From ‘Pig Butties’ to ‘Cock Scratchings’ – Five hidden gems of London’s street food scene

BY:
Jessica Waller

Before moving over to AB, I worked in the food industry researching consumer insights and food trends. The OHH foodservice market is constantly evolving, and with London leading the way I often found myself working alongside trend predictors and research companies in the capital. Trends such as Provenance, Transparent Sourcing, Artisanal, Multiculturalism and Market Shapeshifting are still at the core of many influential brands shaping this sector. What is more, high property costs have led operators to alter traditional business models, meaning many now cater all day. Coffee shops and cafes turn into bistros and bars at night, pubs serve breakfast and food can now be found where you least expect it.

Having sampled some of London’s trend-led foodie gems, friends and colleagues often ask me for recommendations, so here’s a few of my favourite street food inspired haunts – enjoy!

Bone Daddie, Ramen Bar, Peter St, Soho

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At Bone Daddies it’s all about the stock, the hero of this predominantly single dish restaurant, which rightfully lives up to the restaurant name. I love the authenticity of this place which really focuses on getting the basics right – and yes you’ve guessed it, by essentials I mean the stock…. the building block to any good ramen dish! This busy, music pumping, casual ramen bar perfects its signature stock by simmering pork bones for two days, enabling the marrow to leach out creating a creamy, salty, deep broth. The menu consists of a handful of ramen dishes with a choice of additional toppings and sides. It’s modestly priced at £10 for ramen and serves a range of imported beers, my favourite is a Japanese import,, Asahi Black. If you’re feeling adventurous, then add a side of ‘cock scratching’s’ to your noodles – fear not, it’s nothing more sinister than a bowl of deliciously crispy chicken skin!

Homeslice, Neals Yard, Covent Garden

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This has to be one of London’s best-kept secrets; I did selfishly have second thoughts about putting this in here, but it’s just too good not to share.

Homeslice started life as a traditional wood fired pizza oven on the back of a truck. The aim? To serve up artisan slices to the street food masses. Demand quickly led to the bricks and mortar site at Neal’s Yard opening in 2011, swiftly followed by two more ambient, wood-fired wonders in Shoreditch and Fitrovia. Cleverly balancing simplicity, tradition and innovation, Homeslice offers their own take on the classics alongside unique flavour combinations – all the while focusing on the best of British with fresh, ethically sourced, seasonal food. Think ultra-thin pizza bases laden with mouthwateringly toppings such as ‘Aubergine’, ‘Cauliflower Cheese’, ‘Spinach & Harissa’ or ‘Pork Belly, Chimichurri & Smoked Onion’. Pizza can be washed down by beer and Prosecco on tap (yes, Prosecco on tap, ladies!) along with a few wine choices. I’m planning my next trip as I write…

Dishoom, 7 Boundary Street, Shoreditch

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Styled on the old post-colonial Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishroom is a unique Indian café concept. At their peak, cafes were a bustling meeting place and a refuge for all regardless of race, gender or class. Sadly, few remain today, but Dishroom’s quirky interior pays homage to this all-but forgotten past. Old retro signs and faded memorabilia make for a relaxed atmosphere (though buzzing at peak times!) where familiar British classics fuse with ‘evolved Indian’ street food dishes that regularly feature on Instagram. The breakfast menu boasts star dishes such as ‘The Big Bombay’ fry up and ‘Bacon nan rolls with chilli jam’. Meanwhile, the ‘all-day ’til late’ menu offers lots of small plates, sharing dishes, grills, biryanis and filled rotis. Throw in fresh mango lassi, Malabar coffee and endless free refills of Chai tea and you can see why this is such a popular weekend hangout.

Meatmission, 15 Hoxton Market, Hoxton

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Sick of reading, hearing and arguing about burger joints? Believe me, the trailblazing MEATliquor team is well worth another burger foray. Standing outside this converted church in Hoxton, you could be mistaken for thinking this was a club if it weren’t for the smell of chargrilled meat. On entering, the interior is nothing short of striking. Huge, bold, stained glass panels, raw fixtures and fittings and décor influenced by Gilbert & George create the image of a medieval banqueting hall with a punk edge. It even has its own radio station ‘MeaTransmission’ kicking out tunes from the mezzanine.

The meat is high quality, ethically sourced and expertly prepared. Don’t miss their signature Hoxton dish, Monkey’s Fingers: a generous portion of succulent chicken strips in a light vinegar batter and slathered in sauce, devilishly moreish and hellishly messy. Follow that with a Dead Hippy Burger and some Fried Pickles and you’ll be in hipster heaven. Beware though, Veggies, their ‘Rabbit Food’ menu has just one salad and a single ‘Slaw’ offering. But for the fun-loving carnivores, this place expertly fuses award-winning ‘dude food’, live music and ‘out-there’ interiors, making it popular with Shoreditch hipsters and trendy creatives.

Andina, 1 Redchurch St, Shoreditch

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When award-winning chef, DJ and former music industry exec Martin Morales opened Andina, hot on the tails of Ceviche in Soho, it was bound to be something special. Already a well-respected cookbook author, online chef with his own YouTube channel (Martin’s Peruvian Kitchens) and a regular on BBC’s Saturday kitchen, Martin’s Andian venture offers a new, on-trend twist to the Latin American street-food scene. A relaxed Peruvian foodie café/bistro by day and buzzing cocktail bar by night, Andina’s stylish decor is a throw-back to the founder’s DJ background with rare 7” records adorning the walls of the private function room.

The menu focuses on indigenous ingredients and super-foods born out of the Peruvian Andes and pre-Inca cultures. I was first introduced to the ‘Pig Butty‘ over a breakfast meeting one rainy Tuesday morning: a truly melt-in-the-mouth experience, the traditional chicharron sandwich of slow cooked Confit pork belly, tangy salsa, sweet potato ketchup and Amarillo chilli sauce in a soft brioche bun is an absolute no-brainer at £6. Standout lunch and dinner dishes include seafood grills, palate cleansing ceviches, Andian superfood salads and, of course, the ‘on-trend’ ingredient of the British middle classes…quinoa! Eat by day and party by night, it’s a regular destination for those in the know!

What next?

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Author: Jessica Waller

Jess is a design graduate with a wealth of experience in marketing and project management across a range of industries. She has recently completed a Diploma in Digital Marketing, enabling her to stay connected and on-trend.

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Author: Jessica Waller

Jess is a design graduate with a wealth of experience in marketing and project management across a range of industries. Previous clients include Aston Martin, Waitrose, Walt Disney, Granada Studios and Sony. She has recently completed a Diploma in Digital Marketing, enabling her to stay connected and on-trend. Interests include running, cooking, laughing and socialising... in that order!

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