FEAST

As I mentioned yesterday, Sunday brought a much-anticipated event: FEAST, which showcases some of London’s current most exciting restaurants and street vendors. We’ve been eyeing it up for ages and after finally committing, purchased our tickets and wandered on down to Brick Lane Yard on a perfectly sunny Sunday morning. The set up was really great: lots and lots of stalls lining the yard, a line in the middle, and then a little croquet lawn, a little boulles set up, and a larger lawn dotted with deck chairs and glamorous people. It was a perfect little haven away from the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane on a Sunday morning and we were fairly beside ourselves with excitement!

We’d strategically avoided breakfast so we were all STARVING by the time we arrived, but forced ourselves to complete a full circuit of the stands before making our decisions. Sophie and Nicole went for quite substantial dishes, while I adopted a “less is more” strategy so I could try more things. Between us, we covered quite a lot of ground. Here’s what I ate:

Pork Bun: Yum Bun

I’ve been wanting to get a piece of Yum Bun action for ages so they were my first stop. They are sold at £3.50 each or 2 for £6, but I opted for just one, the pork. The buns were steaming away in front of us in their steamers, and the lovely lady serving filled one with a good, chunky piece of pork, cucumber, spring onions, hoi sin sauce, and a squirt of Sriracha (what is a London food event without sriracha these days?). This was definitely my favourite thing consumed of the day – it was substantial enough but not heavy at all, and the meat was perfectly cooked and big enough to remain the main flavour of the dish. I fully plan on tracking them down elsewhere or visiting their recently-opened store on Old Street!

Coconut Water: Cocoface

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Mostly drawn by the novelty of drinking right out of the coconut (a favourite hobby of ours), we opted to share one coconut water between the three of us. The guys at the stall were super friendly and had considerably more skill/better tools than we had had when we made our own coconut drinking vessels: they just punched the top out and we took our straws and were on our way. I’ve never really tried coconut water before and I was very pleasantly surprised. When we were done, we took it back up to the guys and they chopped it in half with their massive axe so we could eat the flesh out of the middle, which was way softer and fleshier than I had anticipated. Yum!

Iced Mango Rum Scoop: The Rum Kitchen

After an hour or so’s sunbathing on the “lawn” we were more than ready for a little bit of shade and something to cool us down. I went for this offering from the Rum Kitchen. It was a little pot of what I think was quite literally iced mango, so it had a crunchier texture than sorbet or something similar, and I think I detected a little splash of rum over the top (although I could have been imagining this – definitely should have asked!). There was also mint sprinkled over and amongst the mango, which was a nice touch that lifted the flavour just enough.

Lamb Salad: Monikers

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As well as trying out dishes and restaurants I’ve been lusting after for ages, I wanted to use Feast as an excuse to try out new places and for my final stop (after anguishing between them, Breddo’s Tacos, and Mishkins), I went for Monikers, which I’d actually not heard of before. They had 4 dishes on offer at their stand: spiced lamb & salad, saddleback pork & coronation salad, spelt arancini, and a black pudding and apple sauce scotch egg, which we had seen them making earlier in the day. I was far too chicken to try the scotch egg, and as I had already had pork earlier in the day, I went for the lamb salad. This proved a bit of an error because it came with a yoghurt-y dressing which I didn’t particularly enjoy – too much of it for my taste – but the lamb itself was delicious, perfectly pink & just how I like it! Maybe it was because it was so hot, but the salad itself also hit the spot perfectly: everything was very, very fresh, and there were chunks of celery and carrot and even peas in there which was all nicely refreshing and exactly what I was after.

As for my companions Sophie and Nicole: Sophie opted for the swordfish from The Rum Kitchen, which came in a breadcrumb-y coating in buns that were being freshly baked right then and there: the man was literally kneading the dough right in front of us, which was a fab touch. I didn’t sample, but she enjoyed! She also tried the Milk & Berry ice cream from James Lowe, which came topped with ginger-y crumble (think ginger snaps) and freeze dried raspberries – an interesting, unique take on your average ice cream! Nicole had a flatbread from somewhere that I can’t remember (fail!), which I tried and that was very delicious.

There were so many more dishes I would have loved to have tried – Patty and Bun were there and I almost caved to them after I saw a girl next to us devouring one perfectly pink burger, and Spuntino were serving up a PB&J ice cream sandwich that I decided would have been too heavy for Sunday’s particular brand of gorgeous English summertime. I also got to sample a small bit of sausage from Big Apple Hot Dogs and that was fab, so I would have loved one of those (anything called “The Huge Pole” is a yes in my book), and there were some Venezuelan stuffed cornbread things that I had to pass on, on the grounds that they were fairly similar to Yum Bun’s offerings…I could go on and on and I honestly could have spent a small fortune on Sunday.

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Overall, FEAST was really really well organised: the fact that it was split into two “sessions” meant that it wasn’t overcrowded at all and although it was busy, there was plenty of space to sit. There was also a perfect range of cuisines available: I appreciated how they only had one burger company, one hot dog, and so on (although how they ever selected which ones to showcase is beyond me). It was also a great chance to check out new places, even those that I didn’t get to try. My “to eat” list has pretty much doubled in size, and I can only congratulate the guys at FEAST and all its participating vendors on a fabulous event that really showed off the best of London’s foodie scene!

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