things.”
Meanwhile, in Savannah, Matt Cohen and Murray Gottlieb’s “virtual” kosher eatery is providing a kosher venue for that city’s 3,500 Jews.
Gottlieb and Cohen’s New South Kosher offers takeout and catering, with a menu ranging from a hot pastrami sandwich to Asian stir-fry chicken and the traditionally Southern okra gumbo.
Cohen was the owner of popular diner New South Café in Savannah, and Gottlieb was the restaurateur behind Gottliebs, the last kosher restaurant in town. The new eatery operates out of an assisted-living facility in the city, and also provides food for the local Jewish day school.