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Street Food Rules

Hundreds (or was it 1,000s) swamp Dalston pop-up

Written by . Published on December 12th 2011.

Street Food Rules

THE street food revolution arrives in Dalston. The queue for the queues spins back 200 metres or so onto a dark, rainy Kingsland Road beside the burst water main and the (empty) McDonalds. Was this the night that London putative street food revolution finally took to the streets? Once inside, there were more queues for each stall and a bunfight to grab a space under the tent with candles.

Last Friday night the Long Table in Hackney was the hottest table in town. Viral marketing rules. While Scotland and Cumbria were being blown off the map, the gentle Hackney intelligentsia found their way to a tent in a disused building space behind the Arcola Theatre while sub-artic temperatures drizzled on, they waited in line for their warm cider, rotisserie chicken, slow-cooked pork ribs, confit  of salmon, bottles of London Fields ales. It was bizarre, surreal, shambolic, freezing, but something was afoot.

The not-so-secret-venue, a collaboration between Campbell Hay Design, social enterprise charity Bootstrap and local supper-club The Loft Project, was backed by names such as St John, Nuno Mendez, Moro, Hawksmoor. The reality was a bit more of a music festival without music, without mud, without sunshine; an urban picnic in the dark, a rallying of the gastrocenti.

‘Welcome to the House of Umami’, declared the blackboard at the fishcake stall. Or enjoy ‘pillow soft steam buns’ from Yum Bum. Or more like unfreeze your bum. There was curry and cupcakes and half roast chicken for £9.50. Neither restaurant nor soup kitchen, it was an outpouring, literally; ironically just as the wide open spaces of Ridley Road market were being taken down.

Confidential was there. Where were you? It all kicks off again next Friday...


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