A Proven Theory

April 3rd, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink

Hometowns are funny things. My hometown, Adelaide in South Australia, is dubbed the City of Churches. Not very exciting. And actually something I never really understood. A hangover from colonial days that seemed to colour my view of the place.

I moved away 11 years ago so really my vision and perception of it, somewhere I continually visit but don’t live, is distorted. For me, it was always a place set in its ways, unchanging and unwilling to try new things.

But something is afoot in Adelaide. I spent a lot of time there at the beginning of this year and the changes were evident. Things seem to be happening on the streets, in one form or another.

When I told a few people about this blog the same name kept appearing in the conversation: Burger Theory.

In existence for just a year this April, Rob Dean and Dan Mendelson started Burger Theory as a street food venture after finding the overheads of a fixed premise too prohibitive, a common thread amongst start up vendors. Finding their truck “Pearl” on Ebay coincided with support from a newly elected Adelaide Council, eager to revamp the inner city through the development of the Splash Adelaide programme.

A good idea, fantastic timing and, above all, hard work has produced an amazingly popular and successful first year with their name, and delicious burgers and burritos, on everybody’s lips.

You can only hope that with the city voting with its feet and mouths that street food in Adelaide, and Australia as a whole, will grow and grow.

www.burgertheory.com

 

Pizza Perfect

January 6th, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink

Coming from an Italian background, my pizza tastebuds are very well refined.
The dough has to be risen just enough, rolled out thinly and topped with fresh ingredients.  The only thing we were missing was a wood fire oven, which if you’ve been to my Nonna’s house, wouldn’t have gone amiss amongst the chickens, enormous vegetable garden, fruit and nut trees galore and makeshift smokehouse.

Wood fire ovens are unbeatable for adding flavour to a pizza. The veracity of anything that cooks your meal in literally a couple of minutes cannot be underestimated.

Homeslice, set up and run by three mates hailing from New Zealand, has created somewhat of a cult following over the past 6 months. Since starting they have been at King’s Boulevard in King’s Cross (weekly), Netil Market in Hackney (now sharing the space every Saturday with Lucky Chip), the opening of London Fields Brewery and Browns of Brockley.

The simplicity of their pizza is transformed by the half a tonne of homemade oven, built by the guys themselves, and hauled around to their various locations with great effort. You might think why bother but honestly, the smokey smells emanating from the chimney, with an amazing pizza made right in front of you and served achingly hot, is part of what, I think, makes it a fantastic place to visit.

Yet again simplicity has conquered all. No stuffed crusts, BBQ chicken or jalapeno pepper toppings here. Just a laid back friendly chat and a slice of heaven.

www.homeslicelondon.com

@homesliceLDN

Meaty Delights

December 21st, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

Meat on the bone turns some people off. They don’t know what they’re missing.

Is there anything better than tuning into your cavewoman instincts, grabbing a bone and gnawing on it.

It may not be considered polite, it sure isn’t pretty, but it’s something that taps into the enjoyment and physicality of actually eating: getting your hands dirty, sucking on the juices, making sure you get every last little piece.

The Rib Man taps into this visceral experience: the smell of charcoal from the BBQ the ribs are cooked on, the clatter of bones discarded in the process of stripping the meat, tender morsels spilling out of your mouth as you take a bite, shoving it back in with your fingers.

For those prudish about bones, the succulent, juicy slow cooked rib meat is also served boneless, generously filling tortilla wraps or white baps and bursting with huge flavour, something that you just wouldn’t get from a fillet.

Served with what can only be described as the most aptly named sauce ever, the food coming out of this stall gets you high on so many levels.

I think I may have actually had an out of body experience the first time I had Holy Fuck sauce, and yet it keeps you coming back for more. When the heat finally subsides in your mouth, a mixture of spice and tang is left that complements the meat perfectly. It really is addictive.

I admire the Rib Man, for me he captures the spirit of street food: do one thing and do it really well.

You can’t argue with that.

www.theribman.co.uk
You will find The Rib Man at King’s Boulevard and Brick Lane – check the website for details.

The StockMKT @ Bermondsey Square

December 6th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

My first flat in London was on Bermondsey Street in London Bridge. At that time you couldn’t buy milk on the weekend within a 15 minute walk of the place. Now you can sip sherry, eat high class Italian fare, stare dumbstruck at the Shard and look around wondering “What the hell happened to the last nine years?!”

That could be just me though.

It’s an understatement to say the area has changed but I’m not here to reminisce about old times (like when a drunk friend fell out of a cab into some garbage bags out the front of our flat or when my flatmate made bacon sandwiches at 4am for the guys in the bakery opposite and then just left them on the street outside their door), this is not the time or the place.

Walking down Bermondsey Street last Friday evening I was on my way to what I remember to be a carpark and home to the antiques market twice a week. Bermondsey Square has transformed into a communal square housing a supermarket, hotel, apartments, cinema, bar and, for one night only, The StockMKT night market.

A giant tip of the hat to Lorna and her team for getting this market up and running after a false start in August, it’s a testament to the conviction that these types of events are a really great way of bringing communities together. Despite the chilly winds and randomly malfunctioning lights, the market had a convivial and friendly atmosphere with a buzzing energy of a regular event, a difficult thing to achieve.

Familiar street food stalls dotted the square, Bhangra Burgers, Kimchi Cult and Big Apple Hot Dogs all doing a roaring trade, as did unfamiliar stalls Santana Grill, Sweet Tooth Factory and Chrissie Makes. A variety of other vendors were selling everything from lingerie to Christmas hampers, leather goods to curry culinary lessons.

For me The Egg Boss was the biggest revelation. A regular at Venn Street Market, these scotch eggs are like the Bear Grylls of culinary adventure. Salt fish and akee scotch egg anyone? Burmese curry? Shaved black truffle? Follow the Boss on twitter for updates on the weekly changing flavours.

I’m looking forward to seeing where The StockMKT lands next, with a wider variety of stalls I think this one could run and run.

www.thestockmkt.com
@thestockmkt

The Genius of the Dog

December 2nd, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

It’s so simple really. I mean, on close inspection, it’s the simplest thing imaginable: a sausage, some kind of bread, add your own condiments and sauces.

And yet so many combinations of this simple recipe go so wrong. The greasy smell, the old bread, bland accompaniments and who knows what in the sausages themselves.

But when it goes right, it’s spectacular. Big Apple Hot Dogs shows you how it should be done. Excellent quality meat, natural casings, fresh bread, a variety of condiments to put your own special slant on this old classic and, above all, vibrant service from someone passionate about their product.

Owner Abiye Cole has, over the past year, established himself as a regular on London’s streets and markets. Talking to him at King’s Boulevard, where you’ll find the stall every Friday, his enthusiasm for his work is infectious and inspiring.

What is most evident from the crowds of people that surround the cart everywhere it goes, is that the genius really is in the dog.

Seek it out, you won’t be sorry.

www.bigapplehotdogs.com
@BigAppleHotDogs


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Street food traders on King’s Boulevard

November 9th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

The first time I visited eat.st’s new micro-market on King’s Boulevard, I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole: out of nowhere a road had somehow appeared and after walking up this mysterious new path, a remarkable new world appeared at the end of it.

It may seem low key on first view but the site soon fills your senses: the chatter of students, construction workers milling around scoping out what’s on offer, the sizzle and smells of cooking and the unmistakable sound of conversations starting.

I have to admit I’m a bit in love with this place: it’s incredibly inspiring to see something spring into life so quickly, bringing with it a fantastic atmosphere that draws people in from near and far.

The Eat St traders themselves really make this site what it is: a common thread of core values and high quality means that you can always find something, whether familiar or experimental, to eat, savour and enjoy.

www.eat.st/kings-cross
Street Food Stories on Eat Street
Eat St in the Metro

Petra Barran talks King’s Boulevard

November 7th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

I am really happy to report that I have had the great pleasure of talking to the great team at Eat St, who are behind the new King’s Boulevard street food micro-market (amongst other fabulous ventures you may have seen them at).

Happily I’ll be sharing content from the blog with their website, with this post the first to feature on both.

It was fantastic to talk to Petra, co-founder and, I have to say, all round superwoman, who is part of the team behind this excellent cooperative of high quality street food traders.

Since my last post in early October, I have visited the site a number of times and it has already developed a lively and magnetic atmosphere, drawing people in from surrounding areas throughout the day, which seems incredible given the short space of time it has been there. The trial period is over but due to the overwhelming success of the first month, the site is now trading three days a week: Wednesday to Friday, 10am – 4pm.

With what Eat St are calling a “smorgasbord” of street food traders rotating every day, with special guests popping up every now and again, there will always be something to whet your appetite: whatever time of day, whatever the weather.

And whilst you’re up there, I would highly recommend a look around the new Central St Martins building: an amazing site from both inside and out. Oh to be an art student – they may be lamenting the move from Soho but you couldn’t ask for a more fantastic and inspiring piece of architecture to spend 4 years learning your craft in.

www.eat.st/kings-cross
Street Food Stories on Eat Street
Central St Martins at King’s Cross

 

Eat Street @ King’s Boulevard

October 6th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

I may have missed the lunchtime rush (work getting in the way of eating again), but the opening day of King’s Boulevard down at King’s Cross today was a cracker.

The four inaugural stalls that traded were all smiles by the time lunch had finished, the sun was shining and the enthusiasm for this new pitch, on London’s newest street was palpable (seriously, it’s not even on Google Maps yet, hence no map on this post).

Homeslice, with their ever so simple yet delicious pizza menu attracted the Central Martins crowd who must have finished their lectures at 3pm, as a wave drifted past, failing to resist the smells coming from the wood fired oven – it’s kind of unfair really to situate yourself right outside a university, the perpetually hungry students don’t stand a chance with this lot around.

Jamon Jamon also had a late run on their paella, another hit with passers by, who stopped, looked, smelled and asked questions about “how long” and “when” to whoever was listening, a lucky few claiming the last few serves.

Healthy Yummies one dish menu of scallops served in their shells, with the fabulous combination of celeriac puree, bacon and sea vegetables was perhaps a little eclectic for the tastes of the construction workers who took their leave but for me, an amazing combination of flavours, the salty, crispy sea veg really setting off the perfectly cooked scallop and crispy bacon – beautiful to look at but even better to taste.

Bhangra Burgers was, not surprisingly, a hit with the local construction crews, still busy building apartments and offices in and around the huge construction site King’s Cross will be for sometime yet. The fiery smells coming from the grill hard for anyone to resist.

The site, in a way, is perfect. A short walk to the underground yet far enough away (for the moment) to the high street hustle and bustle of King’s Cross St Pancras stations to the south, it satisfies the stomachs of the people who now populate this area: highly individual thinkers, people who question the norm.

The construction of a whole new part of London frames this space for now, but somehow it’s nice to stand in a spot and see the view constantly changing around you.

Like the site itself, the Eat St collective of traders will change and rotate, opening at this little pocket every Thursday and Friday from 10-4pm. Expect big and delicious things ….

(With big thanks to Petra of Eat St for inviting me down and all the traders for a warm welcome and letting me take photos)

An Update….

October 5th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

Firstly, can I just say a great big thank you to all of you who have gotten in touch over Twitter, commented on the blog and recommended me through your website and lists. I really appreciate your feedback and comments and so glad to hear that what I’m doing on here is being seen and, most of all, enjoyed.

I’ve had a bit of a break for the past two months, which was not intentional but has also given me a chance to think about what to do next and how to develop this space.

I’m determined to follow my resolution of updating this blog often and not just with any old tat, but with videos and written posts that I’m really happy with, proud of and eager to share with you all out there.

The last two months haven’t been without their adventures however…

I had the pleasure of tasting Pitt & Co’s delicious pulled pork down on Southbank during their summer residency there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Whitstable Oyster Festival served up sun, ale and, of course, amazingly fresh oysters again this year, one could argue the original seaside street food?

 

I also had the delight of attending The London Fields Brewery opening where I was introduced to the Homeslice team: post coming soon on their stunningly delicious pizzas.

The next two and half months, in the run up to Christmas, look like even more exciting and busy street food times. The opening of the Kings Boulevard N1C in King’s Cross, an event Petra at Eat St has kindly invited me to cover, is top of the events list and I can’t wait to get down there over the next few weeks with my camera to check it out.

If you have found or are starting up a new, fabulous street food venture that you think would be up for the www.streetfoodstories.com treatment, then do get in touch with me.

Again, thanks for watching and reading and keep checking back for more posts.

Lucky Chip gives burgers and fries a whole new meaning

July 26th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

Bemoaning the lack of decent french fries in London led Ben Denner to do the only reasonable thing: get a van and do it himself.

Lucky Chip was originally all about hand cut fries and homemade sauces. But the obvious combination of a burger with the fries shone through, eclipsing the original idea and becoming the main event on the menu.

And what burgers they are too.

Meat sourced from the Ginger Pig butcher, with flavours and combinations to blow your socks off. Amongst other things beer soaked onions, fresh pineapple and, intriguingly, beetroot flavoured onion rings.

There is a real attention to detail in the cooking and service too: Ben cooks everything from scratch, right in front of you, with no precooked elements whatsoever, and also lets you know how long it will be when you order. A typical fast food joint this certainly is not.

Here it is quality over anything else and a clear passion for producing the finest product possible.

Lucky Chip is also the first venture for the Living Futures Network, a start up that looks to permaculture to make businesses more sustainable. With food and market stalls as their main focus, the principles of Earth care, People care and Fair share inform the way businesses are set up and run.

Taking a permanent pitch in London Fields, just 2 minutes walk from Broadway, Lucky Chip has just started trading 5 days a week (closed Monday & Tuesday), with extended opening hours until 10pm Wednesday to Sunday, for that late night burger fix.

www.luckychipuk.com
@Lucky_Chip
livingfutures.co.uk/home.html


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