Jewish cuisine reflects an unparalleled richness and diversity – that of a culinary tradition influenced by the vast amount of cultures where Jewish people have lived over the centuries. In its newest expression and suitably developed to cater for the refined taste and expectations of their London's guests, 1701 founders Lionel Salama and his wife, Natalie Salama-Levy, have set a new standard for Jewish cuisine in a way never done before in the UK.
Enclosed within the courtyard of Bevis Marks, London’s oldest synagogue, 1701 adequately honours the landmark by being the first Jewish restaurant in the city to be listed in the Michelin 2014 Food & Drink guide. With a modern and unpretentious décor, warm, knowledgeable and attentive staff, ethically sourced Belu water and REN toiletries, the concept is truthful, coherent and novel. We named it ‘considered cultural cuisine’.
After experiencing the best in the menu, Sublime talked to founder Lionel Salama.
Sublime: What is 1701’s philosophy?
Lionel Salama: Restaurant 1701 is London's first fine dining restaurant celebrating the world of Jewish cuisine and indeed offering food that meets Jewish dietary requirements.
S: How would you describe the Jewish cuisine? What is typical Jewish food?
LS: Jewish cuisine is a collection of different cooking traditions of the Jewish people who have lived in over seventy countries. It is a diverse cuisine that has evolved over many centuries, shaped also by Jewish dietary law (kashrut) and Jewish Festival and Shabbat traditions. It has also been influenced by the culinary traditions of the many countries where Jewish communities have existed. In turn, Jewish cuisine has made its own impact on the cuisines of these countries.
S: How is that reflected in your menu?
LS: The dishes have been inspired by several international styles that exist within Jewish cuisine: Ashkenazi (Central and Eastern European), Sephardi (descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, including Italian, Greek, Turkish and Balkan), Mizrahi (North African, including Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian and Libyan), Judeo-Arab (Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi), Persian Jewish, Yemenite Jewish, Indian Jewish, and Latin-American Jewish. Over the past thirty years, a fusion cuisine has emerged in Israel, combining and adapting elements of Jewish cuisine, new foods introduced and grown since 1948, as well as other Middle Eastern and international cuisines.
S: Are there any typical Jewish traditions in regards to food and dining?
LS: Jewish tradition states that food is prepared in compliance to Kashrut laws. This includes not mixing dishes containing dairy with meat and poultry.
S: How is Restaurant 1701 different from other Jewish restaurants?
LS: This is the first fine dining restaurant celebrating the world of Jewish cuisine in London. It is also one of only three Jewish/Kosher restaurants listed in the Michelin 2014 Food and Drink guide.
S: You have gathered a stellar team. Tell us about them.
LS: The kitchen is led by Head Chef Oren Goldfeld, most recently at Nopi and with a young career at some of Israel’s leading restaurants. Front of house is under the management of Mattia Mazzi, most recently at Sketch and previously at top Sydney restaurant A Tavola.
S: Who is your typical customer?
LS: The typical customer is someone who works in the City who wants to take advantage of the business lunch with colleagues and clients, those who adhere to the Jewish dietary laws who want a different dining experience found in usual Jewish/Kosher restaurants.
S: What can customers expect when they come to Restaurant 1701?
LS: Customers can expect delicious food which will take them on a journey to their roots and if they are new to Jewish cuisine, it will give them a unique culinary experience. Service is attentive but not fussy.
With an extensive wine list and unparrelled surroundings, Restaurant 1701 aims to excite both Jewish and non-Jewish diners.
1701 is open for lunch 12pm-2.30pm Monday to Thursday and for dinner 6pm-10pm Tuesday to Thursday.