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Apr 29, 2010 01:29 PM

After good corned beef to assemble a reuben sandwich [London]

I have been having a serious craving for a decent reuben sandwich. I am quite prepared to make it myself (unless anyone knows of a good restaurant in London where I can get one). Any tips on where I can buy good corned beef, sauerkraut and rye bread would be much appreciated.

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  1. I'm not sure where you are from, but if you are looking for American-style rye bread or corned beef, I don't think it's too easy to come by in London. Your best bet for the rye bread may be Carmelli's Bakery in Golder's Green. I was only there once and that was to buy bagels. I've never seen a U.S. type rye bread anywhere in England since living here.

    The salt beef sandwiches at Selfridge's call it rye bread... it's not. :-) All the salt beef here is cut very thick, and that's not very American-like either. But... a craving can be satisfied, even if not entirely.

    6 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      Thanks Zuriga. I was after American-style corned beef but it sounds like salt beef might do the trick (I'm not sure what the difference is, to be honest). Thanks for the tip on the bread - I have never seen rye bread at a bakery here but must admit I hadn't checked the ones in GG. Ibrahim, I'll check out your salt beef in Edgware. Who knows, perhaps a good salt beef sandwich will satisfy my craving. I do love that combination of sweet, sour and saltiness from the thousand-island, sauerkraut and beef though...........sigh

      1. re: chowess

        Definitely do not buy the thing that is labelled as "corned beef" in England, it is not spiced brisket at all but something closer to what the Pennsylvanians call scrapple. The local equivalent is called salt beef.

        The best salt beef I have found is at this small and not so easily found place:

        For those of you who do not care to follow the link, it is the Salt Beef Bar in Temple Fortune.

        As for rye bread, I have not sought it out but surely the Russian and Polish bakeries could be expected to have something? For sour cabbage my favourite source is the Phoenicia market in Kentish Town.

        1. re: Gordito

          The photo on the link really points out the difference between what people do with the brisket... U.S. vs UK. You can see how thick the meat is cut here... very unlike the thin slices of the American version. The bread looked pretty much like the rye bread over 'there,' but it's really hard to tell about the taste.

          When in need of a 'fix,' the UK version works just fine.

          1. re: Gordito

            Thanks, Gordito - I see what Zuriga means by the thickness of the meat from photos but looks pretty good so this must do. I now have a bottle of Sauerkraut (found it at Budgens Belsize Park and it's from Bulgaria !) Planning to stop at Golders Green for bread and Temple Fortune for salt beef when I next have a chance. All I will have left to do is look up a recipe for thousand island sauce and hopefully I'll get there - craving satisfied - with any luck it will be close enough to the real thing ! Thanks for your suggestions, everyone.

            1. re: chowess

              most salt beef sellers in London get theirs from Hensons - a quick google and phone call will find you the nearest stockist. There is actually a pretty good Reuben sandwich to be had across the road from the Salt Beef Bar in Temple Fortune called the Delisserie, which is a New York style deli, a lot less hassle!

              1. re: monkeysta

                Thanks, Monkeysta. Funnyly enough, I went to Temple Fortune a couple of weeks ago to try to get salt beef from the Salt Beef Bar . They were closed ! I think it was because of Yom Kippur - silly me......Anyway, while I was walking around with a long face I noticed "Delisserie" and walked in there when I saw they had salt beef and Reuben sandwiches on the menu. I did have the Reuben sandwich and was not bad ! Not quite what I remember from the US but close enough. My English hubbie had the salt beef platter and seemed happy with it. I'm still working on assembling the perfect Reuben sandwich - planning to go back to the Salt Beef Bar again soon - hopefully I will avoid the Jewish holidays, but I would recommend Delisserie to anyone who wants an easy and instant way to satisfy a craving for it ! If you happen to be in North London, that is.......

      2. Corned beef is the same as salt beef, right? In that case, the best salt beef I've had in London is from B&K Salt Beef Bar in Edgware. Best tasting, best texture, well priced. It's already boiled though, so probably not suitable for what you're after and I'm not sure they do a reuben.

        For something more appropriate for your needs, I know that the butchers and delis in Golders Green have cured briskets on sale (at about twice the price of normal briskets in places like Menachems). Also, Jack O'Shea's concession in Selfridges Food Hall also has cured briskets in varying sizes, at £13.50 a kilo; not a bad price to pay for good beef, with the hassle of curing taken out.

        Not sure about good sauerkraut or rye bread, but zuriga's suggestion of bakers in Golders Green is probably on the right track. Maybe even the Brick Lane Bagel Bakery, but I only ever get platzels there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

          Danube, on Green Lanes between Manor House and Turnpike Lane, is a Hungarian bakery, and their rye bread is pretty good. Not quite like NY rye bread, but I think a corned beef sandwich made on it would be pretty decent.

        2. I had an appointment on Marylebone High St. yesterday and stopped for some soup at Le Pain Quotidien. The soup came with two breads... one to my surprise was a really good American-type rye bread.

          I don't know if they sell it by the loaf (I'll ask next time I'm nearby), but it sure would be good with some salt beef and mustard!

          1 Reply
          1. re: zuriga1

            Thanks Zuriga. There's a Pain Quotidien near where I live so will check it out soon. I imagine they would sell it by the loaf. Figure that though. It could just show that one never knows- one looks for American-type rye bread in London and one finds it in a French type bakery ! Haven't had time to go get the salt beef or bread yet so project (and craving) still outstanding. Will post something once I get there !

          2. Pretty sure De Gustibus sells American style rye bread. There is one at Borough Market and there used to be one off Baker Street - can't remember the name of the road. They also used to do proper pumpernickel. Haven't been there in a while.