A Fish Dish With A Difference
The London Cure
2017 saw an east end method for smoking salmon known as ‘the London cure’ awarded the same protected status as Champagne. The smoked salmon people buy is a far cry from this rare delicacy. London cure smoked salmon is produced by just a handful of businesses in London’s east end, none older nor more famous than H. Forman & Son.
Started by Russian émigré from Odessa, by the name of Aaron ‘Harry’ Forman, and his son Louis. The duo initially smoked salmon for their friends, family and the local Jewish community, which was very close-knit in London’s east end during the late 19th century.
The salmon they smoked was brined and imported from Russian, but when ‘Harry’ learnt that he could easily access fresh Scottish salmon from the local billingsgate market, that’s when he experimented with the ‘London cure’.
The basic principles of the ‘London cure’ require the use of the freshest salmon, a little salt and just the right amount of oak smoke, in order to achieve a product in which you still taste the salmon, not the smoke.
Curious to see whether people outside of their communities would have an appetite for their product, H. Forman and Son. opened for business in 1905. The father and son duo quickly convinced London’s most renowned culinary establishments that smoked Scottish salmon was a true delicacy. Forman’s original clientele included Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Harrods, the Ivy and Mirabelle.
Over a century later, the business is managed by Harry Forman’s great grandson Lance Forman. The modern factory sits just is a few hundred yards away from the original location of the family business. Every day over three tonnes of fresh salmon is delivered to the factory, which also includes Forman’s restaurant that serves the whole range of family delicacies and has scenic views over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
As the last of the original London smokehouses, and protector of traditional values and skills that would have otherwise died out long ago – be sure to pair a glass of Champagne this Christmas with the coveted – London cure smoked salmon.