2 September 2015

Kerb-alicious Street Food Market, Southbank, London

Make Foodies Go Loco.

Who here is a fan of Fergie? Anyone? No one? No I'm not sure I am either but that tune has been going round in my head along with a picture reel of all the food I ate at Kerb when I met up with Sophie and Persephone (aka Lady P) for a long awaited Saturday filled with 'burgers', kimchi and bingo. Kerbingo to be precise. First off what's Kerb, for all you non Londoners, Kerb is one of the best if not THE best street food market in London (ooo contentious). Unfortunately for most of us who don't work near one of Kerb's many London locations, you probably won't have heard of them because they normally only serve up lunch Monday to Friday. For ages I have been envious (mostly of Lisa from Not Quite Enough) of people's gourmet lunches from Kerb. Ok I hate envy it's the wrong word, I've just been drooling over everyone's Kerb-alicious instagrams round about 12pm when I dig into my packed lunch, delicious it may be but it's not a juicy burger, grilled cheese sandwich or wood fired pizza.  

Don't close this window! There's hope for me and you yet because this Summer Kerb landed bankside (Southbank that is) on the first Friday/Saturday/Sunday of each month to treat us weekenders to what all those lucky Londoners have been getting daily. And gee whizz, I'm writing this post just in time for the last Friday/Saturday/Sunday of Kerb's Summer Street Food Fiesta before they bow out when Autumn well and truly hits us. That's right the 4th, 5th and 6th of September are the last dates to witness Kerb in all it's glory at the weekend. So make plans, change plans and get yourself down there because Kerbingo is waiting!

Having conversed for a couple of months or so on twitter, Sophie and I established that Persephone was 100% a real person, and so we did what the two of us do best. The two prong invite attack. What's that you're wondering? Well first one of us (on this occasion me) goes in with the 'Hi Persephone, let's meet up? Do you like burgers?' and then BAM the second one (Sophie) comes in with the 'Hey can I come too?'. We've never discussed this, it's just sort of happened, or at least Sophie and I keep inviting ourselves along. We're training for the Olympic invite relay.

I'm not going to go all weepy on you, but I've met so many amazing gals and guys through blogging. Sophie and I are seasoned chums and when we met up with Persephone we all just clicked. I don't want to say it was magical but you can't deny what's there (pass the tissues).

As three foodies it only seemed right to take Kerb up on it's Kerbingo challenge. When I say challenge I think we all took it on as more of a mission; we've got the right attitudes when it comes to food. The rules of Kerbingo are simple, buy 5 items from 5 different stalls and get a 6th one free from any one of Kerb's traders that you like. The idea being you come back another day for a free lunch. We dismissed that idea and decided to eat all the food in one day but you can do as you please. It's not just food either, items can include a cheeky cocktail or pint, which was really appreciated on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

First bingo up we headed to Donostia Social Club, a tapas style eatery on the side of a van where their dishes range in price from £3 for a chunky piece of French stick piled with goodies to £5 for one of their hot dishes. When I go out for dinner, unless it's a special occasion and Dan (my man friend) and I have gone for a tasting menu, or I'm eating out with people I don't know so well, I always share food which makes tapas my dining method of choice. Sophie went for a strawberry topped, balsamic drizzled log of goats cheese, Persephone went for aioli coated crayfish and rocket, and I went for the scallops with pisto (fancy Spanish ratatouille), almond slivers and green chilli sauce. 

For anyone who thinks Street Food is a dodgy polystyrene container of noodles or a filthy burger, firstly, why are you here? And secondly, Donostia Social Club is here to prove you wrong. That scallop was dreamy, soft and melting on the inside but golden on the outside, I was one lucky lady. The green chilli sauce was spicy but not overly so and the combo of it all with the scallops was an explosion of flavours but in a really good, I'd eat it for breakfast kind of way. Of course we all shared food and the other dishes were delicious but there's no denying the scallop stole the show. I had my eyes on their lamb chops with broad beans, and Spanish black pudding and quail egg rounds, but they'll have to be conquered another day as Kerbingo was calling.   

Round two meant Bill or Beak, and a couple of pints of Camden Hells. It's only right when taking on a meatalicious bun to have a pint of lager on the side. Any woman who says beer is for boys clearly hasn't found the right pint for them yet (p.s a pint of wine does not count, you know who you are). Two buns were on offer; shredded pork and duck topped with tempura shallots, and a salad of coriander, sprunions, mint and chilli with a generous dousing of Vietnamese style dressing, and a chicken Caesar bun complete with parmesan, lettuce and tempura capers. 

It was a hard decision which to choose, but I steeled myself and bought the duck and pork sandwich safe in the knowledge that Sophie would share her chicken Caesar bun with me. It turned out to be a good decision to share because both sandwiches were delicious. My tender duck and porkie delight was fresh from the salad, oh so spicy but with a good level of fat from the tempura shallots to compensate for the heat, Sophie's chicken was an enlightenment. Confession I have never enjoyed a chicken Caesar salad before, but this sandwich had me converted at least to the bun form, in short it's most likely the best chicken 'burger' I've ever had.

And I haven't even mentioned the best bit yet. No it's not the tempura toppings, it's not the tender meat, it's the brioche bun. That's right, the brioche was the ultimate winner. It was the best brioche bun I've ever had (I'm throwing the best out a lot today). Sweet and buttery with a crispy grilled finish, it was the perfect burger bun albeit there were no burgers but Bill or Beak's fillings stepped up to the plate. If you see them grab a sandwich, ask where they get their buns, then send me the sandwich and the bun maker's location to:

Flick's Stomach
They Called It The Diamond Blog
The Foodiverse

A break from savoury food came with a brownie courtesy of Sophie (self-professed brownie queen) and sunbathing on the grass outside the London Eye with a second pint in hand. Once we decided our stomach's were ready we surveyed the stalls at Kerb and struck. The Don's mac and cheese from Anna Mae with bacon and basil was Persephone's soul food, while Sophie and I went halves on a pepperoni pizza from Born and Raised, and a Bulgogi Beef Burrito with Kimchi (fermented vegetables with chili) rice and red cabbage, slaw, cheese, the works from Kimchinary. Today was clearly a day for new found loves as having never been a huge burrito fan before I quickly declared Kimchinary's burrito my soul mate. The pizza and mac and cheese were also solid but I only had eyes for our ugly looking beefy burrito. I don't care if you're ugly to photograph burrito, it's what's on the inside that counts!

 Maybe it's because it was so different to every other burrito I've ever had with it's spicy but clean Korean flavours, or just because the beef was really great quality, and let's be honest burrito restaurants are not famed for their high quality ingredients (sorry burrito sellers). It was just so good! I've changed my mind, stop reading this post. Close it down and go grab a burrito from Kimchinary as fast as you can because you know YOLO. But wait although I've given you my blessing to go and eat Kimchi deliciousness you shouldn't leave before you've read about dessert. 

Dessert took place in the form of ice lollies from Ice Kitchen. I've been thinking about Ice Kitchen's lollies for months, ever since the Summer first began and I saw them creeping on to twitter. They inspired me to buy a lolly mold (which took forever to come and arrived just before September when I placed the order in June! Let's talk about that Online Anonymous Wholesaler! Let's not it's bad blog content) and make some of my own flavours (blackberry and cucumber anyone?). I wanted to try all of Ice Kitchen's lollies but went for the alcoholic mojito to try and break out from my food coma with a refreshing stimulant. Sophie followed suit while Persephone opted for a raspberry and lime ice lolly.  

We sat eating our ice lollies, gossiping and having a laugh while Sophie and I dared each other to eat the large lime slice at the bottom of our ice lollies (FYI it's for display purposes only as it's disgustingly sour. Don't eat it!). I hope these lovely ladies will be joining me at Model Market asap because I don't know anyone better to accompany me on my next mission to see how far my stomach can truly stretch before I implode. If you're a weekday Londoner definitely head to one of their locations for a cheeky extravagant lunch, if not get down to Southbank this weekend to enjoy Kerb in all it's glory for one last time (this Summer)!

I didn't think it would be possible but I am more hungry after writing this post than I was after writing about Dinerama (see that post here). It's either the brioche sandwiches or the burrito that's done it. Has anyone been to Kerb at lunchtime, who's your favourite trader there? There's so many markets I've been meaning to get to, Druid Street Market is high on my list, have you been? I've heard it's really good, I might combine that with a cheeky trip to Maltby Street Market on the road behind and more importantly Little Bird Gin. While I'm there I'm going to grab a doughnut from St John's Bakery because I've never had one (oh God don't stone me), yep I've only ever bought their Danish pastries, such a sin but I can't resist their sugar coated buttery layers and pecans. The Lord made pecans to tempt me. Wait what are you still doing here? Get gone! Vamouss (is this a word?). Kick it to the Kerb!

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