We can feast again: where to feast once the party’s finished
Who made it to Feast a few weeks ago at Tobacco Dock? Sadly I couldn’t but I have been to past events and I think it’s a good format. The organisers have struck the right balance of presenting existing street food traders with the opportunity of getting continuous trade for 3-4 days and also restaurants who want to offer up something new – or something they already serve but in a different way.
However, as with many food festivals these days, you have to pay an entrance fee to get in, only to then pay again to try out any food. This means it only caters for people going in groups (who can sample a few dishes between them) rather than individuals who can’t possibly get their money’s worth otherwise. In my view there should be some sort of Feaster entrance card which allows you to get a sample of a few canape-sized things and then shell out for the bigger version of the one you like most or for something different.
Since a review this long after the event probably isn’t at all useful to you readers, instead we’ve decided to do a little guide telling the people who couldn’t attend where to find Feast’s food in London and for those who did where to get it again.
Thank you Phoebe Amoroso for the words.
WE CAN FEAST AGAIN
Feast is a glutton’s paradise. The concept is simple – street food traders and restaurants gather to provide a lot of seriously delicious dishes. Being street food, there is a natural emphasis on things that can be eaten with your hands, but there are also plenty of traders providing disposable cutlery to enable hungry diners to tackle the offerings. At this latest event, burgers, toasties, and hot dogs were served up next to pies, soup, ramen, waffles, and macaroni cheese. The choice was plentiful.
Tobacco Dock made a fantastic venue. It’s an old brick warehouse with curved arches and an open-air centre. The layout of long wooden benches, candles and flowers conjured images of formal feasts, glamour and decadence, which were juxtaposed with the earthy setting and furniture, and, of course, the street food itself. Throw in some flickering fires and the incredibly fun John Langan Band, who were storming through some interesting, lively folk music, and the effect is enchanting.
Many people there were striking up casual conversations about the food – comparing, contrasting, recommending. As my eating partner put it, “People have a nice mood when there’s nice food.”
There are two rules that one should follow if attending Feast or a similar event.
1) Bring a lot of cash. Or bring a as much as you can allow yourself to spend. Whichever option, just make sure it’s one that leaves your stomach and wallet happy. Apparently several people made this mistake: there were reports that the two ATMs closest to the venue had run out of cash by the end of Saturday.
2) Bring a good sharing partner or a group of friends, who want to try everything and always eat a lot. This vastly expands the range of food you can sample. Through deploying this strategy, my eating partner and I were able to tackle food from eight traders.
Here is what we managed to munch:
Beard to Tail‘s BBQ Pulled Pork Slider with Coleslaw (£4.50, pictured above)
This was the star of the evening. The barbecue pork had a delicious tang. The coleslaw provided a refreshing contrast and some interesting textures.
More please: A larger version of this creation with chips regularly appears on a lunch time special menu at the restaurant in Shoreditch. 77 Curtain Road, EC2A 3BS; Mon – Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch; Twitter: @BeardToTail; beardtotail.co.uk
Patty and Bun‘s Ari Gold Burger (£7.50)
Patty and Bun are legendary in London, famed for having some of the best burgers in town. We got stuck into the Ari Gold. The patty was perfect – a true beefy flavour, succulent and with just the right consistency. For me, the accompaniments didn’t quite work – something in the mix was a little vinegary – but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
More please: 54 James St, W1U 1HE; Tues – Sat 12 – 11pm, Sun 12 – 10pm Twitter: @pattyandbunjoe; pattyandbun.co.uk
Monikers‘ Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil (£1.50)
This was like liquid cauliflower cheese – without overwhelming creaminess – and made me very happy. Monikers’ was also serving up a tasty-looking beef pie with puff pastry, a traditional pork pie and some rather good piccalilli.
More please: 16 Hoxton Square, N1 6NT; Tues -Thurs 6 – 11pm, Fri – Sat 10 -12am, Sun 10 – 4pm; Twitter: @MonikersHSQ; monikers.co.uk
Frederick’s Pea and Ham Arancini (£3)
These are fried rice balls coated in bread crumbs with a soft and slightly gooey filling of pea and ham. The flavours were a little mild for me, but I happily wolfed them down.
More please: Camden Passage, N1 8EG; Mon – Sat lunch and dinner; fredericks.co.uk
Waffle On‘s Waffle with Morello cherries, kirschwasser and vanilla mascarpone (£4.50) with warm chocolate sauce (50p extra)
These are waffles made with buttermilk. These were soft and spongy (and therefore fortunately tackled quite easily with a disposable spoon). Throw on some chocolate sauce and it was a winner all round.
More please: Maltby Street Market; Sat 10 – 4pm; Twitter: @WaffleOnMarkets; waffleon.net
Meringue Girls’ Special – Meringue Kisses with 70 per cent dark chocolate, salted caramel, cream, pistachios and hazelnuts (£5)
These meringues are gooey in the middle and subtly flavoured.
More please: Various, including Harvey Nichols Fifth floor and Kerb Markets, Twitter: @Meringue_Girls; meringuegirls.co.uk