Saturday 8 March 2014

B.Eat Street Manchester #fridayfoodfight

If you are on twitter and a foodie you will have undoubtedly heard of B.Eat Street Manchester’s #fridayfoodfight, as, for the past few weeks, their use of social media has been relentless.

If not, the concept is thus: the organisers (Chris Legh and Will Evans) have assembled some of the city’s finest DJs, street food operators and restaurants – for a dozen Fridays they will be taking over the grand Victorian Upper Campfield Market Hall (the one on Liverpool Road, behind Dimitri’s) from which ‘revellers’ can enjoy ‘banging tunes’ whilst they stuff their faces…

Preferring a linen tablecloth and napkin to drinking from plastic cups and eating from paper plates, I admit to not being 100% convinced by the idea – however, having been previously asked to judge the “cook off” to select worthy new street food start-ups, I went along to see what all the ‘young trendy things’ were up to… (thankfully, Man Con’s Gordo ensured I wasn’t the oldest there!)

After a short, fast moving queue, I headed straight for Honest Crust and ordered one of their n’duja sausage topped Atomica! pizzas which was soon ready following a blast in their wheeled wood fired oven. I can’t think of a restaurant in the city at the moment that serves better pizzas.

I fears about a “food rave” were unfounded… there was definitely more eating going on than dancing.

Next, I paid a visit to the inimitable Nutter for some of his “World Famous” Bury Black Pudding Wontons. I’ve had these many times at his Rochdale restaurant and they were just as good in this setting, served from a Union Flag topped cone.

Nutter also pulled it out the bag, showing some of the street food upstarts how it’s done, with his Great British Fritter – a “feast of the north west” with crispy bacon, black pudding, sausage and creamy Lancashire cheese. Adding a touch of restaurant quality class, his Butternut Squash Soup with Truffled Chives was my star dish of the night.

Since Levy Market has been closed for its winter hiatus, I have been missing the Columbian fare of Arepa!Arepa!Arepa! – so, my next stop was for one of their Arepas filled with Frijoles Paisas (pinto beans grilled plantains and other veggie goodness).

One of the ‘start ups’ I put through at the cook off was Chef Jason Latham’s chilli fuelled “Love From The Streets” – sadly his stall was experiencing problems with its electricity supply so my “Street Box” was without one of his excellent mini beef patties. Jerk Chicken, Beef & Oxtail Curry, Dirty Bean Rice and #BadboySlaw all hit the spot… my favourite element being the curry.

Starting to get full, I somehow made room for a ‘Jr’ version of the signature ‘Big Manc’ from SoLiTa and a portion of their excellent Sticky Lime Wings – it would have been rude not to.

For dessert, the Sugar Rush Gals had things covered with Ice Cream Sandwiches, Tubs and Cones but I opted for one of their deliciously indulgent ‘Cheese n Pineapple’ cheesecakes – coconut caramel crunch, apple & grapefruit jelly, lime cheesecake cream, pineapple compote, chocolate lime zest and pineapple brittle.

“Disclaimer” - this was not a freebie, just like the other bloggers I saw there (Food Geek and Mrs Petticoat), I paid for everything I ate and drank.

See you there next week!

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