A brand new ‘kosher-style’ café is opening at the newly restored Manchester Jewish Museum next month.
The venue has been closed to the public since 2019 to undergo a £6 million extension, restoration and renovation project of its museum and the Grade II listed Spanish and Portuguese synagogue built in 1874.
Reopening on 2 July, the museum’s new café will serve a contemporary vegetarian ‘kosher-style’ menu. This means that the food will be prepared using kosher ingredients, as Jewish families would at home, but the preparation will not be supervised under the Beth Din which certifies whether or not food products for sale are officially kosher.
Visitors to the cafe will be able to enjoy Jewish dishes while learning about the history and tradition of Jewish food.
The menu will showcase a variety of dishes from Jewish communities across the world. The styles of Jewish food are largely divided into two groups, relating to two ethnic divisions: Ashkenazi refers to the descendants of Jews who originated from Northern and Eastern Europe; Sephardi, relates to communities from around the Mediterranean (a nod to the synagogue’s Spanish and Portuguese roots).
Dishes will include a Sephardi-style lentil soup with spinach & drizzle of zesty lemon oil served with pitta and an Ashkenazi vegetarian cholent (a traditional stew normally served for a midday Sabbath meal) served with challah bread.
There will be bagels topped with schmear (cream cheese) and carrot lox in place of the traditional smoked salmon, as well as falafel pittas, filled with hummus, tahini, zhug, chopped salad and pickled chilli pepper.
Many Jewish celebrations are centred around food, and there will be seasonal specials to celebrate festivals like Chanukah and Shavuot.
Alongside the new café, the museum now features learning kitchen where a programme of food events and workshops will be held.
The first will be a series of events called Eat the Archives, which will celebrate food and its role in Jewish culture.
Chef Leo Burtin has spent two years working through the museum archives, finding ways to bringing the collection to life through making and sharing food.
Eat the Archives will kick off next week with a three course meal prepared by Leo at the museum on 23 June. There is also the opportunity to host an Eat the Archives event for free in your own home in August.