Monty’s Deli, the market stall, that became a NYC-style Jewish deli, that became more market stalls, that became a delivery service, has leveraged its lockdown success into a partnership with bouji bakery chain Gail’s. Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt’s superb pastrami — which many rank as among London’s best — will be stuffed into a reuben-ish toastie in Gail’s’ 63 cafes.
Ogus and Barratt closed their superb dine-in location on Hoxton Street in late July last year, saying that “We want to focus on the market operation side of the business as those are the successful parts of what we do and the offering in a restaurant setting doesn’t work for us.” It had been a hit for its sandwiches, latkes, and egg creams, but the location is one of London’s most difficult, and outside of the long-embedded community Jewish delis of north London, diners were perhaps less ready to embrace deli as dinner than they had thought. Those aforementioned market operations were at Market Halls and Old Spitalfields Market, which were both forced to close by the novel coronavirus crisis; Market Halls has yet to reopen, but Old Spitalfields Market has returned. Monty’s has decided not to reopen its stall there for now.
Instead they used a growing interest in meal kits and the considerable capacity of their central production kitchen to send out packages of salt beef, pastrami, pickles, and part-baked bagels, offering Londoners easy access to products which require time and great technical skill to make well at home or indeed in cafe kitchens — hence Gail’s’ likely interest in the partnership. What Ogus and Barratt lose, of course, is the meticulous control over each and every element of their own bagels and sandwiches that makes them so brilliant. Here’s hoping Gail’s doesn’t let them down.