So if you’ve read anything else i’ve written so far, you’ll be aware I kinda like my food, especially asian cuisines like Thai, Malaysian, Mexican and Indian. I’m a keen cook, and love to experiment, so when I had the opportunity to go to go to one of the London Street Feasts I was very excited about all the goodies i’d be surrounded by!
I’d heard a huge amount of hype about these pop up restaurant locations to be honest. For me this is concept is great! Find people who do one or who things really well, and love their food, stick them all together with some great crafty beers and in a funky location; what’s not to like? For me, this is perfect as I can eat such an array of things that I wouldn’t necessarily cook myself, and any fussy eaters can eat whatever the hell they want!
I spent all (well nearly all) of my teenage years working in restaurants, in all the roles you can imagine, both front and back of house. Being immersed in this environment gave me a real appreciation for GOOD food, not just something that tasted nice and looked okay, so this more recent explosion of high quality, cooked with love, high quality produce based grub is just what i’ve wanted to see for a long, long time. Again, you can understand my excitement when going to street feast!
Dalston Street Feast; first impressions.
Well firstly, the style of the place is awesome. I really like the upcycled industrial feel of the Dalston venue. It’s got the feeling like a bunch of food lovers just built up a co-operative in an old warehouse, which is pretty fun! It’s all very ‘no thrills’ decor, which again, i really like. The space isn’t huge, so it’s quick to discover what you can munch pretty quickly.
The array of grub is vast, from you traditional American smoke house (with traditional smoker=AWESOME) as you walk in, over to the slightly more obscure (like Wood Pigeon Kebabs, i’ll come onto that later), and everything in between that you’d expect (burgers, pizzas, etc). However you can really tell that each vendor really cares. They all screamed quality and customer service was second to none. I went with a bunch of mates, so we all set off in search of our ideal meal..
All looking pretty good so far.
Eating my way around the world
My buddies tucked straight into the Taco stall, Breddos Tacos. They knew i’d wanna sample this, so was lucky enough to get a bite too. First impressions= GOOD! Really nicely seasoned and spiced, well cooked meats, lovely purple taco shells, little on the small side and for £10 I would have expected more, but would definitely go back.
I tucked into Rola Wada, the Indian Street food vendor. I’ve literally been dreaming about Indian street food, as we’re now only 2 months from our year away, starting in India. I had a very similar experience to be honest. Portions were very small (3 small naan’s topped with Chana, Chicken, or Lamb). For £10 these lasted about 2minutes. They tasted REALLY good, and again, really well cooked and crafted, but I just felt like I was paying through the nose for something I knew was not REALLY that expensive to cook (so a healthy markup on everything they sell?) However, with London pricing I suppose this is expected really.
Kelly then went off to sample a Chinese bun, filled with Pork Belly. This, I must say, was sensational, and for £4 I could deal with the cost. I used this opportunity to try something very different that I wouldn’t really cook for myself. I got enticed by the pigeon breast kebab, with a beetroot hummus, harissa paste and pickled cabbage, and I’m sad to say this was a real let down. To finish this off, my mate Frank went for the infamous Bleaker Burger (something of legend according to a couple of London based friends) and I can safely say this was an exceptional burger!
For me, pigeon breast is a full of flavour choice, the meat is delicate but with a strong and gamey flavour. Sadly the flavour of this breast was totally masked by the heavy cumin based rub. Alongside this, the breast was overcooked, which any fan of pigeon knows is a cardinal sin! The Harissa was very average indeed, and overall this was a real let down, and for £6 and again, a pretty small feed, I was a bit miffed.
So to top this off, we sampled many of the drinks stations (as you would, obviously). The Tequila Treehouse was less of a treehouse and more of a 2nd storey with some green fake grass flooring, and a pretty disappointing array of Tequila (I LOVE tequila, so was again disappointed by this). Fortunately however, the Gin shack was a delight, with a great array of Gin’s, and very knowledgable and passionate staff. Because the staff were so awesome and the array of Gin was so vast, it somewhat took the sting out of the £17 round (2 drinks).
So overall, a bit of a mixed bag really. This sadly was nothing in contrast to my experience of the NYC equivalent, Urban Space NYC, which was an absolute delight from start to finish. Would I go back? Yeah, probably, but i’d be careful in what I ordered, take A LOT more money, and would do my best to avoid believing the hype associated with the street feast movement. To be honest, I think I was just unlucky, but it was definitely an unexpected disappointment. What made the night though was the company and the atmosphere for sure.