Friday, 20 June 2014

City Pantry's Summer Street-food Festival - Kensington

People who live in London are creatures of habit, especially when it comes to which part of the city they'll visit. I have friends who won't head East, those who claim to hate the South (although can frequently be found there), and those who think the North of the city is populated solely by dry stone walls and sheep.

For me, it's the West. Apart from regular visits to Shepherd's Bush and three bottles of wine drunk in Notting Hill a fortnight ago, 'here be dragons' is all it says on that quarter of my mental map. It's not my fault, blame TFL. If they carved a good tube line from SW to the Westfield I might venture that way more often, but until they do I'll only navigate the spiral labyrinth of Oxford Circus and the never-ending-story that is the Circle Line on a match day. That is, of course, unless someone dangles a golden press pass bracelet in-front of my nose, one that unlocks UNLIMITED food at dinner time.

I liked the idea of City Pantry before they offered to pay for my dinner. There are so many street food vendors in London and far too much time taken up with the necessary chore that is work - somebody somewhere had to work out a way of fusing the two together. City Pantry let you order food for meetings, events, and lunch from a variety of vendors across London, providing you have 10 or more mouths to feed. So, rally your colleagues together, book pointless meetings, or just get really really hungry, slap in your postcode and get clicking.

I've not used the service, so I can't vouch for it's quality. If the organisation of their Summer Street-food Festival's opening night is an indication of what to expect though, it's a good one. Ten minutes walk north from Earl's Court, sat in the front plaza of a Tesco - they're very continental in the West - on the edge of the A4, stood five or six street food vendors, picnic tables, and a bar. I'm a busy and hungry man, so I didn't have time to count how many vendors were there or take names and numbers (check their website for details, I'm sure). 

I leapt straight for a healthy starter of raw fish from Aji Ceviche. The salmon was sweet, not bitter, with a subtle warmth from the one chilli flake I'd ordered, and bulk provided by quinoa and large corns. This could easily be a lunch on it's own and will be once I've visited them next month at Whitecross Street Market. 

Primo came in the form of that most delicate of foods, the hotdog served Brazilian style - cream cheese, mini-crisped potato sticks, salsa, and sweetcorn. I say delicate, as eating something like this without coating your only smart shirt in it's droppings is an art form that I can't master. I let most of the topping fall into the cardboard it came in, then spooned this windfall into my mouth, chimp like. The absence of anything left in the cardboard wrapper was the only testament needed for this offering from Electric Dog.

Finally, I tackled a venison burger from Wild Game Co. That gamey flavourful fat burger is a tough challenge after a couple of beers, two courses, and a pathetic constitution; as is the run back to the tube for the opening game of the World Cup, a piece of a cake tucked under one arm, and heart palpitations from staying far too long outside of my comfort zone. Luckily, as City Pantry deliver, I need never leave the South and East of London again. Now if we could employ a few more staff, I might be able to make street food a regular lunchtime treat for my tastebuds and waistline.


  1. Me too, I don't really venture to West much. I live in SE London. Really like the sound of this festival especially the vension burger.

    Katrina Sophia Blog

    1. The venison burger was very good indeed. Well worth the trip just for that! I think those guys are at Kerb, so you can find them around and about...not just in the Wild West.