19 | Apr | 23

Richard Johnson

It’s A ‘Ding Thing

We love Blue Collar. They know how to throw a proper party. So they were the obvious people to host the first heat of the 2023 British Street Food Awards. And what a heat it was, with over 3,000 people coming down to Reading across the weekend. There were 12 traders competing (see the full line-up below), but it was Hash Hut from London, with their beef cheek hash browns, that took home the title. And Amani Kitchen from Hitchin, with their delicious Iraqi fusion, that were voted the People’s Choice.

We made the news. And we featured in BBC broadcasts THREE TIMES across the weekend. The city, which had hosted the British Street Food Awards finals back in the time of Covid, loves the interaction of markets and street food. The South-Eastern results in full were as follows:

1. Hash Hut
2. Café 77
3. Hot Rocket

And the People’s Choice, voted on by everyone who came to the event, went as follows:

1. Amani Kitchen
2. Avila London
3. Hash Hut

James Greatorex, Head Chef at L’Ortolan and former Chef de Partie at the three Michelin star Fat Duck, was head judge (along with award-winning food writer and founder of the Awards Richard Johnson) and tasted all 24 of the entry dishes. “I feel privileged to have been given the honour of judging the British Street Food Awards” he said, “and what an event it was! Fantastic atmosphere, food and drink from the beginning. And we even had some sun!”

Coming in for a special mention from the judges were the steak sandwiches from Rosto; Oreno, with the UK’s only robata-to-go grill; the locally-sourced burgers from Cafe 77 (that James called “one of the best he’d ever had); the smashed plantain patacon from Avila London; and the fresh-tasting Australian parmas with salad from Parma Medics – served out of an ambulance!

And the plaudits didn’t stop there. It’s All Gravy had a genius concept that’s going to win big next year. Hot Rocket (having rebranded) are really elevating the classic Cubano to an art form. The Mighty Soft Shell Crab (who have blazed a trail in street food for many, many years) still make the best batter in the business. And Vegan n’ Fries are creating a real gamechanger in the meat replacement game with their ‘chick’ pea protein.

But the weekend belonged to Hash Hut and Avila, who now go to the big finals of the 2023 British Street Food Awards in London on August 18-20. With the British champions then going on to the finals of the 2023 European Street Food Awards in Germany. Next heat of the British Street Food Awards will be 6-8 May, at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, with a STELLAR lineup of traders trying to win through to the finals. Come along on Coronation weekend to Eat, Drink, Vote!