Kleinsky’s Delicatessen in Cape Town

Sea Point welcomes a New York-style deli intent on giving Jewish cultural cuisine a hip, trendy twist

For most, the notion of Jewish food conjures up images of a greying, overbearing bubbe (grandmother) chopping liver or rolling cheese blintzes prepared from a family recipe that reaches back to the time of the great exodus from Egypt. But local brothers Adam and Joel Klein share a different vision for their cultural cuisine: they view bagels, brisket, rugelach and latkes as grub that’s deserving of a hipper, younger association and a firm place in Cape Town’s ever-growing foodie culture.

The new Kleinsky’s Delicatessen, which is found (where else?) in Sea Point, is the outcome of this ideal. Opened quietly in early November 2014, the slick (non-kosher) eatery is modelled on similar modern delis in New York (like the well-known Mile End), which started popping up around 2010 when one couple began questioning why, as Adam says, “no one from the younger generation was flying the flag for Jewish food”. On a visit to the US, he was taken by these fresh, somewhat rebellious start-ups and so resolved to bring the idea to the Mother City and help breathe new life into age-old culinary traditions on home soil.

And he and Joel, who also happen to own Neighbourhood bar on Long Street, have made their statement loud and clear. Thanks to its edgy, contemporary décor, there’s really no doubt that Kleinsky’s is the new cool kid on the Jewish restaurant block. The small deli has all the makings of a trendy, hipster-esque Kloof Street café: the clean, minimalist look with off-beat industrial touches; the unlimited free Wi-fi; the Deluxe Coffeeworks brew; and even the multi-functional approach – the eatery doubles as an art gallery and all the works on the walls are for sale.

Needless to say, the fare has been given a bit of a fresher artisan spin too, and observant visitors should note that, as mentioned, despite the Yiddish theme, it’s not actually kosher. For the rather secular founding brothers, it is, in Adam’s words, “about the Jewish culture, not the religion”. And so the focus is quite firmly on simply taking comfort foods from their youth, flavours that have woven their way into their hearts and sense of identity, and making them accessible to everyone (that means even non-Jews from Tamboerskloof).

So what exactly can you expect from this cool kid’s menu? Well, for breakfast, there’s challah french toast with golden syrup, fried banana and seasonal fruit compote; a potato latke benedict with creamy hollandaise sauce; a smoked salmon bagel prepared over two days by hand and more. For lunch, there’s The Reuben sandwich with smoked turkey, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing; Kleinsky’s ultra-tender homemade hot pastrami on rye; chicken and matzo ball soup and other hearty delicacies. And when they’re available, you could even pick up a coconut macaroon, a sweet rugelach pastry or a pack of bagel chips.

In other words, it’s the sort of food you could still imagine bubbe slaving over a hot stove to prepare; only this particular bubbe is the hashtag-wielding, craft beer-drinking sort – up with the times and young at heart.

Tip: It’s possible to upsize your pastrami sandwich for a little extra cash if you’re really hungry for homemade Jewish food. Similarly, if you’re intent on having a rasher or two of bacon with your meal, that can be arranged too.

The Bill: As the food is not kosher, it doesn’t come at the high prices usually seen at Jewish delis. Breakfast items cost between R24 and R65, sandwiches and soups range from R36 to R68, side salads go for R22 and snacks sit between R6 and R32.

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:30am – 4:30pm (soon Kleinsky’s will stay open until 8:30pm for after-work drinks and dinner take-outs)

95 Regent Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 433 2871

By Dayle Kavonic

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Looking for an eatery that conforms to Jewish dietary laws? Take a peek at our overview of kosher restaurants in Cape Town.

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