After my holiday I was left feeling a bit out of the loop on the food front in Leeds. Belgrave Street Feast came to the rescue however, returning last Saturday for yet another fabulous monthly installment celebrating independent street food vendors, breweries, local artists and music.
Having eaten from the majority of the traders there were a few new showcasing this month, one of which I was really looking forward to try (to see the full lineup click here).
I had been eyeing up the food from Discovery Bay. These guys are better known for their restaurant serving up traditional Caribbean food in their restaurant in Huddersfield. With their business leading to ventures all over the place, they also embark on setting up camp as a street food business.
Venturing over to their stall we could feel the love spilling its way through the crowd. Head chef Barrington Douglas smile was radiating across the room. Lots of friendly talk and interest led to some sampling of the food.
On offer were two different wraps. Tortillas topped with crunchy white cabbage and onion and then either a portion of their Jamaican Jerk Chicken or their Caribbean Sweet Pumpkin Curry.
I was with a vegetarian friend and we both wanted to share one of their wraps. I wanted to try a bit of jerk chicken on the side so asked if this was possible. A little bit of confusion occurred and we ended up with both curries served as one wrap. They saw the horror on my friends face and quickly made up a fresh vegetarian wrap without batting an eyelid. Not letting us pay any more than £5 we ended up with both wraps to eat.
For me these guys epitomise what street food is all about. It doesn't necessarily translate to money and making dolla but it's all about making sure everyone is happy, the vibe is right and people understand you and your food.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our wraps and went crazy with the HOT sauce they had, alarmingly red in its colour, which had a great chilli hit.
The jerk chicken was moist and flavourful, blackened from the sweet rub and skillet pan, just how it should be. The sweet pumpkin curry was tangy, spicy and robust in its seasoning. Both were extremely satisfying and a nice little change to the usual street food fair on offer.
Moving on to round #2 we went for a bao from one of the Belgrave's in-house vendors Fu Schnikens. These are Taiwanese street food called Guo Bao consisting of steamed dumplings which are usually filled with pork belly.
In the last five months that they have been on offer I have never managed to get round to ordering one to myself (I don't even know why myself?). Having a tried a nibble here and there, I had been hankering for one of their portabello glazed mushroom bao's for a while.
At the last month's street feast they had a salmon special on and I was hoping it would be back on this time. Unfortunately not! They did still however have their three regular bao's on which were more than enough to please me.
We ordered two of the Portabello Mushroom Bao's for £6. I think this is quite a steep price personally but we were still willing to pay it.
The bao's came topped with pickled mooli, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and hoisin sauce. The mushrooms were firm, beefy and there was no need for meat here. Chomping into these little fluffy dumplings we were very happy with the taste indeed. Lots of rich Asian flavours soaring through and the firm texture of the mushroom made it a substantial light bite to eat.
Needing a little bit of a break, we settled up for a pint of the Ilkley Brewery Tour de France ale which was on cask at the bar. Marie Jaune is the name, a blonde biere at 4.5% brewed with French hops and French yeast. Designed to commemorate Le Tour and showcase Yorkshire brewing, this is going to be a big hit in bars in the run up to Le Grand Depart taking place in Leeds on July 5th.
Perfect timing if you ask me. By this point Ginger's Comfort Emporium were back up and running after selling out as we had arrived. Usually served from an ice cream van (in the picture below), they serve ice cream for grown ups in brioche buns and several other wonderful desserts.
With a more simple set up at the street feast, only ice cream was on offer but that did not translate to being a bad thing.
We shared a scoop of their Plum, Gin and Juniper ice cream (£.2.50) which was served in a little pot with a waffle ice cream cone placed on top. I loved their way of serving it. Simple yet effective and made for a good sharing portion without having to swap a load of saliva!
With two mini spoons we stuck in. Super creamy and subltely sweet. The flavours of the plum came through and the gin and juniper gave it a good distant flavour to anything I have ever tasted in an ice cream before. The cone was also great... a proper ice cream cone! Waffle style and none of this cardboard wafer business.
Feeling very satisfied and well-fed we spent a few hours just lapping up the atmosphere inside the Belgrave. The rain was on the verge of torrential outside and was not giving any signs of letting up. With a slice of Dough Boys Pizza, their basic Silvio (£2 a slice), we prepped for the rain and soggily squelched our way home.
The next street feast is on Saturday 14th June at the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen in Leeds. It's going to be a Brazilian themed special with lots of street food traders speciailising in South and Latin American food, as well as a few extra surprises and the chance to watch the Brazil football match on the big screen upstairs.
See you there?