FEAST food experience celebrates its first birthdayCultureFood & Drinks
Grey skies and sporadic rain showers do little to curtail the appetites of hungry Londoners. As a frowning sky darkened its mood over St Thomas Street on Saturday afternoon, visitors flocked to open-air food festival FEAST, ignoring the unfolding tantrum overhead to celebrate the event’s first birthday.
With previous executions including a village fete and a picnic at Foodies Festival in Battersea, expectations were high and FEAST appropriately honoured its milestone by returning to its launch ground, Guy’s Quadrangle, which housed 24 vendors pitched in the front courtyard. Behind them stood a glittering bar and covered seating area, flanked on either side by emerald lawns dotted with deckchairs. The party vibe was cemented with metallic bunting and shiny column tables, decorated with clusters of vibrant blooms and single candles in gigantic birthday cupcakes.
Swigging Appleton Tropical Rum Punch, we surveyed the exciting mix of street food and restaurant dishes, a coconut shy and even Daiquiri and Bellini-flavoured candy floss! We began with Cinnamon Kitchen’s Slow Roasted Lamb on Fresh Naan, savouring mouthfuls of delicately spiced, tender meat. Wiggies’ Pork Scratchings with Rhubarb Relish were tooth-crackingly good, but Pulled Pork Sliders (mini bread rolls heaped with shredded pork) were bland in comparison.
More appetising was a Lobster Roll from BOB’s Lobster: a toasted brioche bun, brushed with lobster-infused butter, crammed with pieces of claw, knuckle and tail. Layered with roe, homemade mayonnaise and pickle, it was deliciously rich. Steamed buns from Bao also impressed: Pork Belly Gua Bao with caramelised peanut shavings and Heart Attack Gua Bao – fried chicken with hot sauce. The latter justified our close proximity to the hospital: crispy-coated thigh meat and a deep-fried bun momentarily distracted from the shock of a brutal, chilli-fuelled punch (like being happy-slapped by a Klitschko brother!), which eventually mellowed to a tolerable sting.
Desserts were sweet and scrumptious: an intense Chocolate Brownie from Albion; Cannoli by Paesan – a crisp shell filled with a ricotta and chocolate blend; moist vanilla and raspberry macarons from Le Petit Paris; chocolate-drenched buttermilk waffles from Waffle On, including Black Forest with morello cherries, elderflower cream and Kirshwasser reduction and Cheeky Chocolate with homemade vanilla marshmallows. Check On’s novelty Egg & Soldier, a sterilised egg shell containing vanilla crème brûlée topped with a “yolk” of mango puree was presented in an egg carton with a stick of shortbread. Unfortunately, the dense biscuit ran out long before the tasty crème.
Finishing with coffee from Caravan, the smooth blend helped to curb our shivers and was the perfect end to an epic banquet. With its village atmosphere and community spirit, FEAST was an intimate alternative to larger festivals. Queues were brief and the choice of food, although somewhat predictable, was suitably varied. A quaint and endearing celebration, FEAST’s first birthday was as any one-year-old’s should be: enchanting and fun, with hints of even greater things to come!
Photos: Niki Shakallis
For further information about FEAST and future events, visit here.