Schmaltz is an appetizing store, a source for Jewish delicacies traditionally consumed with bagels. It's the lesser known cousin to the deli, if you will.
Found in an out-building behind Fat Pasha, the retail outfit and sandwich bar is tightly packed with cold cases full of pre-packed cream cheeses and schmears like egg salad, chopped liver, labneh, hummus, an array of condiments, and various bulk goods and sundries.
Chef Anthony Rose puts his stamp on Jewish food with few creative licences and a deep reverence for traditional dishes. What distinguishes it from other appetizing stores? Firstly, it's not kosher, and further to that, this place decidedly doesn't care for restrictions of any sort - dietary, budgetary or otherwise. If anything, the prevailing theme here is indulgence.
Even the humble bagel gets an upgrade, starting with how thick Chef spreads on the cream cheese. When it comes to toppings, there are choices like house-cured beetroot or lemon dill gravlax ($11), smoked pastrami salmon ($12), or smoked sturgeon or Wolfhead salmon ($14).
Add on extras like tomato, cucumbers, onions or capers priced at 50 cents each, and the end product is a super-thick sandwich that comes wrapped in paper and cut to reveal a perfect cross-section.
Even more decadent than that massive bagel sandwich is the $45 bagel dressed with 50 grams of caviar and garnished with sour cream and hard-boiled egg.
The gefiltewich ($14) sees rounds of peppery gefilte fish and coins of carrot layered onto a buttered toasted bagel with beet root horseradish. Feeling like a fresser ? Ask the counter to add-in a thick slice of smoked Acadian sturgeon ($7.50/100g).
For the uninitiated, gefilte fish is a sliced loaf (or patties) of ground whitefish forcemeat flecked with sweet shredded carrot. It's poached and then chilled in the poaching liquid, which in its cold state turns gelatinous.
If the thought of this doesn't excite you, I wouldn't hold it against you, but after a lifetime of eating this stuff, I can say with authority that this is one of the better renditions I've had.
Not everything in the store is house-made but rather curated from the best local purveyors across the GTA. Fresh hand-roll bagels come courtesy of Kiva's , cheese is brought in from Cheese Boutique , and the base for flavoured cream cheeses is from Bagel World .
If you're serving brunch for the whole mishpacha (family) the schmears are ready to grab and go while cured, smoked and pickled fishes are sold by weight at the counter. If you're flying solo and just looking for an indulgent nosh, ask the counter to load up a warm potato latkah with some sliced fish, a dollop of something creamy and a spoonful of caviar ($22).
Photos by Jesse Milns