Over this last weekend we visited the Nottingham StrEAT market running over Friday-Sunday and the launch event the strEAT Bistro on the Saturday evening. The weekend’s activities were held in the Lace Market Square, which is just off Fletcher Gate and mere steps away from the Lace Market Tram Stop. The event was being organized by Tiger Community Enterprises and I had to admit a slight vested interest as I had bought a table for the evening bistro event as part of their crowdfunding campaign. I love street food and really am hoping that more of it can be brought to the city centre in Nottingham and so I was ever hopeful that this would be successful event.
The StrEAT bistro was held in the tent that had housed the market during the day and we knew that once it got dark it might be a bit chilly, after all it is November, so we came dressed for the occasion. Despite the poor attempts of the wind to try and blow us all off course we all had a lot of fun, ate some great food that together with the beer from Flipside Brewery helped to keep us warm. They had two barrels of beers on offer for us to try, and we did just that. Our favourite was the “Random Toss” described on their website as “A refreshing pale ale with lemon and lime tropical fruit flavours. Brewed using quality malt giving it a light golden colour”
The way it worked was that for our ticket we received vouchers for beer, starter, main, and desert that we could exchange with one of the four street food stalls that were catering the event. The vendors on the night were Hartland Pies, Cossack Cuisine, Porco, and Beccy’s Global Kitchen. As there were four of us, at first we made advanced plans to get a selection from each and then share, but in the end it did not quite work out that way.
I have a distinct bias towards the food from Porco having sampled this before in the Market Square (Read More Here) and there was no way on earth that I was going to pass up a chance to eat some more of Jez Poyser’s food.
The rest of my party were sucked in as well, but also to the bright lights and the generous and happy demeanor from the Cossack Cuisine stall. We have met the Cossack Cuisine team before over at the Bakewell Farmer’s Market (Read More Here).
So onto the most important part of the post, what did we eat and drink?
I picked my starter from the Porco Stall
I really wish that this picture could do true justice to just how good the Crispy Pickled Shitake mushrooms from Porco were. It was a bit dim in the marquee, so I had to enhance this photo slightly to even show you what is in the box, perhaps I should just rely on my ability to describe the food instead? I could have eaten about three boxes, but sadly I just had one, filled with a handful of richly pickled and panko crusted Shitake mushrooms, sweet and meaty would be the best summation of the taste and texture of the fungi filling. The mushroom was deep fried perfectly so that it was crunchy and not greasy.
After I had eaten them or rather after our table had dipped into my box and eaten them, I went back to Porco and had a slice of the pickled mushroom on its own and that was so tangy, so juicy, I wanted more, it was kind of like a sweet soy mixed with some sort of rice wine and sugar. I don’t know quite how to describe it with any kind of justice really. I couldn’t get the secret of the recipe, or if I did the Flipside beer has prevented my subsequent abilities to be able to recall from my memory to inform you properly. My advice is just to seek out Jez at Porco and try one.
This was just the starter, I was already thinking about my Porco Main!
More apologies, not just to your good self but also to Jez for my attempt to capture the beauty of his pulled pork dish in this photo. Having said that I just cannot capture the taste or the flavours in the photo either and lets be honest here that is the main thing that keeps us coming back for more is it not? What we actually have here is a whole load of 12 hour hickory smoked pulled pork shoulder, served up with garlic and rosmary sautéed potatoes, house baked beans and a selection of house pickles, I think that there was a spoonful of coleslaw thrown in there as well. The pork is perfectly tender and lightly smoked, it was juicy and the only thing wrong was that the whole box should have been filled with it, ok perhaps that would be a stretch. I was surprised how good the house baked beans were, they were a pretty good effort and I reckon that they could stand up to scrutiny against some of the BBQ beans I eat in the States. Those pan roasted potatoes were really good as well, but then they nearly always are.
The rest of my table were going Russian for the starter taking up the offering from the Cossack Cuisine stall, which was “Baltic Cod Fish cakes served with a gem lettuce leaf, and a cheese and watercress garlic dip”. This was a winner of a plate from start to finish. The batter surrounding the lightly salted cod chunks was neither soggy or too crisp, it had a great bite, I was surprised how moreish the dip was, it looked a bit messy but it was certainly tasty. The best way to eat this starter was to make little lettuce wraps of fish cake and dip. Not my first choice starter, but I did enjoy pinching everyone elses.
The Cossack Cuisine offering for the Main was the “Cossack Bread Bowl”. This came with a choice of fillings, the meat filling option was a ‘handcrafted artisan sausage bacon and bean stew’, there was a vegetarian option too but I wasn’t paying any attention to that. The bowl came with a ‘Russian Winter Salad’ which was described as a ‘colourful julienne of beetroot and ‘other’ crunchy vegetables in a vinaigrette marinade’, it also comes with a cucumber, lettuce, and rocket green salad with a small pot of citrus vodka dressing. As I had shared my Porco Pulled Pork, I also had a half of one of these bread bowls. I really liked the filling, the sausage was firm and flavoursome, and the beetroot was light pickled with just the right amount of tang, but I couldn’t eat all the bread.
Pretty much everyone I spoke to, not just at our table were smitten with the Russian Honey Gateaux with Cointreau fresh cream from Cossack Cuisine. I am not particularly a cake man, but even I was quite content to share a slice of this. It came with a “Russian Kiss”, which is apparently some sort of cream cheese biscuit treat. I never saw that bit of the plate, I think it was eaten by someone on the way back to our table.
This was a pretty good evening, good value for the money and well worth venturing out on a windy November evening for.We probably should have tried the other food, but there were a few teething problems and so it wasn’t all ready at the same time so we just got what we could get out hands on. It was pretty good though and we enjoyed everything that we ate.
I think that StrEAT have something else planned next month at the StrEAT event on the 6th, 7th, 8th of December to find out
For the record the full menu is on the StrEAT bistro event page and was as follows;