Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Let the FEASTivities begin

Situated in the quad of Guy's hospital, Feast capitalised on the growing street food market, to bring together an amalgamation of the best restaurants, pop-ups and street food vendors in London. With the likes of Hawksmoor, Moro, Jose Pizzaro,  Bread Street Kitchen, Barbecoa, Banhmi11 to name just a few(!), we certainly were not going to be left disappointed or hungry

Feast yourself

The location was fantastic and for £6 entry, not bad considering the expense of other such food festivals as Taste of London. Away from the hussle and bussle around the food vendors you could relax on the grass taking in the atmosphere while a live band played. After a while deliberating our strategy of what to eat first I decided to get stuck into a starter of Tarmind chicken wings from Bread Street Kitchen

Bread Street Kitchen @BreadStKitchen

Tamarind chicken wings
Wow, really bold flavours in this, a really messy and enjoyable first meal of the day. The wings had a real crunch to them after being marinaded for 24 hours in spicy flour before deep fried. I thought the taramind might be too overpowering but the sauce was fantastic and truly made for finger licking greatness! What's great about this event is the interaction you can have with the vendors, and it was nice to chat with some of the chefs and how they prepared their food. Having a little insight to the preparation that goes into these dishes is what makes street food that little bit special - Owen

Jose Pizzaro @Jose_Pizzaro

Beautiful Jamon Iberico de Bellota
There were four of these hanging which were stripped to the bone - at 7 pm!


Jose Pizarro seems to be the star of informal dining in London at the moment. So it was very fitting that his stand was positioned directly opposite the entrance. The Jose stand representing their ever-popular Tapas bar in Bermondsey had a selection of typical dishes - Gazpacho, Jamon Iberico, Sauteed Prawns with Garlic and Manzanilla Olives. The Gazpacho was sweet and refreshing, without the usual spicy, garlic flavours that you often find. Also I'd never seen it prepared with these big emulsions of olive oil floating on top. The Jamon was also surprisingly quite sweet, without the strong, fetid taste normally associated with that type of ham. The curing was also quite strong, as I'm used to jamon iberico being more tender. The prawns were more successful, with the shell left on for the full messy-fingers experience my primal urges were satiated (at least until I saw the Hawksmoor burger). -Shahz

Last Days of Pisco 


The omnipresent ceviche seems to be the flavour about London town these days with no fewer than 3 new ceviche restaurants opening this year; Ceviche (our review will be up soon), Lima and now Last Days of Pisco. To be honest, I wasn't a massive fan of the ceviche here purely because I found the chilli really far too overpowering. The key in ceviche is balancing all of the sweetness, acidity and spiciness whilst retaining the identity of the incredibly delicate raw white fish such as sea bass in this case. Certainly when I was in Lima I never found the flavour of the fish to be lost in the dish, whereas in London it seems to be a recurring issue. It's a shame as it's great to see this South American classic finally here in London. It could really be a big hit if done successfully.

 L.A Suena @Taco_

Beef tacos and carnitas tacos
Me and Nathalie shared this one. My beef tacos were nothing to particularly write home about (the spicy sauce was nice though), but Nathalie was absolutely raving about the carnitas (pork) one. Apparently the flavours were spot on, whilst the texture was lean, tender and not too sinewy. It's pretty hard to get taco-praise from her as she is a big fan, so we're going to give this one the thumbs up! - Shahz

Anchor & Hope @AnchorHopeCut

BBQ Mustard Rabbit with Romesco sauce
My favourite of the bunch. The rabbit was perfect. The white flesh was super tender and the skin was smoked just right, without the normal over-charring associated with street food BBQ. The mustard was assuringly subtle, as the pungence would have destroyed the delicate rabbit taste. On top of everything, the romesco sauce had a really fresh taste, with vibrant almond, garlic and pepper flavours. I'll definitely be giving this Southwark gastro-pub a visit soon! -Shahz


I love fattoush. Everything about it. The mixture of flavours (herby, acidic, sweet) and textures makes it one of the ultimate salads in my book. Which is why it's so surprising that it's difficult to find a good one in London (maybe we are getting too meat conscious these days?). Trust Moro to do things right. After winning numerous best restaurant awards and writing a number of hugely successful cookbooks, the Middle Eastern-Spanish fusion restaurant celebrates its' 15th year anniversary this year. Their fattoush was excellent. It had all the fresh flavours of the flatbread, vegetables and herbs but crucially got the balance of sweetness and acidity just right which is so difficult to achieve (I always find the Yalla Yalla fattoush too far towards the acidic side, as good as it is). They certainly have good reason to celebrate! - Shahz


Reasonable prices considering the quality
Hummus with lamb, mint and pomegranates
Next up was Morito, Moro's sister restaurant, with a fair few choices of their tapas. but their spiced lamb with hummus and chill butter, pine nuts and pomegranate really stood out. I got a sizable portion, the blend of contrasting textures and the final 'pop' in the mouth you get from the pomegranate seeds was great. Didn't really have that much kick from the chili though. This would be a fantastic combination in some flat bread or pitta bread. I've been planning to check out Morito in Exmouth Market for a while now, I definitely need to after this appetiser - Owen

Beetroot borani, tortilla, goat's curd & lemon zest, patatas alinadas

Me and Nathalie went for a tapas platter to share here, with a number of different middle eastern-Spanish fusion dishes. The beetroot borani (a type of yoghurt sauce common in Afghanistan and the middle east) was our favourite. The sweetness of the borani, saltiness of the feta, bitterness of the dill and acidity of the yoghurt combined to create a glorious celebration of arabic flavours. The patatas alinadas was also excellent - the shallots and bonito made for an interesting Mediterranean take on the potato salad. The goat curd, mustard seed and honey was a nice refreshing side on the plate (Nathalie was not so much of a fan). The tortilla was probably the most ordinary dish on the plate as it was quite a standard tortilla (maybe a bit biased towards the egg flavour rather than the potato). It was also a little soggy as opposed to crispy. All in all though, it was a fantastic platter from the sister restaurant of Moro. - Shahz

Yum bun @Yum_Bun

Pork Belly with hoisin sauce, and portbello mushroom wrapped in little clouds
Yum bun pretty much encapsulates our modus operandi of ''meat in a bun.'' It's one of our favourite food trucks from the Eat St, and it was up to its usual high standard at Feast. The highlight for me was the portobello mushroom bun, which included walnuts and a miso glaze. The combination of walnut and white miso has already been made famous by the extraordinary walnut and miso udon dish at Koya, but this is also a brilliant example of how the two can be brought together. All this is finished off with the aforementioned soft, wholemeal buns. The pork belly with hoisin was also really good (maybe a little more authentically south east asian), but I felt the mushroom bun was more special. Healthy, tasty and cheap, Yum Bun is always a winner for us.

Hawksmoor @HawksmoorLondon

Hawksmoor went for a humble display in contrast to their restaurants

Hawksmoor's flaming BBQ 
My first kimchi burger

For one of the best steaks in London, go visit Hawksmoor. I've been twice now for steak (a massive 800g porterhouse) and for the rump roast. Despite their burgers reputation I've always thought it bit of a waste to go to such a place and 'only' get a burger. I've got their cookbook, and love their use of bone marrow in the patty, a 80:20 steak to BM, seems to be the magic numbers, gives it adds to that guilty pleasure goodness when you sink your teeth into that burger. The brioche bun is incredibly sweet no doubt to the amount of custard powder they use in their recipe, I'm not normally a fan of brioche buns but the depth of the flavours from everything else in the burger balanced it out well. The addition of kimchi, a spicy feremented cabbage mix, gives the burger that little 'je ne sais quoi' that separates it from the rest of the crowd. I always go for my burgers medium rare, on this occasion, maybe due to not being in a kitchen where everything is a bit easier to manage than in a car park, but it was medium- well --> well done. Despite this the quality of the meat they have still shines through massively. After this, I couldn't manage a much touted Patty & Bun burger. I'll have to catch them sometime to catch this, the smell from their stall was salivating - Owen

When Hawksmoor do macaroons - Raspberry & vanilla the clear favourite 

                                         The Shard                                     Dragon roll from Soya

Mojito ice lolly
Drunken lollies anyone?

Chilling out in the quad
After such a feeding over about 2 hours, we dashed off to catch the olympics at Tower Bridge to see Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford win gold medals, capping off an unforgettable evening. It was good value, and a great reflection of what makes dining out in London so special. We definitely recommend to go next time it's on. 

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