Food Slam, Liverpool

Think you know street food? Think again. Camp and Furnace hosts weekly food slam events - think nightclub, think cocktails, think hot food - that will make you rethink what dining is all about.

Running on Friday nights every week until the early hours, Food Slam is a street food tasting session in a clubbing context. It’s all about sampling, whether that’s the music or the wares, but the emphasis is on a chilled-out atmosphere so don’t worry about ear plugs.

What’s cooking depends on who’s in town and there’s a changing rota of street food vendors on show. Liverpool’s best purveyors of nosh roll up here, so you can expect Lebanese fast food to rub shoulders with hot dogs, Mexican spice, curries and Asian cuisine. Expect the unexpected too - oysters and langoustine are just as likely to feature on the menu as a dirty burger.

Usually featuring three stalls - and dishes at around seven pounds each - you can realistically sample something from everyone. Just make sure you leave enough room at lunchtime - and don’t leave it too late: Food Slam’s popularity means that the best dishes run out long before the 2am closing time. 

You’ll want something to wash it down with and along with the exotics cocktails on offer at Food Slam events, there’s a wide range of craft beers. Camp and Furnace even has its own beer - the hoppy, robust Brown Bear - brewed exclusively for sale in the venue.

Hosted in Liverpool’s trendy Baltic Triangle, Food Slam takes place in the vast Furnace area - a repurposed foundry with indoor trees, long communal trestle tables and a buzzy atmosphere. Imagine a thrumming street market, but indoors so the weather can’t ruin the fun. 

Next door is the Camp - another expansive place dotted with caravans to relax in. Expect live music or rockaoke - where you can sing your heart out to the backing of a live band. 

Nearby Constellations has a huge beer garden - perfect for enjoying a beer in summer - and there are new hangouts springing up all the time in the area, offering live music and a cool place to hang out. 

Camp and Furnace also offers regular Glam Food Slam events on Saturdays - serving up the best posh food the region has to offer - not to mention Sunday Roasts to cap your weekend. That’s assuming you need feeding after Friday night.

Image credit: © VIEW Pictures Ltd / Alamy

The Boiler Shop Steamer, Newcastle

Held on the first weekend of every month, The Boiler Shop Steamer is a celebration of great food, drink and music that is causing a storm in Newcastle. Held in Stephenson’s Boiler Shop, just behind Newcastle Central Station and the birthplace of George Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive, this is one of the places to be seen in a city full of trendy spots. 

Most importantly the food - provided by local suppliers and catering for a range of culinary tastes and showcasing plenty of street dishes - is superb. Fancy a Feastie Boys box from The Hip Hop Chip Shop with triple-cooked chips, fish bites and a side of mushy peas? How about a delicious treat from The Doughnut Guy to follow? Or great burgers, sizzling meat off the grill, pizza, fusion grub… you get the picture. Basically, turn up hungry and leave plenty of room for seconds. 

The Steamer’s central location means you are spoiled for choice when you decide to move the night on. You’re close to The Telegraph pub if you decide to go low-key and only a stonebaked pizza’s throw away from Newcastle’s Bigg Market area and the slightly more reserved Quayside. Looking for recommendations for your nightcap? Try the Pleased To Meet You gin bar just off Grey Street.

The folks behind the Steamer are not ones for standing still. Building on the success of their monthly Friday and Saturday evening events, they’ve introduced a new Sunday Steamer from noon until 10pm. It’s a chance to enjoy an epic roast, complete with all the trimmings - once again accompanied by live music and fine beer.

The Street Food Chef Company, Sheffield

The Street Food Chef Company began life with stalls at festivals and events around South Yorkshire. But their superb Mexican food proved such a hit that they opened two permanent eateries - the Mexican Canteen on Arundel Street and the Burrito Bar on Pinstone Street. 

The canteen is a small restaurant with a self-service fridge for the cervezas you’ll want to complement your food. Take a seat and enjoy classically latin decor and tunes in one of the most chilled atmospheres in Sheffield. 

The burrito bar is takeaway-only with a reduced menu, but great for a quick bite when you’re looking for lunch without the fuss and relative expense of a sit-down experience. 

The Street Food Chef folk still work the beat at events around the region, so watch out for their fiery phoenix logo, a nice forewarning of the spiciness to come - especially if you order the super-hot salsa. 

The emphasis here is on ultra-fresh ingredients, including locally sourced meat delivered direct to the company from a nearby farm. Moss Valley Fine Meats bring in the pork which goes into the company’s trademark burritos. It’s slow-cooked, stripped of its skin for mouth-watering crackling, pulled and spiced. Beautiful. 

As well as pork varieties another favourite is the beef brisket burrito. Order it with the spice set to ‘hot’ and you might want to get some cooling guacamole and salad with that. 

There’s a veggie option for everything and a simple menu centring on tacos, nachos and those irresistible burritos. Plates and quesadilla, plus an extended range of drinks, are on offer at the canteen. 

Portions are generous and the ratio of beautifully cooked meat to trimmings is just right; combine that with friendly staff and it’s no wonder the Street Food Chef’s eateries are rated amongst the best in the city. 

If you aren’t content with enjoying great Mexican food at your own pace, you can always step up to a glory-or-bust-your-gut challenge. Head to the Street Food Chef’s canteen to test your munching mettle by taking on a 3.5lb burrito against the clock. Eat the lot in 60 minutes or less and you’ll make the Wall of Fame. Fail and your mugshot will only be fit for  the Wall of Shame. It’s all good fun and either way you’re unlikely to go home hungry. 

Jones and Son, Edinburgh

Street food might be having a moment right now, but some fast food is more equal than others. The sight of a Jones and Son bespoke barbecue, however - with real-life father and son clad in retro work gear, working up a sweat around a wooden charcoal barbecue - is a sure sign that you’re on to a winner. 

What’s the big deal? Well, Jones and Son make their smokers themselves. As if it’s not enough that the food is home-cooked, the ovens are homemade too. You want proof? Ask nicely and they’ll make one for you. 

A big part of Edinburgh’s thriving street-food scene, the pair decided to branch out from making their bespoke smokers into food. The trick? They keep it simple. No restaurant, no premises and few overheads beyond the ingredients and fuel. 

So what about the food? Yes there’s pulled pork. Of course there’s pulled pork - locally-sourced, cherry-wood smoked for 15 hours in a secret spice rub and served on a bun from Edinburgh’s Manna House Bakery. Try it with slaw, chilli jam or corn on the cob - and make sure you ask for some deliciously naughty crispy bits for extra bite. There are chicken wings and ribs too - and if you can manage it, try one of the homemade pulled pork pasties. 

Try to leave some room for dessert - kick the healthy living into touch and go for chocolate brownies and key lime pie. And while pitmaster Toby (the ‘son’ of the duo) is happy to talk shop, he’s unlikely to divulge all of his secrets. Console yourself with a jar of Jones and Son burnt onion chutney, chili jam or Carolina hot sauce.  

By the very nature of street food, menus change with the seasons and they’re likely to be here, there and everywhere in Edinburgh and surrounding areas so your best bet is to check their social media channels to make sure you catch them. All the same, they can often be found at the city’s Tram Stop markets.  

Track them down and Jones and Son are one family affair for which your taste buds will be forever grateful.

Image credit: © The Picture Pantry / Alamy

 

 

 

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