Street Feast London at Merchant Yard

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(Date: 19th April 2013)
This was the second week of Street Feast London.
(Time: 7.10pm)
Located at Merchant Yard this year, it is right next to Haggerston overground station. The weather was very kind on Friday (unlike the rainy Friday before!) and when I arrived, the place was pumping and you could smell delicious food in the air! Mmmmmm… Under the tent, most of the the tables were taken already and there were queues at several stalls.

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I have heard great things about the Rib man and that he actually prepared 200 kilos of ribs for Street Feast that Friday. After sorting ourselves out with beer, we made the call to queue up for ribs. Instead of a £10 extra large rib meat roll, we decided to go all out and got a rack of ribs instead. The #holyf?!k sauce came highly recommended though I have heard scary stories of tears but we took a leap of faith and went for it.

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(Time: 7.35pm)
When it came to our turn in the queue, I was salivating and couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty. Luckily for us, we booked a table at the Gin Store for 7.30pm and headed upstairs to tuck in!

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(Time: 7.45pm)
There was silence. My colleague and I were sitting quietly munching through our ribs. I felt the heat hit me. The sweetness of the sauce is so pleasant and somehow balances out the heat. It was scorching as I felt the first tear roll down my cheek. ‘This is good…’, ‘Delicious’, ‘Oh my god it’s hot!’ and several sticking the tongue out action.

(Time 7.55pm)
There was a huge queue when the dude got to Haggerston and he was complaining that he won’t get in for about half an hour as the line went round the corner down a smaller street… In the end, it took him about 15 minutes and luckily for him, we left ONE rib as a taster.

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(Time 8.30pm)
By the time it was half past eight, more friends came to join us after they got in from the queue. Perfect timing as we just left our table to do our second round of street feast. The Rib Man was sold out(!!!) by this time and the queues were increasing for some of the other stores.

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With a vegetarian friend amongst us, there seemed to be limited choices for her. She ended up having the tofu and shitaake mushroom gyoza (aka dumplings) from Rainbo which she described as delicious. The boys went for ‘The Huge Pole’ and ‘The Big Frank’ from Big Apple hot dogs. There were condiments aplenty eg. Siracha chilli, tomato sauce, french mustard and the lot to please the crowd. Lastly, we had a taste of Bare Grillz skin on fries with green curry mayo (a very interesting flavour!) before we headed off to Dalston to boogie the night away.

Street Feast is on every Friday so grab a few friends and head down east after work for some awesome London street food. We will definitely be heading back there soon!

Here are our tips to survive Street Feast:
– get there early!!!
– bring lots of cash (There is a cash machine across the road but the queue gets massive!)
– be prepared to queue for yummy food. The Rib Man & Ben Spalding’s Stripped Back comes highly recommended.
– you can reserve a table for bigger groups of 8-12 in the Yard or try the Gin store if you have a group of 2-10.

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A venture to the East…

The last time I was out at Broadway Market on a Saturday, I was there for Ben Spalding’s Stripped Back. I remembered walking pass Netil Market but didn’t manage to pop in.

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Out the front, there’s always some gorgeous pieces of vintage furniture from G Plan but if you delve into the small market, you will find mostly food stalls – Lucky Chip, Terrone, Italian kitchen and so on. As the dude hasn’t been to the area before, we decided to venture to the east to check out Netil Market one wintry Saturday.

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There was a queue in front of Lucky Chip when we got there. It is clearly popular amongst the market goers. The long line of people did deter the dude a little but I was determined to try it given the recommendation which I got from fellow food bloggers. When we finally got in line, we were told that we were the last people that they were going to serve as they were nearly out of patties!!!

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Whilst waiting for our burgers (20 minutes wait!), we did a mini lap of the market, going through vinyls, checking out second hand bikes at the cycle pit shop before we settled on a coffee at Terrone.

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Terrone‘s coffee beans are hand roasted in small batches in Italy “using a restored 50’s Vittoria“. Their Terrone Ciclista Blend received gold star status at Great Taste Award 2012. Both of us tried their ‘bianco piatto’ aka flat white and were sold. It is always great to discover new coffee places in London and we hope that Terrone is one to stay for the long haul.

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We managed to get a seat and were getting a little too cold for comfort before our Lucky Chip orders came. Our order of the Clint Eastwood veggie burger, Royale with cheese and fries was well worth the wait. Considering that I have tried tons of veggie burgers, given my inability to consume beef… this is one veggie burger not to be missed. Although it was a tad oily to look at, the crunch from the patty to the portobello mushroom mixed with the sweet chilli aioli, this veggie burger is definitely not an afterthought. The flavours were just divine and I inhaled the burger in a couple of minutes. I had the best veggie burger of my life and I can’t stop thinking about it. As for the Royale with cheese, the dude said it was one of the best he has ever had.

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With the weather getting better as we see ‘the start of Spring’ this weekend, I am sure Netil Market is going to be bustling as we get to the summer season. I definitely recommend you checking Netil Market out next Saturday as I am thinking of revisiting rather soon.

Netil Market
every Saturday – from 11-6pm
13 – 23 Westgate street
London Fields
E8 3RL

Hampstead Heath – Parliament Hill Farmers’ Market

I have been trying to find a local farmers’ market since we moved to the vicinity of Hampstead Heath and have tried to locate Parliament Hill farmers’ market sometime last year when I first heard about it. Didn’t manage to get near it the first time but last weekend we found it after 40 minutes of walking in the cold!

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It was such a refreshing change, walking around, browsing fresh produce and selecting what we wanted to make for dinner. It is very different to being in the supermarket, which is a norm for me in London now. Back in Singapore, I would always accompany my parents to the wet market in the morning and supermarkets were less frequented.

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organic carrots

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We got a fresh sea bass which was cleaned in front of us once we selected it. Fresh organic vegetables were chosen next to go with our fish. We also bought some handmade spelt pasta from Seriously Italian for only £2.50 which we cooked in sage and butter the following evening. Such a simple dish and extremely fresh and tasty!

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Bath Soft Cheese Company was handling out cheeses for tasting and we ended up buying blue cheese which the dude loved. I am not a big fan of blue cheese and instead was actually really taken by their wyfe cheese which was like a cheddar and it tasted divine. Didn’t end up getting any as they were out of it but we will definitely be back for it next week!

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If you live in the vicinity, you should definitely check this farmers’ market out! Even if you don’t, head to Hampstead Heath on a Saturday morning and you might get a snowy scene like this whilst shopping!

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When: Every Saturday 10am-2pm
Where: William Ellis School, off Highgate Road. NW5 1RN.

Mama Lan at Brixton

The gorgeous weather saw us travelling down south to Brixton. It was my third trip there and we didn’t really have an agenda. The bright sun had many out on the streets and once we emerged from the Brixton tube, it was the usual craziness. I love the markets here, the people and the music. It feels like I’m transported to another place.

As we were a little early for dinner, we headed to a local pub called Hootananny.
Everyone was sitting in the big courtyard enjoying the sunshine and beer. A rather cool place to hang out on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

When dinner time came, we headed to Brixton village market. A part of me knew that I wanted to have Kao Sarn. Afterall, we did travel from up north down to south of the river! The other part of me wanted to try some dumplings out at Mama Lan’s. We walked around and there were just way too many choices. In the end, we decided to go with Mama Lan.

After browsing through the simple menu, We ordered spicy chicken noodle (ban mein), boiled prawn dumplings and pork and chinese leaf fried dumplings aka Guo tie 鍋貼… I also got the Mama Lan’s specially brewed tea of chrysanthemum and goji berries.

When the dumplings came, it wasn’t the usual big huge plate of greasy oily dumplings we often get back in Melbourne…
Instead, there were only 5 moderate sized dumplings per plate. We knew that we were getting only 5 from the menu so we shouldn’t be complaining. Afterall, it’s London! I did hear that at Mama Lan’s, they source their meat from The Ginger Pig.

What we tasted were juicy meat fillings when we bit into them. I only wished that they were slightly more generous with their fillings. Between the boiled and the fried dumplings, I prefered the fried option. The contrasting texture of the slightly charred dumpling skin and the well-steamed dumpling was the perfect combination.

The spicy chicken noodles was really well presented and nicely spiced. It was not too spicy for my tastebuds though it was lacking a little in the flavour.

The bill came up to about £20++ for two of us including a beer. It was a cheap dinner but a part of me was left a little unsatisfied.

Dishpiglets’ rating: 7/10

Mama Lan
Unit 18
Brixton Village Market
SW9

Mama Lan Supper Club on Urbanspoon

Stripped back!

Last Saturday, I headed east to check out Ben Spalding’s latest venture. Ben used to be the head chef at Roganic and was behind the successful Roast Sunday held a couple of months back (which I missed). When I heard about Stripped Back, I know I wasn’t going to miss out this time.

When we got there, the eight seats were taken and we stood around patiently and waited for our turn. It was a delight to stare over people’s shoulders and observe what Ben was like in operation. We even had to stare at Goz (Plusixfive) who was in the earlier seating (haha!)…

When it came to our turn, we started with bread – yoghurt, muesli and malt bread with jersey butter and home made sea salt.

Ben served us fizz next – 42c below NZ vodka and meadowsweet. The drink was simply divine.

Our starter was chilled pea and mint sauce soup, greasy chicken skin, cherry tomatoes, mugwort oil and roasted macadamia nuts. The whole experience of Ben putting the soup together in front of us, was a delight to watch. The crispy chicken skin was a great accompaniment to the soup and the different textures came together so well.

Next up, we had cured and poached wild salmon, sweetcorn and nectarine. Gourd juice seasoned with shiso vinegar, bronze fennel and roasted almonds. This was a definite highlight for me. Pretty on the plate and melted in my mouth.

Our third course was a simple wrap filled with angus beef, spices, blow torched lettuce and home made sour cream. When I learnt that beef was on the menu, I had to tell Ben that I did not take beef. He was prepared and had a vegetarian option with onions and peppers for me.

Lastly, we finished with dessert – brownie rocks with mahlep seeds, dill puree, kentish cherries and lemongrass cream.

I love the set up, the way that it is just a simple eight seater in the middle of a Saturday market. Relaxed and chilled, enjoying food stripped back, raw and personal like they described. The interaction with Ben on such an intimate setting is one you should not miss. It’s great to see someone so passionate about food, explaining to you the ingredients used, his latest discovery and how he experimented with each of them. It is fine dining in a totally casual setting.

I highly recommend checking it out if you are in London. £15 was all I paid for the amazing 4 courses. The price is going up to £17.50 this week as Ben promised the best ingredients which he can sourced. From what I heard, razor clams are on the menu this Saturday! The menu does change regularly so do follow Stripped Back on twitter for the latest news! I might just see you there one of these Saturdays! You can read J (Feast to the World)’s review here. As for me, I hope the photos did the talking!

Stripped Back
London Field’s Primary School Playground
Westgate Street
E8 3RL

The StockMKT @ Bermondsey Square

I came across The StockMKT whilst surfing onto Mondo Mulia‘s blog not too long ago. The amazing photos from the event intrigued me and when I heard that they were having a double night special last week, I made an effort to get there and check it out. Afterall, I have heard a lot of fabulous reviews. Truth be told, it totally met my expectations and the dude and I had a great night, sampling amazing food and bouncing to the music of Albert Ball’s Flying Aces’ who were on that night.

We started off with Pom Pom Takoyaki. I have had these little pompoms in Singapore before but I must say that these girls served up a delicious deal. We ordered the takoyaki (octopus!) and the chicken and boy, they were yummy. Ours was missing some bonito flakes (think they ran out!) but we were still very pleased with the end product.

Our next stop was the Pizza Pilgrims. We were blown away by the amazing dough, quick service, good value and yummilicious pizza! The way they operate with the whole set up, we were just taken away by the simplicity of it all. AMAZING! We will definitely be visiting them quite often!

There was also Kamm & Sons serving Ginseng spirits… Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try this but we love the get up!

Amongst the sweet shops at The StockMKT, I was drawn to My Sweet Tooth Factory. We had a salted caramel cheesecake to finish the night and were so pleased with our choice.

It was an amazing night and we can’t wait for the next StockMKT to try more food!