Though my family aren’t religious my dad has long claimed to be gastronomically Jewish. Just like everyone he craves the comforting food of childhood that he ate growing up in the East End of London. Living in Stamford Hill, my dad could easily grab a salt beef bagel (or two!), pick up some gefilte fish or get a good dose of chicken soup. There aren’t many Jewish restaurants in London and most are located in Jewish communities such as Golders Green, so it’s not an easy task finding my dad a restaurant that serves his favourite childhood classics. That’s why when I saw the menu at Fischer’s I knew it would be perfect for him…
Ok, Fischer’s isn’t a Jewish restaurant, it’s actually Austrian…but the menu is packed with his favourites and trust me there aren’t many places in London with chopped liver and pickled herring on the menu. Chopped liver is my dad’s absolute favourite and he had no doubt what (one of) his starters would be. Fischer’s serve it with Matzo, as it is traditionally served at Passover, an religious occasion where leavened bread is forbidden. I asked my dad if it was as good as his sister makes, ‘No’ was the reply….well I guess it’s never quite the same…but he still gobbled the whole thing up and was so excited by the menu that he had two starters.
My dad’s gastronomic Jewishness permits – nay positively encourages – bacon…and his other choice for starter was Austrian Gröstl…
A paprika-fried potato hash with onions, bacon and an absolutely perfectly cooked hen’s egg.
Fischer’s is owned by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, owners of some of London’s most iconic restaurants including The Wolseley, Brasserie Zedel and The Delaunay. They are a duo who get the formula right and like its sister restaurants, Fischer’s is packed to the rafters and I didn’t see one empty table. The decor imitates a Viennese cafe with wooden accents, high ceilings and a rich brown colour palate. The paintings on the wall are formal but give the feeling of being in the drawing room of someone’s private home…
And the animal heads evoke an Austrian hunting lodge…
And there was gorgeous looking Viennoiserie in the cabinet at the entrance. In fact, I’m rather transported back to my own childhood and my all time favourite film, The Sound of Music…and it’s definitely time for one of my favourite things….
I love the fact that Fischer’s don’t just offer one kind of salmon but I had salmon three ways…oak smoked, beetroot cured and grapefruit cured served with horseradish cream and nordic bread. The salmon was perfectly firm and not too oily and I loved trying the three different flavours.
My mum’s vegetable and thyme broth with herb pancake wasn’t exactly photogenic but it did give her a chance to show off her Apple Watch, which she reassures us does so much more than tell the time.
Like my dad, Mr S was overwhelmed by wanting everything on the menu and he also spied many of his childhood favourites. Actually Fischer’s have a whole sausage menu and Mr S went with the frankfurter made with smoked beef and accompanied by potato salad, sauerkraut and caramelised onions.
To return to the Jewish connection briefly, of course there was a huge Jewish population in Austria before the Second World War and to reflect this the owners have developed a back story to the restaurant. Jewish Otto and his Catholic wife Maria Fischer escaped Austria in the Third Reich to set up Fischer’s in the old Viennese style. The tale maybe fictional but I like the bitter-sweet story of the refuges fleeing oppression to set up their own restaurant in Marylebone.
For main course my dad also selected from the sausage menu, and adhering to his strict rules of bacon eating he chose the Berner Würstel or bacon wrapped pork and garlic sausage with emmental.
As you can see, you will certainly not go hungry at Fischer’s, definitely a Jewish mother’s dream!
But Fischer’s isn’t all heavy cuts of meat and carbs. My mum and I both ordered lighter dishes; while she went for pan-roasted hake with broccoli, toasted almonds and lemon dressing, I chose sea trout with artichoke and citrus dressing. Both were beautifully cooked and well-seasoned pieces of fish.
A side of spätzle, a sort of German noodle, completed my mum’s order.
Finally (and someone just had to) Mr Silver chose the chicken schnitzel from a choice of three different options of the Austrian flattened and breaded meat.
Weiner schnitzel, containing veal, is traditional in Austria, but when the Jewish immigrants bought the dish to Israel it was made with chicken or turkey due to both kosher dietary rules and economic reasons. The schnitzel at Fischer’s is vast and sprawls over the whole plate but Mr Silver manfully ate the whole thing along with his side of fries and a good German beer.
After two starters and a heavy main course my dad couldn’t quite be defeated; I was pleased to see the Bergasse ice cream coupe on the menu as my dad has actually complained in restaurants when the ice cream choices are too boring and he’s offered the standard vanilla, strawberry and chocolate options.
His sundae was as nutty as he is, comprising hazelnut, almond and pistachio ice creams topped with whipped cream and butterscotch sauce.
Mr S stuck with the theme of the day, choosing Apple Strudel, a classic Viennese dish and also a dessert commonly on the table of a Jewish home. Perfect swirls of flaky pastry encircled the stewed apple and cinnamon within.
Though Fischer’s is a traditional Austrian restaurant there are many Jewish favourites on the menu, and though we said So Long, Farewell to this restaurant that reminded my dad of the time he was Sixteen Going on Seventeen, we’ll definitely be back as we’ve certainly found Something Good, on Marylebone High Street.
50 Marylebone High Street
020 7466 5501