Merry-making, festivals and food.
I overheard someone saying, "The British love a festival.". As I frequent many a festival, this seems legit. The Oxford English Dictionary pertains to the act of merry-making, which correlates with my experience of festivals this summer. i.e. consumption of tasty beverages, listening to a few bangers, and eating some good street food.
And merry I was on Saturday night, at Urban Night Feast, a food festival tucked away in an old warehouse behind Newcastle Central Station. I can only blame Wylam Brewery for that, supplying their excellent Collingwood Ale (4.1%) and guest beers from Thornbridge including their chocolatey stout, Saint Petersburg (7.4%).
So Mark Hix's Fish Dogs have become a regular appearance at food festivals, but somehow the second time round just didn't deliver. It must have been the Hix x Rib Guy collab the first time round that I loved. God, I love a collab. By that I mean a genuine attempt to combine creative forces, not just stick a Supreme logo on it. Rib Guy allegedly sold his 200kg of ribs in one evening, so I missed out there. Their brainchild was the Holy F*ck Fish Dog, a fish finger, with minted mushy peas, smothered in Holy F*ck Tartare Sauce. There's also the fact that other stalls go the extra mile with their rolls, such as B.O.B.'s Lobster, where they make a sort of savoury brioche roll, which must have milk in the dough.
N.B. As a new food blogger, I'm still learning to stop, take a photo, then eat it, so just assume where there is no photo that the food was so good I had to scoff it down.
A familiar face from Brick Lane Feast, now on tour in Newcastle, was Fundi, the wood-fired pizza people. I was keen to refresh my memory to see how they compared to Pizza Pilgrims' gas-fired oven, after having rated them highly at Bestival and Guy's Quad Feast. Fundi seem to know how to get in my good books; they use Strianese San Marzano tomatoes (my favourite), and I'm a sucker for anything smokey. So yes, I do prefer Fundi to Pizza Pilgrims, but both are excellent.
Pla's Asian Kitchen caught my eye, with their pork buns. The pork was perfectly tender and dosed in a plum sauce, which perhaps was a tad overpowering, though I do normally like plum sauce and cucumber. In terms of steamed pork buns, they're not a patch on Bao, who made an appearance at Guy's Quad Feast. I could happily eat their deep fried milk buns with pulled pork all day long.
I think one of the food highlights of the night was The Broad Chare's Scotch Egg. They had a beautifully crisp crust, a meaty mantle, and a rich egg core (Yes! geography). They successfully broke my ban on Scotch eggs, having heard people talking about how good they were. They should probably call them something else, as they're not worthy of a name which brings with it such bland associations.
So I ended the night with a local haunt of mine, The Fat Hippo. Their restaurant in Jesmond, Newcastle always serves up top, hand ground burgers (I recommend the Texas BBQ), but at Urban Night Feast it was their milkshakes I wanted, the PB&JD specifically. Sounds pretty horrible, but tasted amazing. God bless America (in a sort of aww bless, they put Jack in their milkshakes kinda way).
Ok, that was a lie. I actually ended the night at The Bacchus. The lure of a smoked porter is irresistible to me. Here is a photo of it. It was no Schlenkerla Marzen, but that could well be down to my cold, which is why I'm sat in my bedroom writing this, instead of smashing trebles on an impromptu night out.