Chefs defying limitations of lockdown at Streatham Food Festival – until Sunday

By Jo Burnand

The Streatham Food Festival is back for its 12th year celebrating the huge range of food on offer in Streatham’s local bars, cafes and restaurants.

After a challenging year for independent eateries faced with both Covid and Brexit the festival will encourage food lovers to get back out and sample the delights on their doorstep.

It runs until the 10th of July and invites visitors to join in a food tour taking in over 40 venues. Guests can buy a taster of each establishment’s signature dish for under £7 and give each a score out of ten.

Maps and scorecards can be downloaded from www.streathamfoodfestival.com. Once you’ve collected at least three stamps completed scorecards must be sent to [email protected] to be in with a chance of winning £100 to spend at your favourite bar or restaurant.

The festival was started by local resident Mel Larsen in 2009 as a way of putting what was known as ‘the west end of South London’ on the capital’s food map. It has since grown from a one day offering into a week long event attracting thousands.

Not-for-profit organisation InStreatham took over the running of the festival in 2016 and in 2019 celebrated its 10th anniversary. Marlowe Estates are this year’s sponsors.

The festival spans from The Rookery gardens atop Streatham Common in the west, eastwards, passed art deco mansion blocks, former department stores and cinemas, on up towards Streatham Hill.

My tour began outside The Rookery Cafe where I devoured an enlivening minestrone of summer greens topped with a sharp luminescent pesto.

Belly full, I stumbled towards the heart of Streatham where skewered charred prawns and scallops lured me through the window of traditional Portuguese family-owned restaurant La Casita.

Returning for second helpings the next day I approached from the east finding myself in the family owned Nar Turkish Kitchen rolling tender flatbreads, or Lahmacun, laced with grilled lamb, parsley and onion. A glass of Turkish rosé in hand this Turkish street food from the 1950s proved with a sprinkling of lemon juice a memorable combination of opposites.

Next door at SW16 the homemade ravioli with beetroot purée in a sage, poppy seed and butter emulsion caught my curiosity. The care was there but it needed something to offset the butteriness.

A little further along The Hood’s shrimp and breadcrumb burger oozed a perfect blend of creamy and citrusy homemade tartare sauce.

I was able to meet up with Liz Barrette from InStreatham who took me to last year’s winners, Fish Tale. From his tiny shop off the main drag Masoud was offering line-caught sustainable fish from around the British Isles and delicious Cornish oysters which slipped down very easily.

The tour is a chance to taste authentic food thoughtfully prepared from all corners of the world and is a tale of how businesses have adapted during the pandemic and continue to do so as Brexit begins to pinch.

Pictured: Fish Tale’s Masoud with Jo Burnand

 


 

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