Mishiguene (or meshuggeneh) basically, and very roughly, means “someone who’s crazy or foolish” in Yiddish, but chef Tomás Kalika has proved he’s anything but with this contemporary Jewish restaurant. While some may have been sceptical – worrying that traditional Jewish dishes would be shrunk down and served in dispiritingly small, soulless portions – the magic of Mishiguene quickly won them over. The dishes here tap into age-old traditions, honouring their past and exploring their modern potential. Gefilte fish, for example, is cooked until tender in a sous-vide and served with a peppery horseradish and beet sauce and wrapped in a sheet of cooked carrots.
The menu shifts and shakes its way through the classics. There are tender ribs smoked over wood, served with pickled cabbage. Kibbeh is served with Israeli salad, lashings of herbs, harissa and tahini sauce. And carne con hummus, a dish of steak served over smooth, silkily rich hummus, is offered up with pickled onions, harissa and even more tahini sauce. Latkes and lox make an appearance, but again not as you might know it. At Mishiguene, it’s vodka and beet cured trout served with a tzatziki of green apples and dill. But the latkes are, as you’d hope, pure potatoey goodness – crisp and deep-fried to perfection.
For something sweet, Mishiguene offers everything from sweet blintzes (creamy and rich from the mascarpone, with a red wine reduction and pears) to baklava (drenched in apricot syrup, with just a hint of orange blossom water and thyme cream). And for something a little more on the “crazy” side, keep an eye out for the musicians who sometimes stop by; Chef Kalika has been known to get everyone up and dancing on more than one occasion. The atmosphere here is big and beautiful, just like the food.