Go back to all news

New York Style Dining at Belle Vue, Hampstead

01 March 2024

Try Magic Edit v2

The doors to the new family-run restaurant and delicatessen at our Belle Vue community are now open, bringing the love and traditions of the New York deli-diner to Hampstead. We recently sat down with Jack Graham, owner of Freddie’s Deli, to find out about the inspiration behind the restaurant and what people can expect from its menu of classic dishes with modern twists.

When did you open Freddie’s Deli?

We "soft-launched" Freddie's at the start of February, opening initially just to the residents upstairs in order to gauge important feedback from those that will hopefully be eating there every day. Slowly, we have started to open the doors to the local community and word-of-mouth is already beginning to spread!

What is your previous culinary experience?

In terms of my background, I would consider myself more of a "home cook" than a professional chef, however I did work briefly as a Commis Chef at a restaurant called Konstam at the Prince Albert at the start of my career, before several years in The City, subsequently launching a plant-based cafe and juice bar business, Raw Press, for which I designed the majority of the rotating salads, snacks and hot dishes. My passion for food has only grown over the past twenty years and now I'm excited to take the next step in my hospitality journey.

Is Freddie’s Deli open to both residents and the local community?

Absolutely, we are open to both. The residents have a dedicated seating area and separate interior entrance, although they also enjoy mingling with the rest of the guests, watching the action in the open kitchen or sitting on the balcony for a coffee or tea!

What is the menu like? What new things are you bringing to the table?

The menu is a New-York inspired restaurant and delicatessen, specialising in "comfort-food" such as smoked fish bagels and platters; salt beef sandwiches; a wide range of egg brunch dishes; "Rosemary's chicken soup" (Freddie's great-grandmother) and dumplings; as well as sandwiches, pastries and cakes. The innovation is in the fusion of classic deli-diner dishes with lighter touches and some modern twists to cross generations and bring traditional food into the next era, as well as a strong focus on "from-scratch" preparations and ingredients sourcing.

Do you source the products locally?

As far as is possible, yes! Our smoked fish is from Secret Smokehouse in East London; our meat from The Ethical Butcher, which works with regeneratively farmed, grass-fed, meat, in many cases close to London. Our bagels are from Bagel Bakery, based also in North West London, and we even plan to use some herbs and ingredients from the residents' Herb Garden, located within the Belle Vue property and adjacent to the restaurant kitchen itself.

What is the background of Freddie’s Deli? Does it take inspiration from anything?

There were 3000 delis in the 5 boroughs of New York alone at the start of the 20th century with a wave of immigration from Eastern Europe; by its end there were only 150 in the whole of the United States for various reasons such as changing tastes, rising cost of meat, the fusion of many different cultures into the landscape, and more. Over the past few years, with chains such as Wise Sons in California or Sadelle's in New York; or in restaurants such as Gertie's or its sister Gertrude's, there has been a big wave towards bringing the diner tradition into the modern-day. This is now starting to cross the channel, with a new appetite for bagels and a buzz for the "NY deli" in London. Just in the past couple of months we have seen pop-ups from Wilde's Deli, new opening It's Bagels in Primrose Hill with queues around the block; even a "bagel bar" at Fortnum & Mason. 

The timing does seem to be right, however this is a concept that I've been wanting to open for many years, having grown up with this type of food. It has always been my dream to open an informal, family-friendly restaurant that appeals to young and old. My family is Ashkenazi Jewish, and we feature for instance my mum Louise's chocolate mousse and my grandmother Rosemary's chicken soup; she has just turned 95. She is an author and wrote a book a few years ago on her life in writing, featuring a chapter on her grandmother's chicken soup, closing it with the wish that she hopes such recipes won't die out and will survive her daughters. Whilst my wife is not Jewish, she has some family from the US and has a particular love of New York, endeavouring to visit almost every year!

The restaurant happened to be secured just a couple of weeks before having our first child, Freddie, so it was natural to want to call it Freddie's!

Why did you choose Belle Vue as the location for Freddie's Deli?

I have lived locally on Pond Street, just a couple of hundred meters away, for the past 10 years, so I was very familiar with the site. I have been local for 30 years. I had always thought that it was a fantastic site, with plenty of space, very clean and well presented, with a modern open kitchen and great outdoor seating, very rare in the area. Therefore, when it came to my attention that the prior operator was leaving, one thing led to another!

Is it important for you to offer healthy eating options, particularly for those in later-life?

Absolutely. My other business, Raw Press, is entirely plant-based, with a focus on refined-sugar free foods, and using natural and organic products. I am very conscious of not only moral and environmental considerations around sourcing, but the effect of food on every aspect of our lives. As the saying goes, you are what you eat! Simple and tasty preparations of high quality, unprocessed ingredients is fundamental to the ethics and goals of this business, and as we are all increasingly aware, to mood, energy, and a long and healthy life. We, illustratively, are incorporating a rotating salad bar as part of the counter display; we have a weekly-changing vegetable soup; and the ethos of healthy eating is in general carried through all of our recipes and preparations.

A selection of one and two bedroom apartments are available at Belle Vue. Contact the team for more information on 020 7980 8733 or email us at [email protected]. Visit pegasushomes.co.uk/bellevue for more information.