It all started with a Tweet, once again. Retweeted the hashtag #fifteenstreet and the rest is history: we all saved the date for the event.
The official description: massive weekend long, street food party. Hosted by Jamie Oliver's Fifteen as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, featuring the 2012 British Street Food Awards, Ginstock and Rumstock.
3:00 pm and we were all stamped up and ready to go.
Without forgetting our free beer courtesy of the secret password from Tweat Up unveiled a couple of hours before.
All kitted up, and hour friend K, advises us of the queues for the food.
I looked to the right, and read FAT written in very big brush strokes of black paint, and I though: Wait a minute, is Jamie Oliver encouraging us to be overweight? Is he insulting us?
Turns out there was a person covering the lower part of the E at all times, so really the painting said:
First trader that I can identify, right at the entrance is the now well famous Sorbitium. I discovered them in one of those evenings at Street Feast in Dalston (now moving to Hackney Downs studios).
K greeted us with a big hug (we hadn't seen her in a really long time) and assertiveness towards the stall to queue at.
She wanted fish, so we queues at The Fish Hut (from Suffolk). As she made us aware in advance, the queue was considerably long. Taking on account that, although this was street food but not fast food, each portion was carefully made freshly on the spot, the waiting time was not very agile.
Nevertheless, the day was absolutely gorgeous and we had free beer, so we queue, because that's what we do in London. We queue.
Needless to say, the street in which this food fest was taking place was also gorgeous. Right in the middle of Old Street, between converted industrial warehouses.
Booze was 'reasonably' priced: beer for £3.50 and festival sized cocktails for £10, that considering a normal cocktail in a club is £7, value for money is not bad.
15:45, right at the beginning of the queue and hungry, in spite of the massive english breakfast that we had in the morning, news of the first casualty of the afternoon: No more fish, sorry.
Erm... what? It is just 15:45. There was still crab balls (sounds bad said like that) and the third item that I cannot remember, but the lost felt a bit bitter, so we moved on to search for more options.
Walking down the wide alleyway that is Westland Place, we devised the Ginstock / Rumstock area, that was undoubtedly crowded, and the queues probably even bigger. As we were not there to trial Gins or Rums, we kept of sights in search for the perfect meal.
Luardos, Mexican street food was there, a
And Yum Bun
So we headed back to the main road, a bit worried of what we could find without waiting for hours. So Mussel Man was right in front of the exit of the Ginstock, and remembered how I read about their pop-up event of Mussels and Prosseco in Dalston, so could be the perfect choice (and the queue was small).
Perfect, this can't go wrong.
Oysters were on the menu, but we thought the winning option was the pot of mussels and chips for a fiver. Cannot fail.
Our watery mouths turned dry by the time we got to order: 16:10 and another bomb dropped: Sorry, no more chips.
- What? I can still see chips frying there? - we said.
- Er, these are for these other orders - said pointing at 4 or 5 other tickets.
We sighed - Alright, we'll have just moules.
By the time our order was prepared, there were stills frites on the fryer. We demanded some, obvs.
It was getting more and more crowded.
Samples of the Gin / Rum stock.
Posh loos but just around 8 for the, let's say, 1000 persons in there... Not enough. Imagine the queues.
Too drunk? .... nah, just the camera.
Little patch with grass, straw and matts to hang out.
Half of the group left the green patch to queue another our for a Baja Fish Taco, made of friend fish, chipotle sour cream, cabbage shreds, lime, coriander and beans. According to them it was totally worth the wait.
We finally all gathered with full tummies by 17:30, it was time for ice cream for Ginger's Comfort Emporium.
And of course, there was a queue, and one of their guys was signalling the end of it, as they were about to close (17:30!!). Fortunately the guy was hilarious, and convinced him of us being the last on the queue, while trying to get from him the hint for the best ice cream of the menu.
Salted Caramel & Peanut Butter.
Lulabelle's High Tea there
17:53 and almost everything had run out of food.
Overall, lovely place, lovely stalls, lovely traders and lovely food, but too many people and food running out too soon.
Was the 4 pounds worth it? I would say that the Tweat up's secret password beer paid for the entrance and the food was probably reduced an average of 1 pound all the different food options in price. We want to think that the those 4 pounds charged were there to pay for the organisation and the traders did not pay to get there, but it could have perfectly been for free (with limited wristband availability).
Street Feast works smoothly every Friday...
Anyway, sunny feast-y London, don't go. We still have many stories left.