I've been wanting to go to Urban Food Fest for a while now but haven't been able to go since it restarted in April owing to all the same reasons I didn't have time to blog either, see this post for my apologetic reasons why.
However, we finally got round to going last weekend and it did not disappoint. Food night markets are not a new craze in London but one I have recently cottoned on to and with a full heart (and stomach) embraced. Urban Food Fest is located in a car park just off Shoreditch High Street and happens every Saturday from 5pm-midnight with free entry (the best things in London are free).
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this market as, although the testimonials on the website promised a street party atmosphere, Dan and I went to Street Feast at Hawker House in Hoxton a couple of months ago and despite the food being amazing (the roast pork bau in particular) and the venue industrial cool, it felt like we'd walked into someone else's party with lots of big groups saving seats for people who hadn't arrived. Despite this I'll still be going to the Dalston Yard food night market run by Street Feast so it can't have been that bad.
However, with live music being performed on a traffic island and people spilling from the carpark onto the street I would say Urban Food Fest's testimonials were bang on. It was a street party with everyone laughing, eating, singing (badly to a cover of Baby When You're Gone by Bryan Adams meets Mel C) and drinking. And with an excellent array of food and drink stalls there was something for everyone, there are 15 traders at the event and these change every week so chances are if you go you might not eat at the same stalls we did but that kind of adds to the excitement of a food market, wandering round and choosing what you like the look of!
For me, the Duck Confit Burger from Frenchie caught my eye. I can't decide whether this was because it's crispy duck in a burger or the huge pile of cheese wheels they had on display. We went for the blue cheese on recommendation from the lady manning the stall and it was delicious. In addition, I've got to applaud the speed at which they put this together, super fast food!
Juicy from the duck cooked in it's own fat with a rich creaminess from the cheese and an added twang from the blue as well as the relish, I would have eaten the whole thing, had I not shared it with Dan. Sometimes I hate him.
Now for Dan's choice, he had already decided before we went that he wanted Asian food, what kind didn't really matter. Which was why HAO CHII's Asian fusion food was perfect for the occasion. We sampled the deep fried chicken dumplings which made for very easy eating with their homemade sweet chilli sauce and the wasabi prawn wrap which was refreshing and wrapped in tortilla which I felt was more like a roti. Dan loved the wrap so he finished it off, I thought the roti was good and the wasabi prawn's tasty but for me I think it was a fusion too far.
Finally, the big gun, the one where the queue snuck round past the drinks stall. The Joint.
This stall had some big recommendations and boy did it live up to them. I would have loved to have tried the pulled pork as well, which was dripping in bbq sauce, but we had already stuffed ourselves before we saw the truck.
However, hope was not lost! We did have enough room for their deep-fried chicken wings that a couple recommended to us. The bbq sauce was sweet and spicy, the wings were crunchy on the outside from being dredged in flour but succulent inside and the mint on top lifted the wings and complimented the palette despite me thinking it would be lost.
Overall the food is worth taking a trip to Shoreditch for, and with the sun shining and the friendly atmosphere why wouldn't you visit Urban Food Fest on a Saturday afternoon.