Street Feast

Dominic Cools-Lartigue’s concept of a night street food market, ‘Street Feast’ is proving to be incredibly popular. Since mid April, an empty storage lot in Dalston has been transformed into a busy food market every Friday night attracting thousands of hungry people.

 Dominic Cools-LartiguePhoto: Dominic Cools Lartigue by Street Feast

The opening night for this 3 month venture was a cold and raining April evening, yet this didn’t deter the crowds who were more than happy to brave the rain for some spicy ribs or mac’ cheese. It seems that Dominic and his crew have tapped into something and have turned a simple idea into a very successful venture.

 

Sowing the Seeds of Street Feast

Dominic has been organsing raves and parties in Hackney for over a decade. Always on the lookout for derelict disused spaces, he has developed a nose for good party spots and talent for  persuading the proprietors to let him make use of their space. (This is the part of the appeal of Street Feast, taking over an empty unofficial space gives the concept an edge.) Warehouse party promoting is risky business and Lartgue admits that with the birth of his son 4 years ago he needed to find something a little more stable with more social hours. His event promoting also brought him into contact with street food vendors who were starting to move beyond the festival circuit and populate local markets and festivals. He found that their down time was often the evening, as most of this work was daytime trading.

Why not create an evening event with food and music? Take the food from the festival and bring the festival to the food, creating an event around the increasingly popular street food vendors? Using his party skills and gathering his contacts Dominic put together the first Street Feast a year ago with just eight food vendors and a bar. The vibe was so electric that night that he was certain this was something that could work. The perfect utopian party, what rave culture was once all about, where people who have been scattered and divided by their various subcultures can unite around one common interest. Good affordable food. (Although the events do tend to attract a similar demographic, in theory everyone is welcome)

The Plot

Street Feast is open every Friday night at The Merchant Yard in Haggerston, Hackney until mid June. Each week different traders are invited to the site. As well as a huge bar, one of the buildings has been transformed into a temporary restaurant with up and coming young chef Ben Spalding cooking up a ‘Stripped back‘ set price menu every Friday.
They are also contributing to various local festivals. (Land of Kings, Land of Kids in Dalston)

 

Roots

London has seen somewhat of a Street Food revolution over the past 5 years. Gone are the days of greasy hamburgers and chips in a very soggy bun. The city has embraced a wave of chefs and entrepreneurs taking the best of street food from around the world and making it accessible from a small van or stall. A similar phenomenon has been happening on the other side of the pond in LA and New York where Food Trucks in parking lots have become the foodie hotspots for inspiring, affordable quality food from around the world.
In London Brick Lane is no longer the place for an average curry, on the weekends it is transformed in a street food mecca, markets such as Borough and Broadway are heaving with food vendors, festivals are as much about the food on offer as they are about the music. Is this desire to eat out of paper and plastic a product of the economic, climate, growing gastronomic curiosity? Whatever the reasons for its growing popularity street food is big.

An inspiration for Street Feast is surely San Francisco’s Street Food Fest started 3 years ago, bringing food vendors to the city’s Mission district. This is weekend daytime event with more of a family feel but a similar energy and essence is there.

 

Shoots

Keeping with the food theme, Dominic Cools-Lartigue has plans to publish a different more ‘palatable’ type of food magazine.
A new kind of food center in East London is also on the cards possibly giving Jamie Oliver’s Recipease a run for their money? We’ll be watching that space very closely!

Useful Stuff

www. streetfeastlondon.com

www.facebook.com/streetfeastlondon

 

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