It was a feast of extraordinary proportion — Henry VIII would have given up before the mains arrived. But the judges of the British Street Food Awards are made of sterner stuff than that.For nearly two hours, they sat and deliberated over the extraordinary cook-off that was going on around them. This was what they ate. In order….
Kedgeree (What the Dickens)
Huevos Rancheros (Luardos)
Masala Chai (Manjit’s Kitchen)
Shot Of Suffolk Crab Bisque Served With “North Sea” Sour Dough Croutons (Fish Hut)
Marble Brewery Malt Milk Shake (Ginger’s Comfort Emporium)
Pork Pie (What The Dickens)
Firebread Calzone (Well Kneaded)
Smoked Mackerel Filo Pie (Wild Rover)
Seashore Wrap With Fresh Crab (Café Mor)
Fish Taco (Luardos)
Pigeon And Organic Bacon Wrap (Wild Rover)
Flatbread Filled With Slow-roasted Cherry Tomato, Pickled Ewes Cheese, Basil Oil And Aioli (Katie and Kim’s Kitchen)
Beetroot, Chili And Cherry Tomato Firebread (Well Kneaded)
Bad Ass Bondas (Hungry Gecko)
Lightly Smoked Mussels Served With UK Heritage Tomato And Chorizo Sauce (The Mussel Men)
Pork Yum Bun (Yum Bun)
Lobster Roll with hot seaweed butter (Café Mor)
Chicken Slider On Brioche (Street Kitchen)
Mackerel, Chorizo And Sardine Burger (Green Goat)
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Bap (Spit And Roast)
BEST MAIN DISH (sponsored by Trinity Leeds)
Bunny Chow (Manjit’s Kitchen)
Poutine (Spit And Roast)
Scallop Cream Tea (Green Goat)
Crispy Chicken Salad (Street Kitchen)
Smoked Tofu Chili Jam Noodles (Hungry Gecko)
Lowestoft Longline-caught Cod In Ginger Beer Batter
Served With Chips And Minted Garden Peas (The Fish Hut)
Breakfast At Ginger’s (Gingers Comfort Emporium)
Battenburg Cake (Lulabelles)
Custard Tart (Katie and Kim’s Kitchen)
Damson And Cobnut Custard Crumble (Sorbitium)
After two hours of deliberation, the judges got up from the table. Scribbled on a buttery piece of paper were the following results:
Winner of the Best Breakfast category was Simon at Luardos with his Huevos Rancheros breakfast burrito. It turned that whole “I Hope It’s Not Eggs For Breakfast — AGAIN” feeling on its head. Especially when coupled with the BEST DRINK of spiced Masala Chai from Manjit’s Kitchen in Leeds. This warming, fragrant tea of ginger, cloves and pepper was (despite one of the judges asking if he could use it as a poultice for his sore neck) the perfect accompaniment to the menu of 30 dishes that the judges had to taste.
The winner of Best Pie (although arguments raged all weekend about what actually constituted ‘a pie’) were Well Kneaded, with their Firebread Calzone. Some judges preferred the rich, savoury pork pie from What The Dickens, but the calzone stuffed with ham, and cheese, coupled with the thin airy crusts, won out in the end.
Jonathan Williams from Café Mor, who was the overall winner of last year’s British Street Food Awards, took home Best Sandwich this year. His Seashore Wrap With Fresh Crab – from Pembrokeshire, of course – was developed for the Olympics, and the judges were happy to award it a gold medal.
The vote for Best Snack was unanimous – the Pork Yum Bun from London’s Yum Bun. Although a very special mention should go to The Mussel Men, who had gone to the trouble of smoking their delicious, fat mussels at the judges’ table. But the pillowy, steamed Yum Buns, stuffed with rich, salty pork were extraordinary. Which is probably why they also scooped the People’s Choice Award, voted for by the people who turned up to see the British Street Food Awards in person. They narrowly beat Spit And Roast, whose fried chicken really WAS finger licking good, Wild Rover and Green Goat, whose fresh and seasonal menus championed sustainability. And still managed to make you want seconds.
The Best Burger came from Street Kitchen. The team in the silver Airstream based their whole menu on Label Anglais chicken, and the Chicken Slider On Brioche married a sweet roll with perfectly moist meat. The judges debated long and hard over Best Main Dish, sponsored by Trinity Leeds, with the Smoked Tofu Chili Jam Noodles from the Hungry Gecko just losing out (after a recount) to the Lowestoft Line-caught Cod In Ginger Beer Batter Served With Chips And Minted Garden Peas from The Fish Hut. The wet flakes of fresh white cod, married with the crisp batter? Perfection.
But the hardest category to judge this year was Best Dessert. Cathy from Lulabelle’s had never even MADE a Battenburg before. But the baker, from Yorkshire, turned out a belter with home-made marzipan and light sponge flavoured with almonds and rosewater. The Custard Tart from Katie and Kim’s Kitchen had the perfect flaky pastry. And Sorbitium’s Damson And Cobnut Custard Crumble Ice Cream was just sublime. Not too sweet, and alive with the autumn sharpness of the damsons.
But perfection wasn’t enough to beat Breakfast At Ginger’s from Gingers Comfort Emporium. This was a toast and marmalade ice cream, sat on top of an orange blossom sorbet. It was even served in a cone, wrapped in the morning newspaper – all part of the breakfast theme. Because of the extraordinary depth of Claire Kelsey’s imaginative menu, the judges decided to award the Best of the Best – sponsored by Marks & Spencer – to Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. Claire has already got a cookbook coming out next year, but now she’ll be meeting up with the Marks & Spencer and Wahaca for “mutually beneficial” talks. You can be sure those talks will involve ice cream.
The BSFA Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/britishstreetfood) has been running a competition for BEST LOOKING MOBILER – the van or truck that most captures the popular imagination. The shortlist was:
Barn House Bistro
Westonbirt Ice Cream
Split Screen Ice Cream
The lead changed hands several times in the lead up to the Awards, but Split Screen Ice Cream ended up taking the title home. At 40mph in the slow lane if they’re lucky….