10 | May | 23

Richard Johnson

Tiddly Om Pom Pom

Photography: Carlos from Southsea Snapper

We had two things to celebrate this weekend – the crowning of King Charles III, AND the election of the South’s newest street food champions at the Southern heat of the 2023 British Street Food Awards at Gunwharf Quays. And celebrate we did. With our esteemed judges choosing Smoking Lobster as champion. And everyone who came along voting LJ Hugs as the People’s Choice. For the THIRD year in a row. Both now go to the British finals in August, with a view to representing the UK at the grand final of the European Street Food Awards in September.

The results were as follows:

Judges’ Choice:
1. Smoking Lobster
2. Soul Pizza
3. Nosh Box
4. Bhajis Ldn
5. Earth to Oven

People’s Choice:
1. LJ Hugs
2. Bhajis Ldn
3. Nosh Box
4. Potje Man

We managed to convince some of our favourite foodies to come back and judge the 26 entry dishes. There was Andrew Du Bourg, fresh from the kitchen of The Elderflower Restaurant, along with Nicola Hilton from Nicola’s World of Food and Jon Marsden-Jones, who was the last chef in Hampshire to hold a Michelin star. New boy Ben Cartwright, the sales manager of food wholesalers Smith And Brock, was advised to “skip breakfast”.

We couldn’t wait to return to the sun-drenched plaza of the South Coast’s biggest outlet shopping destination – our much beloved Gunwharf Quays. With Roll ‘n’ Pour all about the ice cold Cobra Beer and cocktails, and Bubblehead Barista taking care of everyone’s coffee needs – plus DJs on tap all weekend – this was one not to miss.

But it was tricky to only take one or two mouthfuls out of this lot. There was Soul Pizza Truck – hand-stretched log-fired sourdough pizza from Devon, in the cooooolest truck; Earth to Oven – seasonal flatbreads, hailing from East Hampshire; the finger licking’ Cajun chicken of LJ Hugs, who won the People’s Choice award at the BSFA finals in 2022; the Indian flavours of Oh Babu, who won the Best Burger award at the BSFA finals in 2022; the DEFINITIVE bacon butty from local favourites Nosh Box in their new horse box; the South African flavours of Potje Man; the game-changing Mac and Cheese from MacMan; bhaji and pakora specialists – with the UK’s only coal-fired tandoor – Bhajis LDN ; Michelin-trained chefs who cook ramen for fun – Mr Noodle Ramen; gourmet Galllic sandwiches from La Roulotte by Magica; Nepalese Momos with a twist from Filili Eats; Trinidadian doubles from Down d’ Islands; upmarket platters from Smoking Lobster Catering; and venison burgers from patty specialists Gamekeeper.

Next up the Northern heats, at Leeds Dock – for the Waterfront Festival, and a massive kneesup with the Royal Armouries!