Mark is the owner, founder and co-cook over at salt beef and pastrami mecca Monty's Deli in Bermondsey; it's the reuben sandwich for £5/£8 that made it onto our list of London Cheap Eats. We threw a few questions Mark's way, here's what he had to tell us.
1. Tell us briefly what your business is about
We are an authentic Jewish deli. We make all the meats, bagels, mustard, soup, latkes, knishes, babkas and much more, all from scratch each week, to serve from our railway arch in Bermondsey every weekend.
2. Tell us a bit about your background - where you've worked in the past and why you're doing this now.
I was a musician for many years and then when that ended, I worked as a commis chef in a busy London restaurant for around six months. I really wanted to work with food but not in the traditional kitchen environment, so I started Monty's.
3. If you were out for an evening in London, where would we most likely find you?
Probably shovelling large amounts of Szechuan food into my mouth in Soho somewhere.
4. Where did you get the inspiration for your food / menu?
I am enthralled by the Jewish deli and its history. Especially Jewish culture in big American cities. I've been to lots of them in New York/Brooklyn and Los Angeles, and I find the atmosphere so welcoming and comforting. I wanted to create a little reflection of that in London where I've grown up, and always missed that same feeling.
We always try to take a traditional dish and make it taste the best it possibly can, with the best ingredients, made from scratch, with love and care. That is soul food.
5. Tell us an interesting fact about you that not many know.
I once played on Top of the Pops.
6. What's the most popular item on your menu?
The Reuben or Reuben Special special. However, I always recommend just fatty salt beef (or pastrami), bread and mustard. We call that one "The Mensch". That's my favourite.
7. What do you eat when you're off work and at home?
Biscuits, biscuits and more biscuits.
8. What's next for your business?
An outpost somewhere in central London that's open seven days a week.
9. Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?
God, Satan and Death.
10.What’s your favourite London cheap eat?
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