The Frenchie at #Westival, City Pantry’s new Kensington street food festival


For a year or so my colleagues have been joking that we should take over one of the streets outside our office off High Street Kensington and run a lunch time street food market. We’d call up all the traders we loved and then, wham bam, we’d have a party (easy!) and people from all the surrounding offices would come and feed. But it never quite happened. Then a friend who works at SONY over the road said she asked the council about doing the very same thing but they’d ignored her. So of course, sadly, nothing came to pass.

And when an email came through a week or so ago asking us to pop along to Kensington’s new street food market, I thought it was a bit of a joke. Surely not. Kensington? Street food? Really? Could it work? The other successful markets are all in north, south or east London (see my colleague Kate’s useful guide to London street food markets.)

Indeed, an eager guy called Stuart Sunderland, who now runs a fine online business called City Pantry – what I’m calling a sort of catering concierge, where street food and local traders can sign up to to enable them to have their food delivered to people around London – had convinced both the local council to start something up. He’d also convinced the right person at Tesco to run it in the giant empty forecourt outside the its Superstore in W14, near to Earl’s Court and West Kensington tube stations.

So leaving the office, I strolled over on a beautiful Thursday evening last week. And there, on the edge of a huge cross roads, with cars roaring past, in front of one of London’s most colossal supermarkets, a little patch of fake grass had been laid out, with picnic tables scattered over it and around 8-10 stalls enclosing the space.

At one end, a bar selling World Cup-friendly caipirinhas, at another a stall serving nitrogen ice cream and Kooky Bakes with its delicious brownies and other sugary things. In between, the Wild Game Co had begun a steady trade of venison burgers, a new pasta stall had interesting if slightly soppy pasta, hot dogs were also available, while at the end a little shack was doing a mean trade in lovely sea bass ceviche served in brown cardboard boxes.


In the middle of it all was The Frenchie (remember I mentioned wanting to try them a few weeks ago?), which had a miniature queue forming for its duck confit burgers.


What arrived was a golden demi brioche bun, the lid balancing on a few leaves of rocket, a soft disc of beginning-to-melt goat’s cheese (blue cheese also available) and underneath a few, tender pieces of duck, each with thick crackling around it, sweetened by red onion chutney. The result is a hefty sandwich of many textures. You can’t really fit anything else in after this, apart from maybe a blob of ice cream. So go hungry if this is what you’re after.

This new market is a really interesting little set-up, and I’m willing it to continue to do well. After all, west London needs a stake in this street food business.

Find City Pantry’s #Westival Wed-Sat until June 28 (and possibly afterwards – stay tuned) outside West Cromwell Road Tesco superstore, W14;


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