Sniffing out London’s Street Food, Pop-ups and Independents…
Street Feast @ Hawker House
260-264 Kingsland Road
The smiling doorman was politeness personified but it was still a little jarring to hear “Just a sec, fella. It’s one in/one out at the moment…” as we arrived at our dining destination. There are, of course, two ways to greet a statement like this. With abject horror at the potential crush that awaits inside or with glee that the atmosphere will be jumping and that a good time is being had by all. As it turned out, once inside, the scene was less like a standard class carriage on the 7.29 from Brighton to London Victoria and more like a house party thrown by the most popular kid in your year at Uni where pretty much everyone who said they’d come actually turned up. Three floors of mid-twenty-somethings eating, drinking and bobbing their heads to obscure loungecore. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. The Dog was the former…
Side by side on the first floor were Smokestak and Yum Bun. You bellow your order over the counter, cough up six or seven quid for each item chosen and wait for your name to be called. Not for the precious or prissy, the service is manic but smiley and the food arrives in a matter of minutes. Smokestak’s pulled pork sandwich with vinegar slaw was a hot, tangy mess (a good thing) and next door, Yum Bun’s roast duck with spring onions and spiced plum sauce was wrapped in a bun that was so light it might have been made with fairy dust as opposed to flour. Pure, clear flavours everywhere, nothing sat waiting to be eaten, nothing loitering under a heat lamp for half an hour developing a skin. Just quick, BAM!!, in-your-face amazing.
More one in/one out action on the second floor, we were moved along by another smiling doorman and ended up on the third where Breddo’s Tacos were touting for business. Washed down with a couple of cans of Beavertown Gamma Ray pale ale (pure nectar, get into it!) we ordered the carne asada steak taco with lime and chilli and a beer battered Baja fish taco with lemon mayo and jalapeños. When you’re eating on the move, maneuvering a soft taco with one hand and clutching a beer can with the other, then the last thing you need is chewy meat, the sort that requires wrestling into submission. This ain’t Glasto and one doesn’t want chilli mayo on one’s Grensons, bruv. Fortunately, Breddo’s have taken it upon themselves to source top notch ingredients so the steak was tender and pink and the fish crisp, flaky and deliciously oily all at once. Perfect finger food with no need to look like a rabid dog fighting over a pork chop. Thank goodness.
Imagine feeling a little too grown up for clubbing but not quite ready (or flush enough) to settle into eighty quid a head dinners with the in-laws. You want the buzz of a night out but you don’t want to spend a quarter of your disposable income on pommes dauphinoise and Sauv Blanc. Hawker House, Fridays and Saturdays until April 4th, is the one.