I've done a lot of this recently – eating on the street, that is. Whether it’s because I’ve been more choosy or whether the standards are just higher, I don’t know, but there has been some very good stuff recently. Here are some of my favourites. Part 2 to follow shortly including a few east London things like Street Feast’s new home in Dalston, Hackey Homemade and Broadway Markets.
The Laughing StockLast year this was a trailer and side car type setup that positioned itself on the side of The Udderbelly on the Southbank. This year it’s in the same place only it’s become a sturdier wooden cabin and a much bigger operation.
Anyhoo, I went down there to meet Bert Elles, the brother of the co-founder Jack and the man who is currently overseeing it all as Jack is in Scotland.
Forget last year’s epic ‘shroom burger. This was a day for the organic lamb burger made with Macaroni Farm meat, dripped with minted yoghurt and served with salad and chips for £8.50. I like that the bread was floury and didn’t fall apart in my fingers, I loved how summery it felt eating spring lamb and cooling mint, and I liked how tender it was – not too intense as some can be.
HEALTHY YUMMIESAt eat.st and Fifteen restaurant’s 15th birthday in east London last Saturday, I went first to Healthy Yummies. Last summer at the Red Market (info here on this year’s event) I remember how my boyfriend and I stood in the rain watching as two girls cooked scallops with bacon, mash and samphire and planted it all inside a shell for us to eat in our hands. This year, the sun was out and Nicola was there with her signature dish – only the samphire was replaced with other sea veg. It slithered on our tongues, it tasted sea salty and I enjoyed the theatrical cooking of the scallops in front of us. “How amazing that you can have such a luxury done on the street way,” commented my friend Rosie. It was delicious. Having arrived late to the party, much of the food had sold out. Luckily what hadn’t was some fried cat fish and salad from Banhmi11 (succulent, salty fish with a well covered spicy salad) and a Frankly Barby hot dog from Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa.
And do you know what? I’ve heard mixed reports from Barbecoa but this just sorted us out. The bread bounced, we could tell the frankfurter was homemade because it didn’t squeak as we bit down on it and had a lovely smoky after taste, and the sauerkraut and dollop of French’s mustard gave it a nice little tang. I’d like one in my neighbourhood.
The final stop there was at Westonbirt ice cream for some creamy burnt coconut and a really refreshing scoop of elderflower and gooseberry before the clock struck five and the whole thing ground to a halt.
THE BIG GUNS ARE BACKTo seasoned street food eaters, this might seem a little obvious but to the rest of you I realise I haven’t mentioned that the two street food big guns are back and blazing. The first – you guessed it – is the meaty barbecue trailer Pitt Cue Co, also on the Southbank, which is back in its usual spot under the Hungerford Bridge selling signature boxes of pulled pork or house sausages served with bread and pickles. The queues aren’t quite so big this summer (everyone’s at the new restaurant instead) so with a bit of careful planning you should get served relatively easily. And please, please don’t go without trying a Pickleback.
The Pitt Cue trailer is open daily, midday until closing under Hungerford Bridge, Southbank, SE1. Website here.
The other is The Meatwagon burger ambulance 3.0 whose summer of surprise appearances is well underway. It popped up around the Gherkin in early June and was last heard tweeting from a private event with Nike on 4th July. If you’ve already been to MeatLiquor or the new MeatMarket restaurants but you’re ready to really go back to basics, keep an eye out on the MeatWagonUK twitter feed to hunt those patties down…