According to the latest census, Jews make up less than 2 percent of the population of London. But in Golders Green more than a third of residents are Jewish, and if you take a walk down the neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare, you can’t fail to notice us. Along with Stamford Hill, this is one of the city’s two concentrated areas where the orthodox – both modern and Hasidic – and secular communities congregate. It’s occasionally known as ‘Little Tel Aviv’.
The influx of Jews into Golders Green began after a Jewish cemetery was opened on Hoop Lane in 1895. The community expanded rapidly during the 1930s, as people fleeing from Germany and Eastern Europe came to settle in London. Today, more than 50 restaurants, 40 synagogues and 30 schools serve the area.
The diversity of Jewish culture in this area is unparalleled in the capital. You’ll find Israelis in the restaurants, while orthodox Jews – mostly from London but many from New York – run supermarkets and Judaica gift shops. Secular younger Jews can be found in White House Express getting a shawarma in the early hours. There’s also a growing East Asian population, with Japanese and Korean restaurants popping up. It may be in Zone 3, but trust me: this diverse hood is well worth the schlep.
A peanut butter hot chocolate at social enterprise Head Room Café. It’s run by Jami, a charity that offers support to adults with mental health problems.
A Hiver honey beer at the Grade-II listed Old Bull & Bush. The famous music hall singalong ‘Down at the Old Bull & Bush’ was named after this boozer. And while you’re there, get a spiced coconut curry from their new vegan menu.
One of Hummus Bar’s sloppy joes: beef and mushrooms marinated in barbecue sauce squeezed into a ciabatta and topped with truffle aioli.
A croque madame at superb Israeli eatery Soyo. (It’s a vegetarian, kosher version, obviously.) It also does properly amazing build-your-own salads.
Humus kavurma (lamb) and tavuk sis (chicken skewers) at Turkish place Likya.
A classic Israeli shakshuka at kosher-style café Florentin. Add feta for extra flair.
Salmon teriyaki with stir-fry veg and rice at Novellino. You can’t go wrong with the chocolate fondant for dessert, either.
The ten-piece tokujyou mori platter at the local branch of ace London mini-chain Eat Tokyo.
Epic Argentinian steaks at La Fiesta.
Pay your respects to famous Jewish Londoners including Marc Bolan, Sid James and Sigmund Freud (alongside many other big names) at the multifaith Golders Green Crematorium.
Thrifty bargains at the Norwood charity shop, benefiting children, young people and adults with additional needs and disabilities.
Purim starts tomorrow, so get your hamantaschen pastries at Kosher Kingdom supermarket. On your way out, grab an orange dragon roll from the Sushi Haven concession.
And if you only do one thing…
Take a walk up to Golders Hill Park and check out the water garden, butterfly house and zoo, complete with very cute ring-tailed coatis and lemurs.