Berwick Street Food

First of all, before you read this post I must apologise to Pizza Pilgrims and Banh Mi 11 here.  I started this blog the day Pizza Pilgrims started at Berwick Street and it has taken me this long to finish it.   As a consequence, although I may have, in theory, been one of the first people to visit and write about them, I am, in fact one of the last (sorry Cheese & Biscuits).  Poor show and blooming lazy on my part.  The End.

Berwick Street has always been known for its fruit and vegetable market, but recently I have noticed other food stalls are creeping in.  With food stalls and collectives spouting all over the places (see EatSt at King’s Cross and Netil Street in Hackney and as well as the Long Table – and I’m sure there are many I don’t know about), it was only a matter of time before they crept in here.  In fact Banhmi11 had relocated from Kings Cross to Soho.  Sorry EatSt.  Brilliant news for us office workers though.  Lunchtimes are looking up.

I had read about Pizza Pilgrims on Twitter and in my haste arrived a day before their first outing – I was sad, yes.  But BanhMi11 were there to look after me.  I had never experienced Banhmi before (possibly the only person in London by the sounds of it) and smells were incredible.  These are Vietnamese sandwiches, but the title ‘sandwich’ seems to short change them. With a list of fillings stretching from Catfish to pork to chicken and beef it was a tough decision but I decided to go for the beef which was cooked to order, so took a little longer than the stuff that was already done (only 3 or 4 mins though).  Other options are a lovely fresh Vietnamese rice noodle salad and beef pho, with broth cooked for 72 hours and with handmade noodles (next on my list).  My meat of choice was tucked into a soft baguette (don’t know where they get their bread from but it doesn’t take the roof of your mouth off like some other baguettes  – I’m looking at you Pret).   Added to this was fresh carrots, cucumber, coriander and some lovely hot sauce, it was utterly divine.  A sandwich that was light (yes, I said light), rather than sitting in your stomach all afternoon like a brick.  I polished it off in minutes and could easily have eaten another one – just because I’m like that.  [If you’re in South London tomorrow – Saturday 21 April – go and see them at Venn Street Market next to Clapham Common tube.  I SAID GO!]

The newest chaps on the block though are Pizza Pilgrims – who cook pizzas to order from the back of an authentic pizza oven installed in the back of a Ape van (it’s Italian for bee, which gives you an idea of how compact it is).

It’s was first week (Tuesday being day 2) and I was greeted by a cheery blackboard sign proclaiming ‘It’s our first week. Play nice!’

The selection on offer is small, but specials vary daily (think wild garlic, red onion, etc)  – Margherita, Njuda (an Italian spicy salami – which packs a punch) with broccoli and a Marinara (tomato and oregano, without cheese).  The principal is that they do a few things well and I’m all for that. [Since I have been I believe they are selling fresh bread and cake – even more yum…]  I went for the N’juda – which I know I pronounced wrongly…..the crust was lovely and light with the right amount of crisp, puffy saltiness and as I mentioned before the spicy, soft salami gave a nice tangy kick.

Apologises for the picture, I had to transport it back to the office. The boys did say that it was ‘hotter than the sun’ and they weren’t wrong, even after my sprint through the streets to be able guzzle it down, it was still piping.  A final word, if you’re a girl and you think you can’t manage a whole one – go with a friend.  But I’m sure you will.  I did!  And all for £6.   You know what?  With pizzas like these it’s hard not to ‘play nice’!  Oh and they’re at The White Horse Hoxton tonight I believe!

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