Review of 'Carnaby Street Eat Food Festival'

https://www.carnaby.co.uk/street-eat/

Ever since receiving an email about the Carnaby Street Eat Food Festival I had been debating whether or not to go. I was thinking it was going to be quite busy and probably not really all that cheap. I was right on the one point but not on the other.

The food festival saw a long set of picnic tables set up straight down the middle of Carnaby Street with the side streets having stalls from the local restaurants (a surprise to me) selling various “street food” items such as, of course, hot dogs, wraps, sushi, cookies, etc. One of the big draws in the warm weather was free Ice Lollies from “Popping Licks Ice Lollies” on a side street near the former site of “Chockywockydoodah” which were quite tasty (I tried “pink grapefruit” but there were also rhubarb and rasbperry, strawberry and elderflower, blueberry & pineapple, and mango & lime) with a large queue of people frantically completing the online form to get their free snack.

During our short visit we saw a few street performers including a Mexican Mariachi band who were getting ready to play behind us as we sat in deck chairs eating our free lollies. It was nice to see not only the seating at the picnic tables but also areas on the side streets where you could lounge on deck chairs or on artificial turf to enjoy the food. There were also several stands set up to play music.

As far as the food is concerned the stalls were understandably quite busy when we visited in the middle of the afternoon (the event was from 12 to 6 pm) but the queues were not as bad as you might expect. We settled on some beautiful kebabs from “Le Bab” (their restaurant is in Kingly Court; formed by chefs formerly of [/reviews/restaurants/england/london/mayfair/174|Le Gavroche]]) which were absolutely delicious - My chicken shish was marinaded for a long time before being grilled right at their stall then served in a homemade wrap with pickled vegetables and a delicious sauce. My companion tried the falafel wrap but was not as impressed (though that was also cooked fresh on the stand). At £6 and £5 respectively, we were pleasantly surprised it was not very expensive and, in fact, most stalls were selling dishes at around the same price range (except for a few of the seafood options…).

A few of the vendors with options available here:

  • Le Bab - As above.
  • Ugly Dumpling - Had the largest queues with a few sample dumplings on offer (at about £1 each).
  • Island Poke - One of my favourite recent lunch food discoveries in London. Here they were serving small bowls of their poke for £5.
  • Claw - Seafood options including lobster rolls. One of the more expensive stalls here.
  • Pizza Pilgrims - Offering single slices of their pizzas.
  • The Diner - American style burgers and chips. I had to stop for a “corndog” as you so very rarely find them in the UK…quite good, thank you.
  • Kua ‘Aina - Hawaiian burgers.
  • Inko Nito - Japanese robatayaki which is high on my list of next restaurants to visit in the area with it's funky restaurant just down the road.

These the ones that particularly stood out for me but, of course I missed loads of others here.

Sometimes it was a bit cramped with the stalls taking up a good amount of the available, narrow, road space…But, in any case, I was impressed with the reasonably priced dishes on offer and the fact that it was the local restaurants serving up dishes giving us a chance to try some of their food without having to have a reservation. The live entertainment and loads of seating really added to the event.

I was much more impressed than I thought I would be. Great, free, though relatively small, food festival in the heart of the city.

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-08-11



Carnaby Street

Location: London (England)

Address: Carnaby Street, London ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Oxford Circus

URL: https://www.carnaby.co.uk/

A funky pedestrian-only street with loads of trendy (not overly pricey) boutiques and restaurants (mostly found on Kingly Street or in “Kingly Court” with it's entrance off of Carnaby Street itself) two streets east of Regent Street just south of Oxford Circus . It is not just the one street but an area with side streets in all directions around it. Because of it's proximity to Soho and Regent Street it is often quite busy but it is worth a visit even if you are not interested in fashion. At the north end is the iconic Liberty store.