Feast in the Fields brings happy vibes to Hackney
Within the maze of Hackney’s backstreets, behind the rail arches of London Fields and beyond the quaint little cafés with their al fresco pavement seats lies Feast in the Fields. The monthly gathering is a vibrant mix of street food traders, pop-up restaurants and live musicians. Approaching the revelry, a mouth-watering aroma fills the air and the sight ahead no longer resembles the UK: the bustling holiday atmosphere of the street-party-come-food-festival is distinctly otherworldly in the peaceful lanes of East London.
Held in the Brewhouse space of London Fields Brewery, a relaxed crowd spills out on to the street, holding pint glasses of the ale-makers’ creations (also available as gelato by Tomscoopery). London Fields Unfiltered Lager is crisp and light; Wheat Beer is slightly sweeter and tastes like a distilled bread loaf in a glass; Black Forest Stout and Black Path Porter have unmistakable chocolate and coffee aftertastes. Love Not War, made during the London riots of 2011, is an angry red ale with hints of strawberry. Shoreditch Triangle I.P.A has a surprising citrus and toffee flavour, while cask variety Hackney Hopster tastes like an exotic fruit tea infusion with a bitter edge.
The fruitier flavours go particularly well with Pork Pie, by dapper vendors What the Dickens: the filling of chopped pork shoulder tastes like Christmas ham, with notes of sage, thyme, nutmeg and allspice. Alternatively, pair a lager with their Kedgeree, balancing rich smoked haddock and delicately spiced rice. For intense heat, brave the Hot Wings from Thank Cluck, followed by any available beverage to contain the fire! The crunchy-coated chicken is deep-fried without being greasy and is smothered in a tangy, yet fiery, Korean sauce.
Bourguignon-style 17 Hour Braised Beef Cheek with Garlic & Mustard Mash from Jimmy’s Underground Pop-up Restaurant is a tender, melt-in-the-mouth triumph and cheesy, gluten free, Risotto Balls from Arancini Brothers are delectable on their own or with a sweet potato and chickpea stew, apple salad, crispy onions and sliced chilli; both dishes go well with the brewery’s ales.
Desserts are outstanding: You Doughnuts’ mini-sized buns have a wonderfully spongy texture but aren’t remotely stodgy. Freshly made to order, watching the pale coloured dough expand and begin to colour in the fryer is just as exciting as eating them – but only after the difficult decision of choosing toppings. The Rebel Bakery’s cupcakes are also divine, taking unusual ingredients and turning them into popular treats: green flecks in the Vanilla 99 sponge are courgette and their stunning Rebel Burger has a delightful chocolate pudding layer made with carrot!
Feast in the Fields is the place to be for anyone seeking a fun day out with fantastic food and a happy vibe. It has all the hallmarks of a typically British shindig, from brightly coloured bunting through to fine ales, but this is the pinnacle of urban escapism and well worth a visit if you fancy a brief holiday from London life without ever leaving the city.
Photos: Allie Suwanrumpha
For further information about Feast in the Fields at The Brewhouse, Railway Arches 369-370, Helmsley Place E8 3SB and future events visit here.