Greenwich doesn’t get enough attention. Well, for the right reasons at least. The whole ‘Nelson-Queen’sHouse-Observatory-CentreoftheWorld’ thing can get a bit tired for a Greenwich resident like the Hoodooist.
The GFF (not to be confused with Greenwich Market, though they share the same venue) was set up to raise money for the Greenwich Foodbank is exactly what we needed to get Greenwich to recognize it is more than cosy village and tourist trap. The Festival was spearheaded by students of the University of Greenwich and contacted food vans and stalls across London to sign up for the event.
Considering we’re looking at roughly 40 stalls, the Hoodooist will narrow it down to what he thought could rank as the top 5 in separate categories:
For lunch spots, I was a bit disappointed at how many wanted to put food in a toasted brioche bun. The burger fad is losing momentum, but it didn’t take away from the fantastic work of Sambal Shiok’s spectacular Beef Rendang (NOT A BURGER). Marinated in 10 spices and dripping with further chilli sauce, the melt-in-your-mouth meat was coupled spectacularly with the cool Kerabu pickled cucumber and red onions. And though I complained that brioche buns are overdone these days, it was nice to not have a burger for once. Sambal Shiok’s (NOT A BURGER) rendang was easily the best food stall of the day, although did run out really early around 2PM, three hours into the event. Mandy Yin who runs the stall is an absolute diamond as well – hunt Sambal Shiok down if you haven’t been yet.
We had some of the usual suspects like HornOKPlease (who I still find odd considering its mixture of food from various parts of India served up in one box) and Burgatory, who I finally tried for the first time. I wasn’t as impressed as people make it out to be. Not saying it’s a bad stall, but I’m not going to go charging to find it, is all.
For desserts, the festival was absolutely *laden* with sweet stalls. And we get two winners to tie. First, usual suspect Bad Brownie for their incredible creations. The Bacon and Maple brownie did not really do it for me, regardless of its uniqueness, but at their flagship-pop-up on 19 Greek Street, I will always hold their Chai Tea Brownie as the best brownie I have ever had that wasn’t slightly illegal.
The Comptoir Gourmand gets a necessary shout out because I’d like to distinguish brownies from patisserie. The Pistachio Financier was to die for; not to mention bread and butter pudding that an Englishman would never be able to whip up.
Drinks stalls had everything from wine to smoothies, but the Kalopsia Coffee wins by a landslide. Decent coffee vans are few and far between, and the smoothness of their Allpress Beans coupled with the incredible service made them natural winners. The van can be hired for various events and I am definitely keeping an eye on these guys.
For stores to buy ingredients from, Bee Mercy takes it without a doubt. Smooth talking Stefan is more than happy to walk you through tasting and benefits of each of the raw, unpasteurized honeys on sale – and remind you of all the ways they can be used mentioned on their website from treating hypertension to facemasks. You can also eat them (in case you missed that). Each honey comes from hives that feed either on separate flowers (for example, hives that live around primarily oak trees, or lavender fields); or in specific environments (1,700 meters above sea level in their ‘Mountain Honey’ or in deep forests with ‘Forest Honey’).
Will throw in a mention of That Cheese Stall with their wonderful wild garlic yarg (pair this with Bon Bon Café’s preserves and jams); and CoCo Gourmand for their coconut brittles and tablets.
In short, the GFF kicked major gastronomical ass and is highly encouraged to be hosted again – and I’m excited to say that is has been considered. Follow it, folks!
Greenwich Food Festival
London, SE10 9HZ