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‘Street Food’ Category

  1. Street Feast

    May 16, 2012 by Dini

    Street Feast – In the beginning…

    May 2012

    Nestling around the corner from Brick Lane lies the Scalter street carpark, and the host venue for the inaugural ‘Street Feast’.  London’s appetite for street food fayre is at full throng with markets and pop-ups springing up across the capital. A few favourites from already popular markets have formed the collective for this Friday night shindig.

    Here’s a video of some of the highlights:

    (thanks to Street Feast / Yin & Yang’s for the use of their youtube video)

    What sets this market apart from the others, is that it’s a night-time affair with a fully licensed bar and dining room aptly named ‘The Carwash’, because it usually is one!

    It’s a little rough round the edges but the table service and vibe more than compensates for the surroundings.

    My first visit’s street feast picks were:

    The Rib Man – moreish and tender pork ribs, falling off the bone and smothered in a choice of BBQ or Holy F*uck hot sauce

     

    Mama’s Jerk Station – Spicy chicken with a cooling mix of salad and a jazzed up tropical mayo

     

    Homeslice – Fresh wood-fire baked thin crust pizza’s with simple but delicious toppings, such as chorizo, rocket and parmesan

    Which means next time I need to make a beeline to check out …

    Big Apple Hot Dogs, Hardcore Prawn and  The Bowler – I tasted the hotdogs before and know it’s a great offering and read review on the others, so curious to try out… I’m sure the vendors will come and go as the weeks go on, but it’s good to see how they mix things up and create wacky executions of their classics like the HomeSlice – RibMan mash-up pizza (as seen at Eat Street) and Beas of Bloomsbury’ deep fried brownies (as seen at Stock MKT).

    I don’t recommend that you dart there for 5pm before the crowds as the vendors will probably be still be setting up and getting going. Give them a chance to set up by having a post work drink then come over, I have a feeling the street feast party vibe kicked in post 9pm, judging by tweets that night…

    Street Feast is usually held on Friday nights
    Website: http://www.streetfeastlondon.com/  – for updates on venues
    twitter: @StreetFeastLDN
     

  2. London’s French Dips

    April 23, 2012 by Dini

    Dunkin’ a Sarnie…

    21st April 2012

     My first introduction to the ‘French Dip’ was at my recent visit to the Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar. There, I tried a cheese oozing brioche bun filled with beef and  gravy or mustard, for dunking. This was a revelation and a definite ‘comfort eating’ addition, to add to my favourite treats.

    Short rib French dip

    Hawksmoor Short Rib French Dip

    Twitter enlightened me that Rosie (a Food Journalist) and her friend Andrew, were setting up a French Dip stall in Brixton Market, so I was keen to try out their version. Tempted by Rosie’s preparations, on her twitter feed, I knew it would be a good thing…

    Scotch Beef Joint

    Scotch Beef Joint - pic c/o @RosieFoodie

    The Scotch beef from Moen & Sons, was PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) standard,  it was tender due to the slow roasting from the day before. The buns had been baked by Kindred Bakery, the recipe developed especially for London French Dip. I’d say for this type of baguette bun, you need more than a double dip, so that the bun’s truly drenched. Andrew told me he was being conservative with dunking, as some may add mustard and didn’t want the bun to go soggy. I’m not a mustard fan, so went without, but  I did love but the accompanying pickled gherkin garnish, it was a tasty addition.

    Kindred Bakery Buns

    Kindred Bakery Buns

    I loved the Team’s hands-on attitude, from sign writing to cooking all from scratch. Their positivity didn’t dip, even with the adverse weather, however they did have a support team on hand. It was also cool that they found Brixton suppliers, ‘keeping it local’ as well as ‘real’.

    For a Stateside comparison, @Cupcake_Kelly recently posted about a Tennessee version at Sweet Celebration’s  – Their classic ‘Short French Dip’ is made with “Warm Angus roast beef and Swiss cheese served with hot au juice” priced at $8.49 whole or $5.49 half. I like the idea of a dunking bowl or gravy boat, not sure about the crisps side though!

    I guess a lot of the above is subjective, to individual’s taste and preferences … how much to dunk, what bread (French baguette or brioche bun), cheese or no cheese? The Hawksmoor offering is priced at £10, you of course have the bells and whistles of dining in a swish bar, a cocktail in hand and central heating. The London French Dip Team’s offering was well priced at £4, considering they used good quality meat and buns.

    London French Dip Sign

    London French Dip Sign

     

    You can follow London French Dip (@LondonFrenchDip) on Twitter for updates and their stall location, they hope to be at the Saturday market, on a monthly basis and are considering different roasting meats… so watch this space…

    Hawksmoor Spitalfields: 157 Commercial Street, London, E1 6BJ
    Telephone No: 020 7426 4856
    Reservations: spitalfieldsbar@thehawksmoor.com
    Website: http://thehawksmoor.com/spitalfieldsbar

     


  3. Wild Serai’s Malay St. Food

    April 12, 2012 by Dini

    Malaysian Brunch Feast

    9th April 2012

    My Easter Monday’s, are usually a lazy day, for recovering from Easter eggs’ excess and watching a James Bond or Ben Hur repeat on the telly. This year, I found myself making a trek to New Malden, in high winds and rain, all in the name of street food.  I knew Yolanda (our Wild Serai supperclub host) would pull out the stops, as she’d co-hosted a previous supperclub, with Goz (Plus-Six-Five), also a diner at the brunch.

    Wild Serai Table
    Wild Serai Table

    The table was set simply, with batik floral printed cloths and fresh flowers. Giant Keropok (shrimp crackers) were piled high on our tables, which I found irrestitable, a bit of a school girl error, to start filling up on such trifles, when so much was to follow…

    Shrimp crackers

    Shrimp crackers

    Sharif (Yolanda’s boyfriend) earnt his brownie points that day, as he barbecued our meat in the adverse weather conditions, for the starters. The chicken and beef skewers were tender and so much better having been charcoal barbecued, as opposed to just being griddled. The satay sauce was delicious, a crunchy consistency, balanced with freshness from red onion and cucumber chunks.

    Meat skewers

    Meat skewers

    Satay Sauce

    Satay Sauce

     

    The Mee Goreng Mamak, was executed really well. The noodles were plump and were coated well, in the spicy sauce, without any greasy residue. There was a lovely balance of seafood, with juicy tiger prawns, sliced fish balls and cake and decorated with fried onions.

    Mee Goreng Mamak

    Mee Goreng Mamak

    Next up was the Penang Rojak. I visited Penang (Malaysia), a few years ago and it is known as a ‘Hawker’s Paradise’. I tried the Rojak there as I was told it was a speciality of the area. I recalled that there was a variety of fresh and deep fried items that could be selected (like a pick-a-mix) and the thick treacle like, sticky sauce was ladled on, hence it’s translation ‘mixture’. Wild Serai’s version was a heady mix of pineapple, turnip (which was not my favourite, a little hard), deep-fried tofu (deliciously porous, soaking up the sauce) and fresh cucumber. This was a lighter sweet and sour sauce, using prawn paste and tamarind. The plate was garnished with nuts and rice-crackers.

    Penang Rojak

    Penang Rojak

    Roti Jala, was a new dish on me, I’m more akin to Roti Canai (a cross between a paratha and roti) for soaking up my curry sauce. Roti Jala was a thin and latticed pancake. The Jala referring to a ladle with five holes, thereby creating the patterned pancake.  The roti was accompanied with a tender Malay lamb curry, which had been tenderly cooked on the bone. It was medium in chilli heat, cooked in coconut milk, making it rich and creamy.

    Roti Jala & Lamb Curry

    Roti Jala & Lamb Curry

    Nasi Lemak and at (60 sen) referring to the Malaysian price you can pick this street food breakfast staple up for. Normally sold on road-sides parcelled up beautifully in banana leaf pyramids. From afar, the street carts selling them look like topiary displays. Likewise, our plates were ‘cleaned’ by the placing of a fresh banana leaf, to eat from. Dainty, heart scooped coconut rice piles were decorated with boiled quails eggs, ikan bilis in Grandma’s special sauce and Nyonya fried chicken. I am such a fan of ikan bilis (dried anchovies), that I love it in anything, whether it be curry, sambals, omlettes and even salad garnishes. This was real soul food, again the textures were so wonderful together, even something as simple as the fried chicken, had been marinated for 48 hours in curry leaves, shrimp paste, lemongrass and blue ginger, making it really crispy and tasty.

    Nasi Lemak 60 sen

    Nasi Lemak 60 sen

    Dessert came in the form of an adapted version of Ais Kacang. Beautiful shaved ice, drizzled with evaporated milk, rose and palm sugar syrup, sweet corn kernels, tapioca pearls, red beans, sea coconuts (a cross in texture and taste between rambuttan and lychee) and jelly (mango and honey-dew melon).

    Ais Kacang

    Ais Kacang

    Every stir, uncovered new assortment of sweet jewels, bursting with flavour, I absolutely loved the combinations.

    Ais Kacang stirred

    Ais Kacang stirred

    A much needed caffeine pick-me up came with Teh tarik (pulled tea), still frothy from being poured at height between two metal tumblers or jugs. Sweet, Malaysian tea, made with black tea and a combination of evaporated and condensed milk.

    Pulled Tea

    Pulled Tea

    Not that I needed it, as I was so full of food and contentment, by this point. However, how could I resist just one small banana fritter?  This for me, was a true hark back to my childhood, as it was a typical tea-time treat that my Mother would make, using up any over-ripened bananas.

    Banana fritters

    Banana fritters

    I hugely enjoyed the Wild Serai Seafood Feast and this was indeed a great contender to it, showcasing some great street food. For the vast quantity and selection dishes, £25 is a bargain. Yes, ok in Malaysia this street food is a pittance in £ terms, however this pricing needs to be compared to a ‘dining out’ experience in London and it fares extremely well on value, execution and consideration of diners.

    New Malden, normally famed for it’s ‘Little Korea’ (a collection of Korean take-aways, eateries and supermarkets), handy for stocking up, getting your fill of Kimchee or taking a peek as I did through the windows. Alas, I was full on my return to the station, but a little Sushi lady vendor (I know, Japanese not Korean – before you say it), right in the station’s entrance, caught me eye. With a steely look, she meant business and I’m sure could take on any trouble with her sushi roll-mat. Something, for another visit, but how I’ll be able to resist the beckon of Wild Serai’s Malaysian food, I’m not sure…

    To find out about more Wild Serai events check on the  Read more about Malaysian Street Food Brunch on Edible Experiences site or sign up to their mailing list here.


  4. Street Kitchen in Finsbury Sq

    January 20, 2012 by Dini

    Street Food for City Slickers

    20th January 2012

    In the heart of Finsbury Square, lucky ‘City Slickers’ are treated to a daily offering of ‘British classics’ served from an AirStream van. The creative mind’s behind the venture are: Jun Tanaka and Mark Jankel. Both from fine dining backgrounds, the chefs are putting their experience of sourcing from organic providers and passion of cooking into an innovative concept.

    It was Friday lunch-time and as the drizzle fell, I found myself patiently queuing amongst city suits for the steaming hot food. I opted for a winter broth, delicately flavoured with herbs (£4.50). It came accompanied with a perfectly formed, round brioche roll, which sweetly sat on the container lid.

    For dessert I was treated to a complimentary crumble (usually £3.50), with layers of crunchy crumble, delicious vanilla mousse (Riverford) and a tart Crimson Crunch apple (Mole End) compote. This was heavenly and enough to lift a girl’s spirits, in the rain. On a sunnier day, I’d have stopped and tried another dish and enjoyed the ‘men in suits’. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, for those lucky enough to work in the area, instead of spending £5 in your homogenous sandwich or fast-food chain, why not try something different? This is simple alternative, providing healthy and freshly prepared meals, that come in at the same price as a ‘meal deal’ elsewhere.

    I’m told on their twitter feed, to look out for new adventures soon, so follow them on @streetkitchen to find out more
     
    Street Kitchen in Finsbury Square: Monday – Friday, 11:30am – 14:30pm
    Website: http://streetkitchen.co.uk

  5. PittCue Co’s Pulled Pork

    August 11, 2011 by Dini

    PittCue on the Southbank

     

    Twitter events such as ‘Tweat-up’ & ‘MeatCrawl’ made me a frequenter to the Southbank, to discover my summer of 2011’s guilty pleasure: Pitt Cue’s ‘Pulled’ Pork. The effervescent hospitality of Tom & Jamie always welcomed me, whatever weather… usually rain or hailstorm under the leaky Hungerford Bridge.

    Alongside the plentiful portion of tender slow-cooked pulled pork, sides were a gorgeous pickled gherkin, smokey cola beans and slaw (I have to say tainted with dreaded coriander, alas all can’t be perfect).  Longhorn beef brisket and barbecued pork ribs also favourites, featured on the menu, delicious washed down with ‘hard’ lemonade.

    What I most loved, is the chaps’ enthusiasm and love for what they were creating and offering up. Taking pride in sourcing amazing Gloucester Old Spot Pork and bread (c/o of Wild Caper Deli) to experimenting with mouthblowingly hot habanero sauce and injecting spring onions with pork fat. One import, I stayed away from, were the shots lined up on the counter for the braver few.  Namely Picklebacks,  a chaser of rye whiskey and a shot of home-made pickle juice. Just the description was enough to make me wince and a US import that could definitely pass me by.

     

    PickleBack Shot

    PickleBack Shot c/o www.sonatics.com

    The Southbank stint was a summer operation, however keep your eye on their twitter feed as a new outlet is promised in the New Year (2012) – @PittCueCo


  6. Dishoom – Indian Street Food – Covent Garden

    July 26, 2011 by Dini

    Dishoom Wallah in the eating…

     

    I discovered Dishoom back in Dec 2010 and since it’s been a regular comfort eating pit-stop. Whether it was their restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden or their Summer (2011) pop-up ‘Chowpatty Beach’ on the Southbank, their street food offering ticks a lot of boxes.

    On every visit I always order their soothing Chai and on special occassions with a dash of Hennessey or their latest version is with Baileys. On the food front, my aversion to coriander doesn’t get me very far, pretty much every dish is laced or garnished with it. I’ve learnt to grin and bear it (at least my Mother will be pleased I’m eating my greens!). The signature dishes entitled with ‘Dishoom’ as shown in my pictures are good bets, especially the calamari, tossed in spices and delicious pink peppercorns for extra zinginess. Their Anglo-Indian dishes such as their ‘bacon nan’ served with a smudge of cream cheese and a chilli jam is an example of a good fusion combo.

    I like the branding and ethos of this family run buisness, one of the owners is always to be found on-site, they’re digitally savvy with a refreshing website and social media interaction. By joining their facebook page or twitter stream @dishoomlondon, you can become one of the ‘Dishoom Wallahs’ – ardent fans, that gives you cheeky discounts, freebies and invites to events. What I most look forward to are the amusing ‘home-made’ mini productions they post up to advertise different events.  I’ve posted an example below…

     

    Address: 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
    Tel: 020 7420 9320
    Website: http://www.dishoom.com/

    Dishoom on Urbanspoon


  7. Soho Food Feast

    June 26, 2011 by Dini

    Summer Food Feast for a worthy cause…

    25th June 2011

    Nestling in the heart of Soho, lies the Soho Parish School and it’s this cause that took me to St Anne’s Garden, as well as fabulous food (of course). With the aid of some School Supporters and a few famous Chefs the Soho Food Feast was born, to raise funds.  Hats of to them, if you have famous friends and neighbours, why not? The proposition to me, getting a warm glow from giving to charity (a mere £6.50 entry on pre-booking , going upto £10 on the day and thereafter £2 per portion). This seemed an absolute bargain considering the calibre of Soho-ite restauranteurs participating, there in attendance and happy to chat away, certainly in comparison to the farce that Taste Festival has become.

    My highlights included:

    Boca Di Lupo with their Sausage feast with sister co. Gelupo and their adorable gelato cart. There were initially 8 gelato’s and sorbet’s on offer but as expected on a hopt summer’s day sold out one by one like hot-cakes. Their crowd pleasing favourites were on offer: Bonet gelato (a delicate blend of choc, amaretti, caramel & expresso) and I opted for Coconut & Rasberry sorbets.

    Polpo had some liver pate with crustini and a seafood and olive salad that was beguilingly beautiful. I met a fellow tweep at the Food Feast (Adam – featurded) he claimed that he had been pulled in to help out on their stall, from where I was standing he seemed to be enjoying the Pimms more so… he of course profusely denies this and claims it’s someone elses!

    Koya was a new find for me, ever since a rave review in the Metro’s friend’s say this once hidden gem has become impossible to get a table at. A shame as the Buta Pork Miso I slurped away at, was a salty and moreish pot, that made me giddy yearning for more. Alas, I was whisked onto Hix to have some salmon on sourdough (Hix, a non attendee apparently at Glastonbury as was Yianni of the Meatwagon).

    Valentine Warner gave us a welcome interval from eating, creating a simple yet wholesome seafood stew, which was whisked around the crowd so quickly I didn’t get a look-in. Close by Trevor Gullivan (of St John’s Bread & Wine) was on hand running a wine stand, with cases of different varieties, sharing his wondorous knowledge. offal was on offering on their food stand, I joked that had they had their famous custard filled doughnuts there may have been a stampede… so good are these doughnuts, I’m told they’re sold out by 9am on a Saturday.

    I indulged in trying a few more ‘sweets’ namely a take-away of The Union’s cherry cupcakes and Gaucho’s Eton Mess (after being harangued at by the Sous Chef – I always succumb to food pressure). One lovely spot was a purchase of some thick-cut orange marmalade made by Jeremy Lee (of BluePrint Cafe). He was very sweet and posed for a pic with his pot for sale. I asked him how bookings were going in the restaurant’s  21st year after the rave review they recieved in the Metro. He responded humblyy that he was pleased that the restaurant had been reviewed as a piece after 21 years and that indeed bookings had resurged.

    This event was a jolly one, with a great family spirit and tasty food offerings for a fan of Soho-ite haunts.

    To find out more about Soho Parish Primary School, click here, tickets for the 2012 event have sold out ands none on the door I’m afraid, but details are here.

    2012 update:  J.Lee is now at Quo Vadis, should have guessed then, that his cooking at a ‘Soho’ event, was due to a move!


  8. Meateasy – The Original

    February 28, 2011 by Dini

    Pop-Up Burger Dining – 25th Feb 2011

     

    For months prior to Meateasy’s opening and then afterward there was a lot of twitter buzz, proclamations were being made about it being ‘the best burger’ and experience in London. Alas, the guerrilla pop-up was located in New Cross, quite a trek and is a burger really that worthy? Brain child of Yianni Papoutsis, here’s the story –

     

    Another month went by and the surge of fandom had reached the mainstream with coverage in The Evening Standard and The Metro. So, I decided the pilgrimage had to be made. My fellow diners the @CriticalCouple had ‘reserved’ a table, thankfully meant that we could queue jump somewhat, I certainly didn’t fancy waiting two hours for any burger!

    On arrival there was a buzz of activity, very cool and already full to the rafters by 6pm. We had delicious cocktails (Mojito and a French Martini) by Soul Shakers, to quench our thirst and keep us amused during waiting. Every so often we’d hear a clanging, this was done when a donation was made to the new Meatwagon van fund (The old van was sadly stolen).

    To reduce waiting time there was a limit on food, so one could only order three items from the menu, so my friend and I opted for three different items each so we could share. I loved the chicken burger in particular, juicy and tender meat with a real crispy breadcrumb. The fudge brownie ice-cream sundae which I assume was one of the least ordered items (due to rationing and the burger being the main event), was a deliciously gooey triumph.

    One brave soul on our table @corkgourmetguy (Dave Ahern) ventured to take on the ‘Triple Chilli Challenge’. This was a timed record challenge of speed eating three different ‘chilli’ menu items, the fastest winner being entitled to queue jump, on visits thereafter. A lot of water and plenty of beer was consumed at any rate and I’m sure there was indigestion too.

    Since closing down the pop-up, the meat wagon has popped up at a Dalston Festival, a residency in Peckham-Rye,  the Soho Food Festival and Glastonbury. So, the work of dastardly thieves thankfully didn’t scupper the stellar work of the Meatwagon and Yianni’s latest venue is under the guise of @MeatLiquor nestling in Marylebone.

    Follow Yianni on twitter on @themeatwagonuk to keep up with his adventures…

    2013 Blog update: since my blog Yianni has opened up the following venues…

    MEATLiquor     74 Welbeck St, London W1G 0BA
    MEATMarket   The Deck, Jubilee Market Hall, Tavistock St, London, WC2E 8BE
    MEATMission   14-16 Hoxton Market, London, N1 6HG