#FoodCrawlLDN: BOXPARK Shoreditch

One of my favourite pastimes in London is trying out various different foods in one sitting. I call this a food crawl; a bar crawl but better. It involves going to different eateries and trying something at each one, with friends who also love food.  I did it at the Cheese Project, I’ve now done it at Boxpark and also in Soho (that blog post is coming soon!

Having done our first food crawl in Soho, after meaning to see the Lumiere Festival, I rounded up Yuen and Mallika, my favourite food crawl partners, for a trip to Boxpark Shoreditch.

Boxpark is full of pop-up eateries and stores selling everything from novelty socks to interactive bucket lists and even Korean skincare products. The main attraction for me anywhere is always the food, and as soon as we arrived I made a beeline for the top floor, where a lot of the food popups were.

The most memorable thing we ate, in my opinion, were the Guaca-Fries!

Guacafries are a glorious gastronomic invention. Crispy wedges and grilled halloumi with generous dollops of the freshest guacamole and lashings of hot sauce; what’s not to love? I’ll definitely be seeking out Poptata’s guacafries at the next food market I’m at. They were as memorable as Oli Baba’s halloumi fries.

The dog and cat this video gave me some serious Nosteagia (geddit) for traditional stores in Hong Kong and egg waffle stands in popular street corners. The blessing cat (and dog) are frequently located within sight of the entrance to bring wealth and prosperity to the buyer and seller.

Our food outing at Nosteagia was certainly very prosperous. We got to create our own bubble waffle – a matcha waffle with Thai milk tea ice cream, Nutella, coffee jelly and a chocolate chip cookie!

In my opinion, Nosteagia is much better than Bubblewrap waffle in Chinatown, one because there’s no queue and two because their flavour combinations are amazing, and you can create your own! The overall quality of the ingredients is better too.

And finally, Soft Serve Society. When I told people of my plans to visit Boxpark, many emphatically encouraged me to make sure Soft Serve Society was on my food crawl list. I’m glad they did! I was lucky enough t be one of the last few to get their limited weekly special, the tiramisu sundae. Yuen got her favourite; matcha, and Mallika adventurously tried charcoal coconut. They were all amazingly smooth and rich flavours, and I’d definitely go back to try them all again. Mallika thought her ice cream looked like cement, which it did, but there are some things you just do for the ‘gram. 😂

And of course, no trip to Shoreditch is complete without taking artsy photos of graffiti.

And famous London landmarks like The Gherkin.

Thanks for reading! If there are any food markets, restaurants or popups in London that I should try, please comment below or DM me on Instagram @itsagidlife. Happy eating!

The London Cheese Project

Date: 4th November 2017

Location: Geffrye Museum

SAY CHEESE!

That’s exactly what we did, exactly one month ago. I really do need to get better at uploading posts more frequently. I’ll probably write it in my New Year Resolutions and forget about it.

So without further ado, let me take you on a journey through one of my favourite days in London; an experience of gastronomic proportions (literally).

I recently started my new job in London, which technically isn’t in London right now as I spend the working week in Bath. So because my friends felt they’d never see me again, we bought tickets to the Cheese Project so that could see me eating cheese for an entire day.

After getting lost on the tube, we waited in the rain (standard) with our pre-bought tickets which essentially meant we could enter a small field and eat free samples of everything.

But we figured sticking to free samples would be boring. SO, we decided to spend all of our money on cheese and cheese food stalls.

On the direct left of the entrance, was the one and only CHEESE TRUCK!

This was literally the best cheese sandwich I had ever tasted. With melt-in-your-mouth jalapeno queso, soft ciabatta and juicy, tender chorizo (sorry vegetarians!), it was the best thing I ate that day, probably because by the end of the day I was so stuffed I essentially became a blob of cheese.

I’m about to share a very embarrassing, unflattering photo that will hopefully underscore my point; that this was literally the best cheese sandwich ever:

Attractive. I am that.

Photo credits: Sonali Gidwani | @itsagidlife

Oli-Baba’s: The Original Halloumi Fries!

I had definitely seen videos on Facebook of Oli-Baba’s, but I didn’t expect them to be at a festival surrounded by posh English cheese. This was certainly the highlight of our day! Oli-Baba’s claims to have brought original halloumi fries to London, and to the world.

Photo credits: Sonali Gidwani | @itsagidlife

The cheese is fried perfectly, it’s not too rubbery and not too soft; and somewhat resembles Indian cottage cheese (paneer). The batter around the cheese is well-seasoned and is drizzled with za’atar yoghurt and pomegranate molasses, as well as pomegranate, coriander and chili flakes. It was genuinely one of the most flavourful things I have eaten at  a market. Oli-Baba’s is frequently based at Camden Market, so I’m really excited to go by their stall again.

Photo credits: Sonali Gidwani | @itsagidlife

The Mac Factory London

Return of the Mac! It had been a while since I’d eaten mac ‘n’ cheese, so I was super excited for this one. We were extremely full from sampling cheese, as well as from the grilled cheese sandwiches and halloumi fries, but we couldn’t skip a food stall!

By this point, as we were extremely full, we decided to buy one thing at each stall and share it. But even then, we struggled to eat. We couldn’t turn down what BuzzFeed termed “the best mac and cheese ever”, so we went with their classic, topped with fried cheese bits. Needless to say, it was heaven.

Photo credits: Aayushi Sharma

All mac and cheese should be oozing with sauce and topped with crunchy cheese and breadcrumbs. Despite being absolutely stuffed, we did end up fighting over the food:

Video credits: Sonali Gidwani | @itsagidlife

Raclette Brothers

Video credits: Gunjan Bhargava

Just when we thought we couldn’t eat enough, I spotted the Raclette Brothers stall on the other side of the field. With a speed that was unknown to people who had stuffed themselves with cheese, I sprinted over to the line that was forming around their stall.

I have a lot of childhood memories associated with raclette cheese. My mother used to buy it from a specialty grocery shop every once in a while, and she’d melt in in the grill for a few minutes, on top of baby potatoes and pieces of soft baguette. She’d then top it with small white onions, gherkins and cayenne pepper. The food at the stall reminded me of warmth, comfort and home. I was extremely nostalgic and overly excited as the Raclette Brother’s scraped the cheese onto our tray.

Needless to say, I got my friends on the raclette hype as well.

The Blue Caribou Canteen

This may come as a shock to many, but I have never been a big fan of poutine. However, this one was pretty good! The curdled cheese wasn’t rubbery, the mushroom gravy wasn’t overpowering and the fries weren’t soggy – so I guess that’s a good start?

I did end up enjoying this poutine much more than I did the first time I tried it, so I guess it’s one of those things that I’ll have to acquire a taste for.

All in all, I had a fabulous time and I’m over the moon that I got to spend the day eating my favourite food item in one of my favourite cities with my favourite people!