Real Street food Festivals are new this year and will see several of London’s most popular street food stalls descend on the South Bank. The events will take place on four weekends between now and October and are free to enter.
The first is held over Easter, so we headed down there on Good Friday to see what all the fuss was about. We’d expected to be greeted by crowds of eager street-foodies and long queues, but when we arrived at 4:30pm, there was barely a queue in sight.
The line-up was really strong and we were encouraged to see that lots of our street food favourites would be in attendance. This time though, we were keen to try something new.
What we ate
The Bell & Brisket – @brisketbel
My go-to place for salt beef bagels has always been the renowned Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. Recently though, The Bell & Brisket have started to build up quite a reputation for themselves and I was eager to give them a try.
We thought we’d keep it simple and ordered an Old Timer bagel with cheese (also comes on rye). The beef was soft and flavoursome, the mustard came through, but wasn’t overpowering and the pickle added a welcome tang and crunch. I’d say that constitutes a great start to the afternoon’s eating.
Bunta – @BuntaLDN
I’d first noticed Bunta at Feast a few weeks before and was sorely tempted to give them a try then. They offer something different to the other vendors and their take on Viet BBQ was fresh, spicy and tasty. We ordered spicy pork Banh Bao (steamed bun) and it’s definitely something I’d try again.
Dosa Deli – @DosaDeli
Dosas are something that I remember fondly from my time travelling in India a few years ago. My favourites often contained spiced potatoes, but this was a Goan paneer dosa, which I’d not previously tried.
As well as the paneer (cheese) it also contained crispy onions, pickled onions, peppers and Goan massala. It’s totally meat and gluten free so it’s a genuinely healthy alternative.
Jamon Jamon – @jamonjamon
Jamon Jamon had two types of paella on offer – Valenciana which contains chicken and runner beans, as well as the better known seafood variety. We went for the Valenciana and were impressed with the value. For just £6 we got a giant portion including two pieces of chicken and lots of rice. It was packed with flavour too and was the perfect thing to warm us up on a chilly London afternoon.
Bleecker St. Burger – @bleeckerburger
Okay… I know I said that we were trying new things, but our day wouldn’t have been complete without a burger and a portion of angry fries. This was our second Bleecker burger and it was equally as tasty as the first. The patties aren’t the biggest though, so go for a double if you’re hungry.
Once again, the angry fries were a great accompaniment. I’m not sure how, but even with the blue cheese and chilli sauce poured over, they manage to retain their crispiness.
What we’ve enjoyed before
Pizza Pilgrims – @pizzapilgrims
We tried their excellent Nduja pizza at Feast and are looking forward to their permanent home opening later this year. Their pizzas are amongst the tastiest I’ve had and they are cooked in a mini-van!!
Big Apple Hot-Dogs – @BigAppleHotDogs
Big Apple’s hot-dogs are handmade and contain 94-98% meat. In their own words, “you’ll get none of the nasty bits you’ll find in other sausages.” My favourite is called the Big Dog, if you haven’t tried one I suggest you do so… soon!
What we saved for next time
Bhangra Burger – @BhangraBurger
They serve Indian spiced burger wraps and were one of the busier stalls on the day. The spiced meat looked so tempting when I saw it sizzling on the grill, I’m definitely going to try one next time I see them.
Horn OK Please – @Horn_Please
Horn Ok Please have a stall that’s rather tucked away, but I urge you to seek them out. Unfortunately we only found them when we were already full, otherwise we’d have sampled a samosa chaat, but there’s always another day!
Speck Mobile – @Speckmobile
Speck Mobile bring taste of the Tirol to London. The were serving pork schnitzel, speck dumplings with sauerkraut and apple strudel. What’s not to like?
All in all, the Real Street Food Festival is an excellent event. It’s more family orientated than most of the street food events I’ve been to recently, so it’s more of a level playing field and the big name vendors don’t automatically attract the longest queues.
It’s open from 12-9 on Saturday (30th March) and 12-6 on Sunday and Monday. If you can’t make it, fear not… there’s another one in late May.