image credit: ben katzler
the last few days have been an all-consuming flurry of delicious food, hungry people, new foodie friends and crazy hours spent at the griddle, the till and the hatch during the wondrous banquet that was feast london 2012.
oh how we enjoyed it! and oh how sad we are that it has finished! it kicked off last thursday with the rather chilly and hair-raising towing of the van up the old sorting office building’s steps, into the venue itself. the team were very pro but the van did succumb to the odd wobble up on its hind wheels and nerves were certainly rising – albeit quietly – particularly with ben still inside the cab. once in – after much shuffling forward and then backwards and then forwards again, and a smidge to the left and a nudge to the right, and ohmygod stop!! and shrimp why weren’t you looking?? – we got to really experience the venue, which was just beautiful in its crumbling decay and disused magnitude.
lottie, helena and their team did a beautiful job at giving the space new form and structure, with moroccan inspired cushions to lounge around on and gorge roman-style, long wreath-strewn tables for the more civilised epicurean, a central stage providing kick-ass live music, and hundreds of fairy lights and wintry branches to create a sort of foodie-narnia wonderland feel.
the event was open on thursday and friday evening before two full days over the weekend and we were quite literally run off our feet. we were so busy that trips to the loo had to be carefully timed, as did coffee intakes from our friends across the way at caravan. busy, hot and hungry at the end of the first two nights, we were communally horrified to find that not one of us had found the time to sample anyone else’s food. and so saturday and sunday, equally populated but at a slightly more manageable pace, were spent stuffing our hungry mouths with treats and snacks aplenty from our many established restaurateur neighbours.
our favourites: thai steak from the super sexy ladies at midnight steak out; chocolate and sea salt waffles from new sweeth tooth heroes waffle on; did i mention the dozens of potent coffees courtesy of caravan?; young thai coconuts complete with delicious scoop-able jelly from cocoface; anything and everything involving leche de tigre from ceviche (we made eager friends with martin and he is very nice and generous); dark and stormies (too many to count) from the heroic guys at background bars; piadina to die for from la piadina pronta; a whole lotta tapas-y treats from boca face; and finally some soothing dhal and roasted beets with rice from our new heroes the detox kitchen – much needed.
with such an abundance of new friends and foods, the whole weekend was like a magical, otherwordly odyssey of taste, texture, food and fun. the gyoza were flying off the griddle throughout and we raised a total of £133 for our rainbo kitchen garden project in nepal, helping women and kids in struggling communities in the west grow their own produce and empower their local schools and villages, which we are due to visit in january. one lady quietly came and donated £50 straight up to the cause and we were very much moved by her amazing act of generosity. after a few dark and stormies and four days at the griddle it was all we could do not to weep with thanks.
and now we are rolling out a few more thousand gyoza to replenish our dwindled stock in preparation for the street feast christmas grotto in the old st tunnels this week and next, kerb at moorgate on friday with street feast in the evening, and a night of rainbo gyoza at the grafton pub in kentish town next friday. no rest for the wicked… but when we are far far away in the depths of nepal in january all these dumplings and urban feasts will truly seem a million miles away.