This weekend myself and a couple of friends took ourselves to Wapping to check out the Feast food festival being held at the Tobacco Docks. It ran from Thursday to Sunday and cost £8 to get in for four hours, it’s not too expensive but other than the cool location and a bit of live music you don’t really get much for your money. There isn’t much of a description of what to expect on their website but we were expecting at least lots of free tasters and perhaps some cooking demos or something, unfortunately once your inside you have to pay for all food from the various stalls and nothing is free, actually I tell a lie – one stall gave me a spoonful of piccalilli for free, cashback!!
The location was set on two levels, pretty cool looking and provided some nice surroundings in which to eat your food. There was a fantastic selection of London’s best street food stalls to choose from (probably between 40 and 50) so we set about choosing where to eat first. After a quick wander we came across the Pizza Pilgrims stall, usually based on Berwick street market in Soho they make a selection of 10″ Napoli inspired pizzas for between £5 and £6, the selection varies from day to day. Apparently they made a 6 week pilgrimage to Napoli in order to master their trade of making the perfect pizza so we decided to see if it had paid off.
I ordered a Nduja pizza which takes it’s name from the spreadable spicy sausage used as it’s main feature, spreadable sausage you say?! Yes, apparently a rare type of sausage from Calabria which can be sourced from an Italian deli in Soho called Lina Stores, I know this because I now want some so I asked for the details! The pizzas are hand made in front of you and cooked in a gas fire oven in the back of a converted reliant robin van (yes indeedy, you can see the back of the van just about in the photo), seriously these guys will knock up one of the best pizzas you’ll ever taste. The base is spot on, a good thickness throughout with a slightly charred crust, the tomato sauce is flavoured with basil and has a slight sweetness to it, the mozzarella is nicely browned on top, and the nduja sausage (which just merges nicely into the tomato sauce) is packed full of flavour and has an almighty kick of chilli which you may or may not be ready for, seriously I had to have breaks inbetween slices! My friends and I all agreed it was a pizza of epic proportions so check them out next time you’re in Soho and you’ve got the munchies.
https://www.facebook.com/pizzapilgrims or @pizzapilgrims on twitter
Next up was Anna Mae’s Mac and Cheese stall which I’ve seen around and heard about but never taken advantage of before, they’ve been touted as making the best mac n’ cheese in London so it was time to tuck in and see. The idea is pretty simple, they cook shedloads of southern style macaroni and cheese, fill up a pot of it and you choose which topping you want on it for £5 or £6. The choices are ‘Annie Mac’ (with classic 3 cheese sauce), ‘Kanye Western’ (hotdogs and homemade BBQ sauce), ‘The Spicy Juan’ (chipotle, jalapenos & sour cream), or ‘Don Macaroni’ (crispy bacon & pesto) which is the one my friend Mizuki went for. The queue was probably the longest we’d seen which I found surprising considering how simple mac n’ cheese sounds, but actually when it’s done as well as these guys do it then it’s worth the wait and clearly there were plenty of people who knew that only too well. The pasta was still slightly al dente and every inch was covered in the moreish three cheese sauce, on top there was a generous helping of crunchy bacon and home made pesto which lasted right the way through until the very last mouthful and made for a combo to die for. With me nursing a hangover of epic proportions this was a true blessing in disguise, I didn’t expect quite as much from a bowl of cheesy pasta but these guys obviously know their stuff and I was mmm’ing and nodding my approval with every mouthful. Check them out on facebook or twitter to find out where they’re going to be next.
https://www.facebook.com/AnnaMaes.Streetfood?fref=ts or @Anna_Maes on twitter
Having tried only pizza and pasta so far it was time to try something a bit different, so I opted for the Dishoom Indian stall who run two ‘eccentric old Bombay cafes’ in Shoreditch and Covent Garden. They were selling lamb raan buns with homemade coleslaw, sali crisp-chips, fried green chillies, and a cup of traditional chai for £6. The lamb had been marinated in chilli, garlic and ginger, braised overnight with spices, then flame-grilled, sliced and dressed with fresh lime, it came in a soft sourdough bun with fresh red onion and coriander. The coleslaw was tangy and contained pomegranite seeds which gave it some extra crunch and sweetness, and the sali crisp-chips were resemblant of the broken bits you find at the end of a packet of Mccoys but with spices on them and much nicer (oh dear I think I’m losing my way a bit, nearly finished now!!). It was a bloody tasty plate of food in all honesty, obviously the flavour and the texture of the slow-cooked lamb was the highlight, my only criticism would be that there wasn’t enough of it but I believe they do a larger version in their cafe so this was just a taster portion for the festival. Their menus have lots of other interesting stuff on offer, I for one will be popping down soon for a bacon naan roll with chill jam, cream cheese & herbs for breakfast when I get the chance, check out their website and pay them a visit if you like the sound of their eccentric Bombay cafes.
There were tons of other stalls that I haven’t even mentioned yet selling pulled pork sliders, Lebanese flatbread wraps, Vietnamese street food, hot dogs, fish dogs, salt beef rolls (which my friend Rich is so elegantly tucking into above), meatballs, burritos (Rich had a pulled pork burrito from @Luardos which was super), pies, oysters, meringues, waffles, you name it pretty much. When it came to burgers there was quite a selection but most of them were tiny for the price, then there was the Ron Jeremy Cheeseburger named after the legendary porn star, and they were BIG. You can try one of those near Bond Street.
Feast was good fun but there are several street food markets operating all over London every weekend where you can find many of these stalls week in week out and don’t have to pay an entrance fee, if you want to choose from 50 stalls in one hit then keep an eye out for the Thames Festival this summer which is free. Otherwise you can keep an eye on Feast’s future escapades by checking their website.