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On my Sunday visit to Netil Market, I also had the chance to try the wonderful asparagus and ricotta ravioli, served with a lemon and sage butter sauce from Pasta e Basta.  I sampled their betroot gnocchi however, as I often find with this potato dish, it was a little too sticky for me so I decided to settle for the pasta option. This pasta dish was a rich delight, cooked fresh in front of my eyes- while it’s to be expected that the pasta would be cooked while you wait, to see the sauce being cooked fresh for each customer is a real pleasure, as you see every ingredient and bit of skill that goes in to making the dish.  There’s no doubt this dish is extravagant- I’d hate to count the calories in all the butter I saw go into the sauce and the result is very rich.  Some may even consider it a little much, it’s definitely a dish that is going to appeal more to those who like the creamy, rich side of Italian food, particularly if you like it covered in creamy parmesan cheese, as I do. For my tastebuds though, it was an extravagant treat and was the best Italian dish I’ve tasted in quite some time, better than the vast majority of pricey Italian restaurants. That’s what street food can be all about- yes, it’s great to enjoy the big meaty burgers or in your face flavours but the food being served by Pasta e Basta represents top restaurant quality food being sold for around the £5 mark, for everyone to enjoy.

If you fancy giving it a try, and you should, Pasta e Basta are trading at various places round London including Hackney Homemade and Red Market. One of the interesting points being talked about at the market was the hierarchy that is developing within the London Street Food scene- while Eat St and Street Feast are doing some excellent things, with delicious food on offer, it’s important for everyone to get out and try some of the less hyped small markets and pop-ups, that give new traders the opportunity to get going, as the quality of the food can be as good in a brand new market with 2 or 3 traders as it is in the well-established hotspots. On that note, if anyone knows of any of these smaller markets I should try, please let me know!

You can find Pasta e Basta on Twitter: @PastaeBastaLndn

 

Although I didn’t make it down to Street Feast at Dalston on Friday (thanks Thursday night cocktails into Friday hangover,) the great thing about living in Hackney is that great street food is rarely far away. As a lazy Hackney resident and with such a wealth of choice, I have to admit it’s pretty hard to tear myself away from the borough sometimes but please, drop me some reccomendations of other markets around London I need to visit, as I will break free eventually!

In the meantime however, Hackney is serving me very well and the weekend called for another visit to the new Sunday Netil Market. (http://netilmarket.tumblr.com/) One of the things I love about Street Food market is that the traders chop and change where they sell, so there was a new selection of stalls on offer and loads of tasty things to try.  Unfortunately, given the abysmal weather, the traders weren’t seeing much passing trade so please do get down there and show your support- there’s a great  covered seating area at Netil Market so even when the British ‘Summertime’ is doing it’s worst, there’s no excuse not to get out and enjoy a  delicious unconventional Sunday lunch.

One trader who hadn’t let the weather dampen his spirits was the man behind Bare Grillz, who drew us in both with his friendly chat and an amazing taster. To be honest, it really didn’t take much convincing as the food spoke for itself.  I tried the Lamb Kebab, served with homemade coleslaw, homemade hot sauce and green chilis. The standout part of this dish was undoubtedly the meat, which comes from Godfrey’s, one of London’s best butchers. (http://www.godfreys.co/) However, it wasn’t just the quality of the meat that stood out, as it was marinaded and grilled to perfection, emerging medium rare and succulent. The hot sauce and slaw completed the kebab perfectly. Don’t be fooled by a greasy doner, a high-quality kebab that’s cooked well can be a real culinary treat and this is a perfect example of that so if you ever get the chance, I’d definitely recommend trying a Bear Grillz kebab.

One of the other charms of Netil Market is that they not only offer food to eat there and then but there are great bits to take home too. I couldn’t resist giving the Scotch Eggs from The Egg Boss a go and they were an excellent accompaniment to a rainy afternoon spent watching the tennis. Chef Lawson makes 6 varieties of Scotch Egg, some more traditional than others- we sampled a Pork and Leek variety and a ‘Holy F*ck,’ which is pork spiced with the infamous Ribman’s ‘Holy F*ck’ sauce. I genuinely couldn’t decide which I preferred- the spicy version obviously brought a new flavour into play but the more traditional Scotch Egg was so well executed it’s hard to argue with it. Either way, if you like your Eggs Scotch, you need to hunt down The Egg Boss. (http://eggboss.com/)

 

You can find both @bare_grillz and @egg_boss on Twitter to find out their next stops.

After an achingly long break from street food (family and work…who’d have them…!) I was definitely excited to get back in the game last weekend and what a way to return. I managed to make it down to Street Feast London, on their final weekend at Camden Brewery, tucked away in the railway arches in Kentish Town. (http://www.streetfeastlondon.com/)  As soon as I got off the bus, all we had to do was follow our noses to the market, as there were delicious smells drifting across Camden.

Street Feast have built up quite a strong following over the last couple of months and it wasn’t surprising to find the market full of people. They may have had a few less off the ‘blogger’s favourite’ Eat St traders than some other weeks but this gave a fantastic opportunity for some new faces to get out there and feed the hungry hoardes. And hoardes there were- when we arrived at about half 9, some of the traders had sold out and the atmosphere was buzzing, it really did have a great Friday night feel to it, with everyone checking out all the stalls and having an enthusiastic chat to the traders before making their choices.  In a location like Camden Brewery, it’s not going to be a passing crowd- the people at this market knew exactly what they were after; quality food (and, of course, some quality beer to match.)

After considerable deliberation,  I made the right decision as I got myself over to Bhangra Burger, for one of their  ‘Crazy Lamb Jalfrezi’ flatbreads. (http://bhangraburger.com/) I’m not going to put on any airs and graces; it was incredibly difficult to take a flattering photo of my meal but don’t be fooled, the taste more than made up for the fact it wasn’t as photogenic as I’d like! Bhangra Burger pride themselves on a new take to traditional Indian food and they certainly lived up to my expectations.

The burger element of this was a lamb patty, delicately spiced with Indian jalfrezi flavours. Not so delicate was the fresh chilli pickle that gets added to the wrap- it had a kick that would knock you sideways if you went overboard. Luckily, they know what they’re doing and the final product was perfectly balanced by the mango chutney and yoghurt thats added to complete the Bhangra Burger.  The only criticism I have was that we found there to be slightly too much yoghurt, it came oozing out the sides and made the meal incredibly difficult to eat. To be honest, we were their last customers of the night and I think they were being generous more than anything, so I can’t exactly grumble! Don’t get me wrong though, beyond that, the flavour was delicious and I had a wonderful aftertaste for a long time after finishing- a sign of a great meal, in my opinion!

Of course, I couldn’t keep it to just one trader at such a great market but luckily, I had help on hand, which gave me a chance to sample a The Big Dog, from NY-style hot dog vendor Big Apple.  (http://www.bigapplehotdogs.com/) Personally, I like hot dogs but I can’t say they are something I feel particularly passionate about. That said, this one was certainly above the average, with a really juicy sausage (94-98% meat, I hasten to add) and a superbly soft roll, which I have later learned comes from their local bakers. It’s amazing the difference it makes to a hot dog when the roll lives up to the quality of the sausage. If only all hotdogs could be up to the standard of Big Apple, maybe I’d feel a little bit more interested by them.

 

Street Feast have now finished their run in the Camden Brewery and this week are moving on to the new pastures of fashionable Dalston, where I’m sure they are going to go down a storm, particularly as they are accompanied by beer and cocktails and a slightly later finish. (The market will run 5pm til midnight, every Friday.) Given that I live just down the road, I can’t say I object to the new location and I hope to get down this Friday and fill you in on the new setup- and a few more of the traders, of course! I can only see Street Feast going from strength to strength as more people hear about it and get a chance to see what it’s all about- a good atmosphere, a way to unwind with friends and, most of all, great, affordable street food.

You can find out what’s going on at Street Feast on their Twitter page: @streetfeastldn

You can also follow @bhangraburger and @bigapplehotdogs to find out where you can taste their wares.