Friday 26th April - I love the Overground line. How else would I reach The Wapping Project, Midnight Apothecary in Rotherhithe, events at Tobacco Dock in Shadwell, Frank's Cafe in Peckham etc? Last Friday, it took me all the way to Haggerston so that I could try out Street Feast London with some friends.
We decided to gather in the Fox Craft Beer House first - an excellent pub for beer with a rooftop terrace. Lauren and Natalie are both Overground line fans too, whereas Olly walked to the pub having moved in near Broadway Market recently. I also work with two people who live on Kingsland Road who couldn't quite believe that I was trekking up to their neck of the woods to have a burger or two. One of them even popped in to the pub to check that I was really there. The staff were really friendly and we could happily have spent the whole evening chatting away here. I must confess that I was so comfortable that I accidentally drank a beer on the bar that I thought was mine. When it tasted different, I had the one next to it instead which seemed like the right one. Unfortunately, neither drink was mine as it was still on the table when I returned from the bar.
After a couple of (our own) drinks we walked back down the road, past the long line of people at Tesco's waiting to use the only cashpoint in East London, and joined the fast moving Street Feast London queue. It is free to get in, which explains why it was pretty overcrowded! Unlike at Feast and Real Street Food festival, we couldn't speed our way around trying out different things as the queues for each stall were far too long. After grabbing a drink from their bar (tasty bottled beers from BrewDog, Camden and Beavertown, plus giant cocktails from Rotary that I tried a few weeks ago with my sister), we decided to get stuck in to the queue for Yum Jungle. It was incredibly slow moving (especially with some nasty queue jumper girls trying to get involved), but worth the wait. I had a Thai-spiced chicken burger filled with crunchy Asian slaw, with delicious chips and some fancy mayo that I have forgotten the name of - it was all pretty special.
A special mention has to be given to the ridiculous men's open air urinals which are oddly placed next to where the women are queuing for their toilets. They are also all facing one another so that you can either have an awkward time avoiding eye contact, or have a quick bit of pee banter. After that interesting experience, Natalie and I had some enjoyable Sticky Toffee Pudding and Carrot Cake from Sweet Tooth Factory whilst everyone else was going for savoury food. We were also joined by Haggerston local, James. If you are thinking of going, I highly recommend getting there as close to 5pm as you can if you want to try several things, or hold off until a bit later. There are so many great food traders to try that it's a shame to only fit in a couple!
After dessert, Natalie went home to sleep, which was a mistake because she missed out on The Gin Store! In one corner of the market, there is a bouncer guarding a staircase which leads up to my new favourite bar. It is one of the most beautiful spaces I have been to since starting The List. It's like a cosy barn that has been filled with old furniture. It has beams supporting a low sloping roof, and wonderful low ambient lighting. I didn't manage to take any photos of the main room so you are just going to have to believe me. It was buzzing inside and for some reason reminded me of those amazing bars that you stumble across in Budapest. When James asked if there was a minimum spend on card, the barman replied 'Don't be a dick about it' - not quite sure what that meant, but it was delivered as a joke. We managed to find some sofas and settled in for the rest of the evening. There are the same beers from downstairs on offer, plus some special gin cocktails. I haven't been back to that many places as I have so much left to try, but I might need to book out a whole Friday night to take some people here.
Another string to Street Feast's bow is 'Ben Spalding Stripped Back' - a 50 minute high-quality, high-speed dining experience with drinks for £27.50 in a covered dining area. In that time you get through four 'surprise' courses conceived by Ben Spalding that compliment the street food vibe going on downstairs. Have a look at the website for more info and to book tickets.
Street Feast is only open on Fridays, though this weekend they are holding special 1st birthday celebrations with extra stuff happening on Sunday and Monday too. Get on that Overground line to Haggerston - you won't regret it! For more food fun this weekend, head to Southbank for Real Food Festival and Streets of Spain all weekend. I am also excited by the new events at Skyroom near London Bridge run by Platterform - especially The Good Egg Hangover Club, Cock'n'Doodle and The Gin Shed. So much to do, so little money... Thanks for reading!