I think we have already established that aside from my irrational love of cheese and plantain, I could never miss the jumble and calamity of a good market. Show me a food market, with beer and beats then, and it's as if all my loves are coming together in one sweet symphony and the stars are aligning to create an epic evening! I am a big fan of all things Street Feast and having already blogged about Model Market last year, I was super keen to get down to Hawker House before the doors closed this weekend.
Conveniently pitched up in a disused office building by Haggerston Overground Station (or rather inconveniently if you consider how unreliable the ginger line is during the weekend!), Hawker House is reminiscent of an illegal rave location! Its grotty urban staircase, crumbling and chipping its way up through three floors, each with bare concrete floors, raw festoon lighting, plastic classroom chairs, and make-shift banquet tables, all positively working together to give you a bite at the alternative dining scene that's oh so popular in London right now. Candles twinkle from gin bottles to offer ambiance, painted oil drums make for an inventive perch and old leather sofas allow you to sink into the spirit of it all. The building fills up quickly and the DJ's soon become muffled by the buzz of people all enjoying the spoils of this fantastically synchronised event...and I've not even mentioned the food & drink yet!
A hipster homage to a traditional Singaporean hawker centre, Hawker House hosts a taste sensational selection of food stalls, with my clear favourite still being Yum Bun - if only my belly could fit in whole basket of those deliciously soft steamed buns (the crispy shrimp buns are unquestionably to die for!). The sweet potato fries at Bleeker Burger were sublime, the tikka flat breads at Rola Wala were mouthwatering, and the sticky ribs at Smokestak were glazed sweet and meatalicious (though could've perhaps been a tiny bit more tender according to my dear South African friend whom we shall not question on her knowledge and love of all things meat!). I missed out on the supposedly legendary hot duck pastrami bagel from Duck 'n' Roll because my poor belly couldn't take it any more after all the aforementioned, but the mussel popcorn was certainly very interesting, especially with the black aioli, which I assume was created by squid ink. All in all, I was in culinary heaven and not down too much cash either, since every mini special came in at £3.50 - £4 per item!
A food binge wouldn't be complete without ample watering, so off we trot, buns in hand, to sample what all of the bars have to offer. Whiskey roulette was a hugely fun concept, with over 30 brands of fire water to choose from (suffice it to say, I didn't get involved here, but it looked great!), and Kamm's Spritz Bar sounded like an interesting blend of botanical's, but since I don't like Aperol, I thought I'd steer clear of that one too (truly fantastical vintage-kitsch minuscule bar set up the chap had though). We had an overpriced cocktail at the Rotary Bar (though I concede in retrospect, that maybe £10 for a whole pint is not that excessive!), but Milk & Honey was my shining beacon, with a great beer selection and more winning cocktails - Krombacher pilsner was a triumph at £4 per can, served in tumblers straight from the freezer!
Once again Street Feast, I applaud you for another fantastic show, I'm super happy to see a winter addition to the collective, and thank you for giving us more! I must say, I think prefer the open air summer venues because the buzz of people talking and frolicking gets soaked up in the air, but that's only really my incessant craving for fire pits on a balmy clear evening. I thoroughly enjoyed Hawker House and I'm over the moon that I was able to catch it, but I look forward to Dalston Yard and Model Market returning in May and April respectively. Watch this space for Shoreditch Yard too folks!
|Keralan Dal (£3.50): Beetroot, coconut & channa dal|
|Shrimp Bun (£4): Crisp prawns with green chilli sambal, lettuce and mayo|
|Yum Bun buns!|
|Cornetto of Mussel "Popcorn", Aioli (£4)|
|Scoopsy Daisy - ice cream parlour|