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We Feast

We Feast

I think We Feast is one of the best street foody eat-ups I’ve been to in a while! It had all the great vibes of the food truck meetup we went to in San Francisco, with bonus Christmassy touches that made it feel lovely and festive.

We Feast
We Feast

Firstly, it was in a perfect venue – a wonderful semi-derelict old Victorian sorting office in Islington, decked out with cool huge globe lights and twinkly fairy lights.

We Feast
We Feast

Organisation-wise it was spot on, not too crowded or queue-heavy with plenty of seating and a big bar. I had a delicious lemongrass Dark and Stormy.

We Feast

Great live music added to the festive vibes.

We Feast

And of course the food, with stalls from all of London’s current best and brightest…

We Feast
We Feast

I started with Anna Mae’s mac & cheese, levelled up with jalapenos and sour cream…

We Feast

Then went for a delicious mushroom, walnut and miso Yum Bun

We Feast
We Feast

Sweet treats from Meringue Girls, almost to pretty to eat

We Feast

Pakoras from Delhi Grill

We Feast
We Feast
We FeastWe Feast
We Feast

And the rest… The only slight downside was that a fair proportion of the stalls didn’t have a veggie option so I didn’t get to sample Rainbo’s gzoyas, Tonkotsu’s ramen, Mishkin’s, or a Lucky Chip (veggie)burger. But I think I did pretty OK anyway.

We Feast

Looking forward to the next one already!

Obey Sound & Vision

Obey Sound & Vision

Just some pics I took at the new Obey show at Stolen Space in Shoreditch. It closes this Sunday, so pop down soon if you want to check it out.

Obey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & VisionObey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & VisionObey Sound & Vision
Obey Sound & Vision

Design Junction

I meant to visit loads of London Design Festival stuff, but ended up being quite lazy/disorganised last week and ended up just going to Design Junction on Saturday. Worked out pretty well though since it seemed to be all of the coolest stuff, housed in an awesome old sorting office warehouse.

Design Junction
Design Junction

Fernandez & Wells popup cafe

Design Junction
Design JunctionDesign Junction
Design Junction
Design JunctionDesign Junction

Mid-century Modern area

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Global Feast

I was invited to spend a night eating at the Global Feast on Friday, a series of suppers running alongside the Olympics which celebrate the cuisines of most of the competing countries. The nightly dinners each feature guest chefs cooking alongside Kerstin Rogers, the location of each night’s origins moving west round the world. A hugely ambitious project combining my loves of food and travel? How could I resist…

Global FeastGlobal Feast

The evening started with a gin and tonic in the pretty setting of Stratford’s Old Town Hall, just a skip away from the Olympic Park.

Global Feast
Global Feast

The stunning banquet table, dreamed up by Alex Haw of Atmos Studio, who we had the pleasure of company with for the meal, is laser-cut into the shape of the world complete with longitude lines, topographic accuracy and a hole bored in to mark each large city. We were sat on the coast of Brazil facing the Andes!

Global Feast
Global Feast
Global Feast
Global Feast

Besides the amazing table itself, the effort put into the presentation was really impressive. I loved the map flowers and mini herb gardens sprouting up.

Global Feast
Global Feast

The food was equally impressive. After canapes and a started of curried egg, the main was a thali-style combination of paneer biryani (chicken for the meat-eaters, and a spiced lamb chop) with peanut aubergine and a little glass of yogurt soup called khadi, complemented by brilliant pink beetroot raita and warm chapattis. It looked as good as it tasted, the spicing containing Persian-influenced ingredients like rose and pistachio which are often found in Pakistani cooking.

Global Feast

After an interlude of brilliant Northern Indian dancing for entertainment, dessert was a trio of chocolate tarts by Pistachio Rose, each spiced with a warming background of chilli, fennel and chai. The white choc with fennel and rose was my favourite, yum yum.

The Global Feast runs every night of the Olympics, so there’s only 8 days left. Read more about the Indian night on Kerstin’s blog and grab tickets to the remaining nights here. Much more fun than that sports malarkey, eh?

Coffee workshop at… Workshop

Coffee workshop

Last week I spent a very enjoyable morning learning all about the sourcing, roasting and brewing of coffee at a session put on by Clerkenwell coffee house Workshop (previously St Ali). As well as putting on a mighty lovely all-day dining spread, Workshop also take their coffee very seriously, with an in-house roaster at the rear of the shop and a brisk takeaway trade.

Coffee workshop

Our host and coffee manager, Tim, started by telling us a load of fascinating stuff about coffee that I never knew. For example, did you know that the skins of the coffee cherries (the beans are the inner ‘pip’ of this fruit) are caffeinated because it’s a natural insect repellant, and the dried skins can be brewed into a tea called cascara? And that’s just the start – we discussed the different varieties of coffee and the effect that altitude, location, processing and volume have on its quality and flavour.

Coffee workshop
Coffee workshop

Tim then explained how they go about sourcing and selecting coffee for Workshop – often they only get a 100g sample which they have to carefully roast and brew in order to decide whether to spend £60,000 on an order. Workshop ensure that they pay a fair price for their premium beans and try to have as open and transparent a relationship with their importers and farmers as possible.

Coffee workshop
Coffee workshop

We then saw the roasting process: raw beans are tipped into the roaster and a laptop displays the ‘recipe’ that each variety is to be roasted to. The temperature is painstakingly monitored and data-entered each minute that they roast to ensure a completely consistent result – a variation of just two degrees means the batch is no good. Workshop roast their beans very lightly to just bring out the subtle natural flavours – a more typical coffee chain might over-roast to mask poorer quality beans.

Coffee workshop
Coffee workshop

After 14 minutes of roasting, the beans are cooled and then bagged. They have to rest for a week to release any trapped carbon dioxide that can make the coffee bitter. Workshop’s head roaster Richard spends two days roasting approximately 300kg of coffee per week, which is sold via drinks in their two London locations, and also a small proportion as wholesale and retail beans.

Coffee workshop
Cofee workshop

Finally, we experienced a sample ‘cupping’ session. Tim and Richard do this every week to ensure consistency in the newly roasted beans, and also when tasting new additions to decide how they should be roasted and brewed.

Coffee workshop
Coffee workshop

The cupping session is almost ritualistic, like a Japanese tea ceremony, but this is to make sure the coffee is tasted with as few variables as possible. Beans measured into precise 12 grams, ground and added to bowls; kettle boiled and cooled; water poured; coffee stirred; wait for brewing; skim the top and taste a teaspoonful with a slurp.

Coffee workshop

We finished with a lovely brunch in Workshop’s restaurant, washed down with yet more coffee. This was a ‘beta’ session to see if the concept worked, which I think it most certainly did. I left with an even greater understanding and appreciation of coffee, along with a long list of wonderful facts to bore people with – I didn’t even share half of what I learned here. Tim plans to schedule in more sessions for the public to book onto soon: keep an eye on their Twitter for news.