Street Kitchen: a new London street food arch
It occured to me the other day that the running theme of my most recent London street food adventures documented on here has been ‘accidental’ or ‘impromptu – that is, I haven’t ended up eating food that I’ve planned in advance to eat, I’ve just happened upon it, dived in for a slice of the pie, and before I know it it’s become a blog post.
So I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to hear that this week’s subject matter does not deter from that agenda – and again it’s been a simple case of my being on the way to something, feeling hungry and seeing something street foodie.
About a month ago I was on my way to a meeting at Wringer & Mangle bar and restaurant in London Fields (incidentally I’ve curated a series of supper clubs with them, celebrating the food of East London and taking place from the end of April to the end of May – see more information here AND PLEASE COME ALONG!), when I saw a little sign outside one of the arches near London Fields station signalling food from ‘Street Kitchen’. Huh? What was Street Kitchen doing in this neck of the woods? It’s usually some vans and cafe near Liverpool Street or a hatch in Battersea…
Or so I thought.
I checked my watch, realised that if they could serve me within 30 seconds, I’d have four minutes to eat something before my appointment, and waddled inside.
It turns out that Mark Jankel, who mostly heads up Street Kitchen – which incidentally has always been one of my favourite London street food operators because of its serious approach to serving really delicious food in a casual way – has closed the Battersea hatch and recently opened the main test kitchen here under an arch on Mentmore Terrace, as well as a tiny café up front.
What I like about Street Kitchen is not just its good, uncomplicated food, but the fact that when you eat it you do so knowing that they’ve really cared about everything that took place beforehand to make it good. The words ‘locally sourced’ and ‘sustainable’ are often overused in food land at the moment but in this case it helps that both of them know how to cook (incidentally Jankel and co-founder Jun Tanaka worked in a number of Michelin-starred kitchens before setting up, and Tanaka has since opened his own place The Ninth), are kind people and look after their staff (or so I hear). They also get excellent, fresh fresh fresh produce, some of which includes free-range chickens from Packington, which have good lives before they end up on the plate.
So anyway I hopped in, picked something I’ve enjoyed many times before – that is, the crispy chicken and potato salad – waited at a tiny wooden table for it to arrive and then ate it far too fast, not doing it any justice whatsoever. That said, it’s basically a really simple comfort dish made with really perky, juicy, crispy-skinned chicken, plopped on top of a pile of crushed potatoes, mixed with bacon, mayonnaise and pickled red onions, and it’s still delicious. Oh, and I got to my meeting with seconds to spare.
Go check it out – more details on what they do and their suppliers at streetkitchen.co.uk or Twitter. I also enjoyed reading this lovely Q&A piece with Mark Jankel that I found in my Google wanderings.