All you foodies out there prepare yourself for a feast for not only the eyes, but for the stomach too. A feast of both astronomical and gastronomical proportions, that conveniently brings everything that’s kitsch and cool in the world of nibbling under one (rather soggy!) roof.
Feast returns once again to high acclaim, this time located at Tobacco dock near Wapping. You’d want to lay off a big lunch before diving in here of an evening. As the stalls each offer such delicious delicacies you could well find yourself having double figure helpings of dinner! Be sure to book in advance for your chance to enter this wonderful world of street dining, as it’s popular and often sells out. Your ticket unfortunately doesn’t grant you any free food, but the stands inside are honestly and reasonably priced between £3-£7 so you’d break into food induced sweats before you break the bank.
Grizzly weather aside, Tobacco dock provides an atmospherically lit, naked brick covered market sort of affair that perfectly suits the food stall set up and long wooden tables, lit by candles and decorated with flowers. It is obvious more thought has gone into this then your average market-styled feast.
Equipped with a mulled cider from the depths of the wine cellars, it’s recommended you do a full lap, tasting as you go, before choosing what to buy. After all you never know what’s round the next corner and you don’t want to be too full to try!
All the big names on the pop up scene are there. Once again Patty and Bun (my best burger in London!) were popular people, though they need no further introduction from me.
Caravan, renowned for brunch, Bone Daddies, the posh pot noodle, and Pizza Planet, pizza stoned baked in the back of a van, all lived up to expectations and made for some big smiles all round.
Beagle similarly were drawing a crowd out of sheer intrigue surrounding their signature dish: buttermilk battered rabbit. Surprisingly succulent and tasty- this is bunny like you’ve never had it before!
However there was also a host of new restaurants that had stands, trying to make a name for themselves in a tough and fast moving market. Monkiers for example has just opened in Hoxton and creates food that’s the offspring of both European and British cuisine. All this served up in a similar fashion to tapas, their belief is that all food should be shared and experienced as a group.
Some really cheeky chappies were on Hix’s ‘fish dog’ stall. The poshest version of a classic fish finger sandwich you’ll ever eat, apparently the ‘fish dog’ all started off as a bit of a joke, but demand soon told the guys they were onto something, and you can’t argue with the masses.
The fish was soft and fresh, the batter not too thick of fatty and the bun squishy. The only personal fault lay in the tartar sauce, which I thought could have packed a bit more punch in terms of tang. However it could be argued this would swamp the yummy light taste of the fish and their creamier option was actually a good shout. Either way, it’s refreshing to see a fresh fish related stall pulling crowds in a market area that’s not your standard paella!
If we’re judging popularity on the basis of queue length, Anna Mae’s mac’n’cheese stall was winning hands down.
This was probably due to their quirky set up and unusual choice of meal, as for something as mundane as mac’n’cheese to be in this elite and experimental environment it must be damn good, yeah? Wrong.
Taste didn’t live up to demand. It was almost like I was eating a plainly coated pasta meal that any student you pick off the street could probably rustle up for you. If anyone’s had a true mac’n’cheese NYC style, you know how good it can be, and sadly this was not the same level as across the pond.
Putting negativity aside now, as it’s rare to be let down at this sort of shindig, the savoury star of the show on this particular evening was an outsider called Roti Chai.
In a similar way to Patty and Bun they’ve nailed the package deal of their burger. Although this isn’t your ordinary beef burger, it’s shredded chilli chicken, coated in lashings of thick sauce before being trapped in a sweet bun. It’s big handful of pleasure, with the perfect amount of chilli, red onion and yoghurty guacamole sauce, and due to the fact the chickens in pieces, the bun managed to retain a lot more moisture and sauce then a burger ever could. Well done them.
In terms of sweets and treats, there’s the usual scattering of crepe, waffle and chocolate fountain stands, but two other stalls in particular stood out from the crowd. Firstly the Meringue Girls provided a display that would give anyone an eye-orgasm.
Rows and rows of expertly prepared and flavoured meringue peaks that were not only beautiful but conjured up unique and fun flavours such as Gin and Tonic.
Secondly we have Le Petit Paris: a stall that bizarrely combines ice cream and macaroons to a wonderful affect with a design your own pudding format.
The delicious ice cream flavours consist of baked banana, sea salted caramel and Yorkshire rhubarb to name a few, doubled up with chocolate, raspberry, vanilla and pistachio macaroons. Whatever you choose will be sure to be a winning combination, and all this laid out for you by a jaunty ‘maid’, this is service with a smile at it’s very best.
After all the trying, tasting, crunching and munching what better way to wash it all down then with a trip to the bourbon bar for an old fashioned cocktail combining whisky, sugar, lemon and bitters, and a comfy perch in front of the live band?
A great evening all round, Feast is one of the rare food evenings that truly has something for everyone, and everything for someone if they so wish. Make sure you don’t miss their next instalment.
Overall rating: ****