st. anne’s church
June 7th, 2014
The Soho Food Feast was set up in 2011 by Margot Henderson, to support Soho Parish Primary School. The school is in the heart of Soho and often has a funding gap of about £40, 000. The Food Feast is a weekend event, held in St. Anne’s Churchyard and supported by local restaurants. This year it cost just under £20 per ticket and rations of food from some of the best chefs in London could be had for a £2 food ticket (bought in advance, inside the event). I was quite taken aback, while purchasing £10 worth of tickets, when one of the school teachers thanked me personally for helping to provide the school with a new playground!
the wright brothers
Everyone was a little anxious this week, as the weathermen had forecast rain for Saturday. Extra preparations were made, including a second marquee, but as luck would have it, the rain stopped at 11.30 and we had a lovely sunny day. As you can see above, The Wright Brothers had to protect their Jersey Oysters from the sun rather than the rain.
The first thing to grab my attention was Brasserie Zédel, who occupy the space vacated by the Atlantic on Sherwood Street. They are known for being a proper brasserie in London with a prix fix menu.
I spotted their home baked bread and light fluffy brandade de morue – salt cod mixed with mashed potato, garlic, cream and olive oil – definitely one of my foodie high points of the day.
The French theme continued with Blanchette’s novel croque monsiere.
maltby & greek
Maltby and Greek, import Greek food wine and oil, specialising in bottarga (cured fish roe).
They were offering little Greek “tapas” to suit whatever you were drinking.
Quo Vadis had a table full of little beef and chutney buns (all made in house) and some French bean and rockets salads.
Blacks came with tray loads of Scotch eggs,
black pudding scotch eggs
made with black pudding, of course!
Natoora is a shop specialising in good quality natural ingredients.
Their sliced ham was excellent
and their beautiful red tomatoes grabbed my attention inside the marquee, where most colours were slightly muted.
I Camisa and Son is one of the few remaining Italian delicatessen left in Soho. Their table was loaded with focaccia sandiches
mozzarella and olives
and tiny little mozzarella balls with olives.
Chipotle, who are a chain, still manage to step up and support the local community – look at that enthusiasm.
The tacos are pretty good and their killer Margaritas were quite a liquid high spot at the feast, this year and last!
bocca di lupo
Jacob Kenedy’s award winning Bocca di Lupo, kindly gave us
a delicious spicy arrabbiata pasta with chillis, tomatoes and tart parmesan cheese.
dean street townhouse
The Dean Street Townhouse provided one of the most talked about dishes
- the twice-baked smoked haddock soufflé. Oli said he’d been to the restaurant especially for one of these during the previous week and it cost quite a bit more than the £2 ticket. The soufflé was absolutely delicious.
andina and ceviche
Andina and Ceviche had adjoining stalls, which is not surprising since they are both Peruvian restaurants founded by Martin Morales.
Andina had a quinoa burger
and Ceviche had their special Don Ceviche – seabass ceviche in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk, limo chilli, sweet potato and red onions. They also had a Ceviche drinks stall with a fantastic Pisco Sour.
Brindisa were serving a traditional Catalan dish of butifarra with a white bean stew and allioli.
charcuterie and chillis
They also had a separate stall opposite, with chacuterie
raw milk manchego
and manchego cheese made from raw milk.
the st. john
The St. John were cooking their
famous ox heart on the barbecue, served in little buns from the St. John Bakery.
school of wok
The School of Wok, providers of “Asian Cookery lessons for people who want to know their pak choi from their choi sum”
had me convinced of their skills with these succulent sticky ribs.
the fresh olive company
The Fresh Olive Company and Belazu (run by the same people) had a big queue,
which is not surprising when you taste their beautiful olives.
Bateman 21 specialise in
souvlaki – literally skewers of fresh meats, vegetables and cheese, wrapped up in Greek flat bread, warmed on the grill.
Copita, who specialise in tapas, were cooking pulpo gallego – a Galician dish of boiled octopus with potato and sprinkled with pimentón – here they’d mixed the pimentón with mayonnaise.
crayfish on the griddle
They also had some beautiful fresh crayfish cooked on the griddle.
In the UK Signal Crayfish (from America) threaten our indigenous White-claw Crayfish and therefore can be trapped and eaten (with permission) as a conservation measure!
48 hour cooked beef
Steak specialists Flat Iron slow cooked Irish beef sous vide (under a vacuum) for 48 hours and finished it off on the barbecue.
Served here with hand pounded horseradish.
beef and horseradish
I half expected the beef to fall apart, but in spite of the long cooking, it was very tender and retained some chew, which is what I like. I was exceptionally jealous of Flat Iron’s beautiful 3 foot chopping board, but I just couldn’t convince them to let me have it for two food tokens.
Foxlow (an offshoot of Hawksmoor) cooked pork belly in thick bacon slices
slow cooked beef
and slow smoked beef,
pork and beef
then built a large sandwich with the two, along with some salad.
pork and beef
As you can see, they had to roll it tight in paper to keep it all together.
pork and beef sandwich
It was quite something with all that smokey barbecue flavour.
Hix had the usual salmon and seasonal vegetables, not to mention a very deep foodie debate.
Lina Stores (a traditional Italian delicatessen in Soho since 1944), had
the most exquisite pasta at the feast.
pasta with sage
They warmed each portion separately in olive oil before sprinkling a little parmesan on top. It was absolutely delicious!
Koya were cooking up a storm.
The precision involved in making the omelette with chopsticks in a square frying pan is amazing. Thin layers are poured into the pan and the chef skilfully flicks it upwards to roll a rectangular cake.
The dashimaki tamago (omelette left) was sliced and served with kayaku onigiri (rice cooked with chicken and vegetables in a seaweed wrapper).
Terroirs had a huge dish of cooked green peppers, stuffed with soft white cheese.
stuffed pepper with anchovy
These were served simply with an anchovy.
Mestizo is an authentic Mexican restaurant, not to be confused with Tex Mex cuisine, which is what most people think of as Mexican (Tex Mex could be described as an amalgamation of North Mexican cuisine with Texan farmhouse and cowboy fare).
rajas con crema
I particularly noticed the rajas con crema (strips of poblano pepper in a sweet corn and onion cream sauce)
pollo con mole
and pollo con mole (shredded chicken in tomato, onion and chipotle chile sauce).
salt cod fritter
The Union produced another of my absolute favoutites,
salt cod fritter with allioli
a salt cod fritter with allioli. It was like fried brandada – what a great idea! I asked them where they source their bacalao and they said they make it themselves – I was very impressed.
Duck Soup made a wonderful stand out vegetable fritter, which looked like a green pea peanut brittle.
vegetable fritter with tahini yoghurt and sumac
It came with tahini yoghurt and sumac.
Our compere for the day was Phil Dirtbox, who probably is the voice of Soho.
I failed miserably to take pictures of any of the people who provided the drink. I previously mentioned Chipotle and Ceviche, but we also had marvellous service from The French House, The Travelling Gin Company and Kamm and Sons with their hilarious Punch and Judy.
We went for a wine tasting with Trevor at the St. John wine stall, but he insisted on sharing a bottle of white wine with us instead…
The Soho Food Feast 2013
The Soho Food Feast 2011