Although I don’t venture there often, Dalston seems to have a unique character. For a friend’s birthday at the weekend, I ventured to Dalston Street Feast, which is a collection of pop-up restaurants housed within a derelict set of what appears to be warehouses. So derelict in fact that there were a few buckets collecting drips at the Camden Town Brewery bar!
Where: 3 minutes walk from Dalston Junction Overground station.
When: All summer long, until the weekend of the 25th September. 5pm – midnight with a £3 charge after 7pm.
What to expect: Burgers and sliders seem to be the order of pop-up food these days, regardless of cuisine. My quest for mac and cheese left me desolate (a homemade version is probably a future blog post in the making). Expect to pay about £5 for a dish and wait a couple of minutes. There is more table space than you’d possibly expect from a collection of pop-ups, so this is a positive for groups.
Try: Breddos Tacos. Just zingy, meaty, spicy deliciousness.
Tips: We arrived just after 7 and I feel this was a good time. The crowds grew rapidly until we left at about 9 to go elsewhere, and associated disbenefits of this become known (bigger queues, less table space, longer waits). Treat yourself to a cocktail at The Gin Store next to Bleecker St Burger.
Our first stop was a “Bill” burger from Bill or Beak. This came highly recommended from one of our group, and although it was a little on the small side, it didn’t disappoint. The “Bill” is a brioche bun filled with shredded duck and pork, crispy tempura shallots, a Vietnamese potion full of aromatic flavours and various garnishes such as coriander and spring onion.
Next up, a “Proud Boy” from Hank’s Po’ Boys. This was a delicately flavoured blackened piece of white fish, served with a creole dressing and slaw in a brioche bun. I really enjoyed this and it was a bit bigger than most other dishes we saw being served for £5. The fish was meaty and had a real smokiness to it, and held its shape well in the bun, thankfully saving my dignity in front of friends.
Mama Wang’s is the trader of the week this week. They seemed to be popular for their hand-pulled noodles, but in the spirit of trying as much as possible, I went for two steamed buns filled with lamb and crispy sesame bottoms. Luckily they were freshly cooked as we rolled up. The buns were very soft and the sesame crispness added a pleasing texture and sweetness. Hoisin on the side is always welcome (with anything frankly). The filling was minced lamb, and for some reason I was expecting shredded lamb. The bun as a whole succeeded in being quite fragrant. Next time I would definitely like to go for some of those noodle boxes too.
After trying a few snack-sized offerings, it was time for more of a meal. Two of us shared this jerk platter from Mama Jerk’s, consisting of a quarter leg of jerk chicken, rice and peas and a salad-slaw combo. All topped off with hot sauce and tropical mayo. I am a big fan of spicy food, and I would have preferred a bit of extra heat from those scotch bonnets. However there’s no denying that the chicken was full of warm flavours.
I disappointingly didn’t manage to get a photo of my final course, which was two meaty tacos from Breddos Tacos. Specifically a pink steak taco and a crunchy nut chicken taco. The old adage saving the best for last is not lost at Street Feast because these were absolutely delicious. Both tacos were big enough for four big mouthfuls and the meat was so tender and juicy. I topped them off with some chilli salsa for an added kick. If there’s one pop-up you stop off at, make it Breddos.