London

Kerb at Kings Cross – ‘Spit and Roast’ Food Truck

Kerb at Kings Cross signSpit and Roast Van at Kerb Kings cross

Kerb at King’s Cross is a Street Food Market of mobile traders. It is located at the top of King’s Boulevard, N1C a couple of minutes walk from the King’ Cross Train station entrance. I had read about it prior to heading into London via St Pancreas (which is just over the road from Kings Cross) but I did not think I would be able to visit as it is open only between 11am and 2.30pm Tues to Friday and we were just going to be there for the weekend. Having said that our train was arriving just after 12pm so that was a chance if we planned well.

Even in the rain there can be no better sight that that sign for some food truck action, especially if you have just stepped off a 2 hour train journey. I suppose it might have been more sensible to have gone to the hotel to drop our bags off, but I knew that Kerb would only be there for another couple of hours and since the rain was really pouring I was worried that there would be no-one hanging around there for much longer if no food punters turned up.

Spit and Roast Menu optionsSlow Roast Pork Cob at Kerb

The day that we were there the truck that caught our eye amongst the rain drops was that of Spit and Roast

Their online menu lists the following possibilities;

“Spit roast Suffolk free range chicken, garlic & herb potatoes, gravy”
“Roast pork loin & stuffing bap”
“Buttermilk fried chicken, cornbread muffin, chicken gravy”
“Buttermilk fried chicken bap, apple & celeriac slaw, hot sauce”

The one that we got however was the one on the chalkboard that day which was the “Slow Roast Pork Belly Bap”. It was a very welcome introduction to the start of our London Food Hunting trip. Knowing full well that we could not afford to overdo it on the food consumption front we just had one to share. It really hit the spot, If anything the pouring rain made it even better as it was quite warming to the heart of my stomach. There was plenty of juicy pork meat, and a nice bit of gravy juice adding moistness to the bun. If I had any criticism it would be that the bun was too soft for the sandwich and once filled with juice it fell apart in my hands. I didn’t really care though as it was the meat that I was interested in and I would have been quite happy with just a tray of slow roast pork belly.

I am a little envious of all those of you who can lunch at Kerb more regularly. There are plenty of those trucks that I would like to eat from especially “Tongue ‘n’ Cheek” for their offal inspired burgers, “The Bowler” for their meatballs, I have the book and have tried many of the recipes, but I would like to try the ones they have made to see how much better they are. I also feel the extreme need to have one of Mother Flippers’ ‘Double Candy Bacon Flipper’ – a double stack with maple fried bacon and american cheese! OK I have to stop looking at the Kerbster’s Bios on the Kerb site now before I faint with food envy of the Capital Dwellers.

If you step off the train at Kings Cross or St Pancreas or are just in the area at lunchtime then Kerb could be the place to be

To find, locate and eat from the Spit and Roast Food Truck I suggest following them on Twitter

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Anna Mae’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese at the Southbank

Ana Mae's Mac and CheeseAna Mae's Board

I developed a real love for Mac N Cheese while I was living over in the States. Not quite an obsessive love, but the sort that prevents the ability to walk past a stall selling the stuff when I have reached that point where I am way past full already. Obsession or Gluttony? Probably both but I refuse counseling!

Anna Maes Mac and Cheese

In amongst a whole strip of street food purveyors on the Southbank of the Thames I stumbled across Anna Mae selling her Mac N Cheese. The food is described as “Southern-style Mac N Cheese”. There were plenty of good options on the board but I went simple to test out the base product and ordered a bowl of “The Annie Mac” which is described as ‘our classic – elbow macaroni in a three cheese sauce’. To be honest I only wanted a small bowl, but they only had one size which was a big pot for £5.

Annie Mae's Stall

It was a good creamy bowlful, the elbow macaroni (almost too soft) was mixed with three cheeses; Sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella. The cheese flavor was well developed with a creaminess on the first mouthful then a good sharp tang as you dug deeper into the pot. You know really we were so full I had only really bought this expecting to eat about a third but it was so good that we almost managed to get to the bottom of the pot. It was a good honest Mac N Cheese rendition pretty close to the stuff I got in the States and judging by the state of that pot when I walked back past the stall later it seemed that the masses on the Southbank agreed with me.

I was lucky enough to chance upon Anna Mae on the Southbank, but you can follow her on Twitter and Check them on Facebook to locate them on a particular day

The Menu

Anna Maes Chalkboard Menu

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Real Food Market at the Southbank

Real food Market at teh Southbank

The Real Food Market is held every week on Friday to Sunday from January to December on the Southbank Centre Square, behind the Royal Festival Hall. I was down here for the bank holiday weekend and had heard about the market via Twitter but had not realized until I got back and read their website that it was such a regular event. There were not as many vendors as I was expecting but it was still crowded and there was plenty of things to buy and eat. There was too much to be honest, and it will be a struggle to condense this post down without writing all night.

12.15am

Free RangeHog Roast Sign Hog Roast at the Southbank

The first stall that caught my eye was the Hog Roast or was actually it caught my nose as I tracked it out following that roasting pig aroma through hungry hoards and milling throng. It was just too hard to resist buying one of their hog roast sandwiches, even harder when they were handing out little samples of delicious juicy pork as you passed by. Later on in the day I turned around and thought that I had lost my companion in the crowd. What had actually happened was that we were passing their stall again and she had popped in for another sample.

Half a Hog Roast at the Southbank

As I knew that there would be many more mouthfuls of food to be eaten on this day we just bought one sandwich and got them to cut it in half so we could share. I don’t know why they are always surprised when you ask them to do this, do they not realize we are going to eat more than one thing? To be honest and I will not be the first to say this I am sure, “Why don’t they serve tasting portions?” I would be more likely to visit 6 stalls and have 6 small plates as opposed to just eating 1 big plateful. Anyway about this sandwich, yes it is as good as it looks, sadly there is no aroma function on the computer just yet, but believe me it was damn good. The sandwich was filled with plenty of soft juicy, tender meat,and a little bit of green stuff to add some crunch, and the bread was fresh and soft (bonus). A pretty good start to the market munch session.

12.30pm

Borough Market Cheese Company sign Borough market Cheese Borough Market Cheese

The next stop was at the Borough Cheese Company stand. We had already sampled some of their excellent cheeses without buying any the Borough market earlier,  so we took our chance to make up for that lost opportunity and made a small purchase. There were two cheeses on offer a 24 months old and a 17 month old Comtè. This cheese is made in Eastern France “in the cooperative dairies, named “fruitières,” of the Jura Mountains and aged in the renowned caves of Marcel Petite Fort St. Antoine. Comtè is a hard, pressed, cooked, cow’s milk cheese made using raw cow’s milk made from the Montbéliarde breed. It has similarities to Gruyere, with very deep, complex, long lasting flavor; always creamy, buttery, with notes of hazelnut”. We tried both the 24 month and 17 month and ended up with a small(ish) slice of the 17 month which was a bit firmer and a little less powerfully flavoured.

As well as finding them at the Real Food market, you can locate them at the Borough Market (Thursday 11-5pm, Friday 12-6pm, Saturday 8-5pm) at Venn Street Market in Clapham (Sat 10am -4pm),  and Partridges Food Market in Chelsea (Saturday 10-5pm). You can also get the cheeses at Neil’s Yard Dairy (Borough Market and Covent garden)

12.40pm

Flour Station Bread Stall at Real Food Market Potato Bread from Flour Station

Now we needed some nice bread to eat that cheese with and quite handily The Flour Station had a stall within staggering distance. The Flour Station story started in 2002 in the kitchen of the award-winning Fifteen restaurant in London. Then in 2004 they launched The Flour Station at Borough Market. You can read all about their story and where they sell their breads on their website and follow the ongoing story on  twitter and facebook. We bought one of their Tortano crowns which is made ‘with potato flour made from freshly baked ground potatoes and honey’. It went well with that cheese we bought, but it has quite a chewy crust and gets a bot hard quite quickly so be warned if you have weak teeth.

12.55pm

Arancini  Brothers Risotto Balls Aramcini Brothers Menu Board Arancini Brothers Snack box offer

Ok so after a little moment of food retail it was time to hunt out another snack. Arancini Brothers had a stall cooking and selling their ‘hand rolled risotto balls’. These are also gluten-free and vegetarian, but I will try not to let that influence my enjoyment of them.

Arancini Brothers Risotto Balls Arancini Brothers Sauce Arancini Brothers Snack box

I had not had a risotto ball before so was intrigued to try and not only that they were selling a small portion in a schnack box  for just 3. The only minor problem was that you just got 5 balls so not ideal for sharing, you could buy another ball for 50p more (we just cut the fifth in half). There was an option to have them with some of their tomato sauce or ‘naked’. I got ours ‘naked’ with garlic mayo. They were quite interesting, sort of like a little ball of Italian stuffing made with risotto rice. Not sure if I would rush to try them again, as there is so much else on offer, but I am glad I did try them out. Other traders should note that we tried them as they had a ‘small taste sized portion’!

1.15pm

Artisan Ice Kitchen  Artisan Ice Lolly Options

Would I have been so keen to have an ice lolly if I had not seen the Ice Kitchen people on the One Show on BBC1? Probably not. The young man on this cart was not exactly forcing them down our throats, but the telly appearance had clearly been good free advertising as most of the people standing in our queue were commenting that they were just trying them out because they had seen them on TV.

Orange and Mango Ice Lolly

I had one of their Orange and Lemon flavoured lollies for 2.50. It was surprisingly good, really sharp citrus flavours that were both refreshing and mouth watering at the same time. It was very full of Orange juiciness and had a sharp lemon tang as well. It was a pretty solid lolly and it managed not to melt before I ate it, or was it the case that I just did not give it a chance to melt? I am not saying which one it was. They had quite a lot of other equally tempting options available on the day and even more listed on their website. They have some new combinations coming soon as well. I would be interested to know what will be in ‘The London Lolly’ and the ‘New York Black and White’. Perhaps they will be available next time I visit the market. If you are interested to find out more then you may Follow the Ice Kitchen on Twitter and visit them on Facebook

1.40pm

Beer at the Soutbank

There were way too many stalls at the Real Food Market to sample something from all of them. So I think I will just have to take a pause with a non-artisan plastic pint of beer at the Southbank while you take a look at some of the other places in the gallery below.

Gallery of Misses Food Opportunities

Hazeldene Farm Chalkboard Hazeldene Sausage Rolls Hazeldene Farm at the Southbank Real Food Market

Hazeldene Farm – Those sausage rolls were looking good, but they had sold out of the Scotch Eggs which I really wanted

“Rare Breeds Farm. Farm Shop selling home reared beef, lamb and free range pork and eggs, organic veg, tea rooms with homemade cakes open weekends” Follow on Twitter

Woodwards Farm Chalkboard Woodward Farm Burgers at RealFood Market

Woodwards Farm – Almost tempted to try one of their burgers but I was too full. Locate their market visits here

Karantania Deli at Southbank Karantania Deli at Soutbank Real Food Market

Karantania Delicatessen – I was quite intrigued by these ‘pasta muffins’ – not enough to try one though

Hansen and Lyderson Sign Hansen and Lyderson Samples at Southbank

Hansen and Lydersen – I love a bit of smoked salmon

Tarts at Popina Popina Signage

Popina – These tomato covered tarts looked really delicious

Grilled Iberico Chalkboard Chorizo at Grilled Iberico

Grilled Iberico – If I had not already bought several links of Chorizo at the Borough Market I would have had some of these

Horn OK Indian Food Menu Horn OK Indian Street Food

Horn OK Please – This stall smelt great but it was too sunny for a curry today

____________

There were lots more vendors at the Real Food Market. They have a good list of who is often there on their website.

The Real Food Market runs every weekend, throughout the year from Friday-Sunday on Southbank Centre Square.

Friday 12.00 – 20.00
Saturday 11.00 – 20.00
Sunday 12.00 – 18.00
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Jamie Oliver’s Diner Pop-up in London

Jamies Diner

Jamie Oliver’s Diner is on the corner at 23a Shaftsbury Avenue. Before we get going with this post lets be honest we are not supposed to take this as a serious fine dining experience it is just supposed to be a bit of fun. Since visiting I have seen a few somewhat cynical or perhaps not so heartfelt blog posts and reviews about this place declaring it to be some sort of sell out, or Jamie jumping on some imaginary diner band wagon. Perhaps he is, but I treat these sorts of places as Disney-style food emporiums. I get a bit tired reading all the vitriol aimed at any celebrity opening these sorts of places. I saw the same thing when Guy Fieri opened up his ‘American Kitchen and Bar’ in Times Square, I went there because I enjoy his TV shows, in fact I am watching him on ‘Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives’ as I type this. We all secretly know at the start that it may be all slightly tongue in cheek and perhaps slightly overpriced, we know he is probably not going to be in the kitchen, and that this is really a bit of a cash cow, but honestly, I don’t care I am standing in the queue with my fistful of dollars all ready and no-one else in that queue cared either I didn’t see anyone waiting to eat ironically or just so that they could ‘not’ enjoy themselves. Jamie does plenty of good work elsewhere so lets just let him have this one and enjoy it for what it is. If you don’t like him or have a problem with him making some money on the back of his fame then you are in the wrong place then you probably need to go somewhere else.

Burger Menu options

The menu had one or two items that really were not dineresque at all, untraditional would be the best description, but I chose to ignore that for the moment as I had already decided that I was having some sort of Burger. Well to be honest when I am testing out the burger cooking skills of the chef, or rather when I am choosing the burger toppings that I really like then I am increasingly a man of habit. Today as with many days in personal burger history I was having a Beef Burger topped with the smoked streaky bacon, Westcombe cheddar, and a fried egg.

Burger info Jamie's DinerDSC07669

The sunny side up fried egg topping my slightly pink beef burger was dominating the view of my burger sandwich stack. This was a good start as the egg was looking good. The cheese was quite a nice cheddar and the bacon had some decent flavour even though it had been crispy once, mine seemed to have become a little soggy. Hopefully it had not been sitting around too long. When it comes to burgers in a diner everything should be scratched cooked. The meat patty was decent, it was still juicy with a good charred taste. Not fantastic by any means but a pretty good effort.

Burger at Jamies Diner Another Jamie Burger

Taking the burger as a whole, it would not jump into my top ten all time burgers, but it might get an honorable mention in the Celebrity Burger league. You could do a lot worse, but at the price you might want to consider your options. I did not mind paying £8.50 for the burger, but adding another £1 for each of the three toppings and another £3 for fries was pushing it a little bit.

I know that Shake Shack and Five Guys are moving into the London Burger scene and some comparisons are already being made suggesting that you might be better off eating at one of those places rather than at Jamie’s. If I was you I would wait and see if either of those two places manage to make the transatlantic leap successfully before jumping to such bold statements. I have eaten at both on a semi regular basis when I was living in the states so I am also awaiting with interest.

Jamie Oliver Diner SignJamie Oliver Pop Up signPlastic Dinosaur jamie olivers diner

Jamie Oliver’s Diner is supposed to be a Pop-up restaurant but I understand that it is supposed to be there for the next two years so quite a long pop. Although it was a bit pricy, I suppose it is in Central London and you kind of expect that. I didn’t mention that they are a lot of plastic dinosaurs in the place, I really don’t know why I can only suppose it is a bad Diner Dino type of pun connection.

The other thing missing from a decent diner experience was a side or bowl of Macaroni Cheese. I did mention it to the staff so hope that they add that to the menu in future.

Jamie Oliver's Diner on Urbanspoon

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Italian Nose to Tail Eating with Adalberto Battaglia at Brick Lane Market

The Italian Gnocci Specialist stallAdalberto Battaglia at Brick Lane

In the Old Truman Brewery building, on Brick Lane in Shoreditch, Adalberto Battaglia was serving up Italian Nose to Tail Eating at his Quinto / Quarto food stall stand. He is here every Saturday & Sunday from 11am till 4pm.

Gnocci with OxtailGnocci wth Pork Cheeks

Here at his Quinto Quarto stall, Adalberto Battaglia is essentially indulging us all with a masterclass 101 in eating nose to tail. If you are a little unsure of trying some of those less popular parts of the animal, then these dishes are the perfect way for you to try them out. Trust me you get all of the wonderful flavours in the dish without seeing the ‘bits’ in their original form. It is not that long ago that people were umming and erring about eating some of the more unusual meats, then some bright sparks thought about putting them into sausages and burgers, and now more people are buying venison, ostrich, buffalo, bison, kangaroo etc. The same is true almost of offal as people are being more adventurous largely due to its demystification and more common use by many of our celebrated chefs and consumption by the foodie community. Yes I know that my gran and grandad were eating it before it became back in vogue, but that was mostly because they had to.

Gnocci with pork cheekGnocci wth Pork CheeksGnocci with Oxtail

The menu offerings at Quinto Quarto are

Gnocchi w/ pork cheeks Pizzaiola (garlic, capers, olives, oregano & tomato sauce)

Gnocchi w/ Roman style ox-tail ragu and cocoa powder

Gnocchi w/ slowly braised veal cheeks and Marsala wine sauce

Gnocchi w/ pancetta, pig’s ears and beetroots

Small £5.00  Large £6.00

 

There was also a vegetarian option as well, you can check out the full range on the website.

Gnocci with Oxtail

I wanted to try everything but ended up going somewhere in the middle of the nose to tail options after toying with having pork cheeks or the veal cheeks I ended up getting the Gnocci with Oxtail which was the “Gnocchi w/ Roman style ox-tail ragu and cocoa powder”.

To be honest every pot that was on the stall looked very tempting, but I was drawn towards the Oxtail on this occasion. We got a small bowlful for £3.75, only because this was going to be a long day eating through the various markets and so we were being sensible.

The Oxtail meat was shredded in amongst the rich meaty sauce and there was a lot of gnocci in there as well, all topped with a sprinkling of cocoa powder and some grated cheese. I found this to be a good hearty dish but it was not too filling. The cocoa powder was an interesting addition, I found it better to mix mine in alongside the cheese into the bowlful to spread and tame the slightly bitter flavor amongst the rest of the dish. I really enjoyed eating my bowl of gnocci with oxtail out in the Boiler House courtyard in the sunshine. There were plenty of people who admired the bowl and asked which stall it came from. I hope that they went inside and found Adalberto.

On his website Adalberto describes the preparation of this signature dishes a ragu with ox-tail, informing us that “I always follow the orthodox preparation of its classic roman recipe “La Coda alla Vaccinara” (translated in English as Ox-tail Roman Style)“. It makes good reading and he gives details of the recipe there as well. Not only that he does offer cooking classes if you want to delve further into this style of cooking.

DSC07741Quinto / Quarto sign

As I was taking picture of the stall and all the food Adalberto encouraged me to tweet it out, I was then sitting looking through the website to follow him on Twitter then funnily enough found that we were both already following each other. It’s a small world sometimes. I prefer eating from and meeting with my fellow foodie twitter companions rather than just clicking on that follow button 🙂

Adalberto Battaglia and his Quinto Quarto street food stall is located at 152 Brick Lane (at the corner with Buxton Street) in the Old Truman Brewery’s Boiler House, Brick Lane Market, use the Shoreditch High Street Tube Station. Pay him a visit and try this great food Just to help track him down, you can follow him on Twitter also

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