24 June 2017
I’ve lived in Streatham Hill for over two years now but, with the exception of the train station, I can probably count the amount of times that I have been into actual Streatham on my fingers. And it would be debatable as to whether I would need more than one hand. I usually end up in Brixton and Clapham instead. But whenever I do go into the town I always spot places that I mean to go back to. So when my friend suggested going to Streatham Food Festival this weekend I was game. If there are two things in this world that I love then it’s food and convenience – and this would tick both boxes. I’m not sure how this festival has managed to escape my notice for the past two years.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The festival programme listed several places that were getting involved by serving up special dishes at cheaper prices and I half expected them to have stands in the street. It turned out that they didn’t. Instead, you went into each restaurant and ordered off their special food festival menu, which consisted of a few small plates. The idea is that you go to several so you can try lots of different things and different places. It’s kind of like ordering tapas, but getting each dish from a different restaurant. You even get a card which you get stamped at each place. If you get three stamps then you can enter a prize draw. I’m not sure what the prize was and I forgot to get my stamp in our third and final stop.
Our first stop was Deli Lama, at the other end of Streatham, opposite Streatham Station and the big Tesco. We picked it for its vegan options but, being the only meat eater in my party, I went for the pork belly bites for £3.50, whilst my friends ordered the jerk tofu stew for £5.
We sat outside and were served pretty quickly. I got 3/4 pieces of pork, which was very nice (I could have eaten more), and my friends were equally happy with their stews. They were warned beforehand that they were quite spicy and one of my friends managed to make the people inside laugh after she ate something she was warned not to as it would be too hot.
El Chico’s made it onto my to-do list before I even moved to Streatham. I used to have a friend who lived round here and she told me I had to go. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. Their festival menu consisted of nachos with all the trimmings (salsa, cheese, sour cream and guacamole) (£4), BBQ ribs (£5) or chicken or veggie tacos (£5). My attention was immediately drawn to the ribs but, under the watchful eyes of my vegan and veggie companions, I figured I’d go for the nachos instead. I do love some good nachos. Besides, I had just had pork AND, without thinking, I’d had brunch at F Mondays in Brixton – where I’d ordered a ham, cheese and pickle toastie – before we even hit the festival (not the smartest idea but I couldn’t regret it – those are my favourite sandwiches in all of London). So I could forgo meat this once.
It was the wrong decision. My nachos were fine but I needed bigger servings of toppings (which you may well get if you order from the full, everyday menu). My friends had the cajun vegetable tacos (the two vegans ordered theirs without cheese) and they seemed happier with their choices. My vegetarian friend was accidentally brought the tacos from the normal menu instead of the festival one – and those really did look great. It seems I cannot tick El Chico’s off my to do list just yet.
Streatham Wine House
Feeling nice and full, our final stop was Streatham Wine House. This place is located where Ilili Lebanese Cafe used to be. I was gutted when that restaurant closed. It was often quite quiet when I went in there but the food was delicious. However, if anything was going to replace it, I was happy with a wine house. And when I went there, I realised I was pretty happy with this exact wine house.
The atmosphere was chilled and relaxed and we crashed out on some comfy sofas at the back. We saw people sampling wines in flights of three glasses and the festival menu consisted of glasses of wine, paired with a little snack – like cheese or even popcorn. However, since there was four of us and this was our last stop, we decided to just go straight for a bottle, particularly as they were serving these with a 25% discount. We ordered the cheapest bottle of white – a rioja for £19.50. It was tasty. So we ordered another. This was my favourite discovery of the day.