Sunday, 10 May 2015

Street Food Circus, Cardiff

Street Food Circus is one of the many nighttime street food pop ups that are appearing throughout Cardiff in the coming months.

Every Friday through to Sunday in May and June, numerous local street food trucks roll up (roll up) to the big top in Old Stable Yard, John St. For those not so familiar with Cardiff, that's behind John Lewis, over the road and under the railway bridge. As soon as you're under the bridge, you can't miss the Big Top tent.

It's a foodies dream. I dragged Mr P along last Sunday on the promise of lunch and cocktails. I'd been craving some Greek food for some time now, and there's a serious lack of it around here. I heard Meat & Greek were appearing, and the thought of souvlaki drowning in tzatziki was enough to get me out of bed on a bank holiday weekend.

Entering the Circus, you're faced with a few vans and stalls before entering the Big Top tent. Take your time and wander around, don't go to the first stall you fancy! As there are another bunch of food trucks waiting for you the other side of the tent, and believe me, you don't want to spend all your pocket money in one go!

My advice, sideline a couple of hours and go for the atmosphere, as well as the food. It's definitely got great Friday night vibes, dress casual, grab some food and a couple of beers from the bar inside the tent, and settle in for the night with some friends. Take as many as you can - it's a lot more fun to share!

Not listening to my own advice however, I made a beeline to the ever so friendly guys over at Meat & Greek. I finally got my favourite, a salad stuffed pitta filled with grilled pork souvlaki, topped with a more than generous helping of tzatziki.

It was definitely worth the wait, as those Greeks certainly know their way around a BBQ! However, not the easiest thing in the world to eat, just try not getting any yogurt on your face!

Mr P had a wander, and his first helping came from the Patagonia Steak Shack. He plumped for a roll with 48 hour slow cooked beef, topped with crumbly stilton and sharp salty gherkins. Definitely hit the spot.

A little breather ensued while we chilled out in the tent and rubbed our bellies, before we were ready to go wandering again. At the back of the circus is a cute little pink van, making exciting candy coloured 'Kooktails'. The sun had come out, and it was glorious out in the yard, so a lavender and rose infused gin cocktail was defintely the one for me.

Normally, I find flowery infused food and drink items are a bit like munching on a washing powder tablet, but this was lovely. Lightly flavoured with a good slug of gin, it went down a treat in the sunshine. At £7 a cocktail mind, you won't be on these all night! The Mr went for a tequila and toasted marshmallow concoction, which was too strong for my liking on the tequila, but the toasted marshmallows on the side were a lot nicer than the standard cherry or umbrella!

As soon as the sun had appeared, our 5 minutes of summer were over and the dark clouds descended upon us once more. Everyone dived back under the protection of the Big Top while the heavens opened above us!

Thankfully, with two well stocked bars, plenty of seats and some funky live music going on, no-one was in a rush to go anywhere. Least of all us. People hovered around the edges of the tent, grabbing umbrellas and making a run for it out to one of the trucks when they got hungry again.

Me included. I'd been nosing on everyone else's food as they wandered around me in the tent, and kept getting a wonderful smell from the Bao buns that passed by. I decided I'd brave the rain to go try one for myself. I'd heard good things about Hokkei, and with two Masterchef finalists at the helm, it was worth a shot.

For £5, we shared a 'Moo Bao' which was an Asian steamed bun, filled with slow cooked beef brisket with black beans and kimchi, topped with lots of zingy coriander and tomato. I've never tried a Bao bun before, and I've got to be honest, I found it a little bit slimey and not my favourite thing. However, the slow cooked beef with those light flavours on top was wonderful, and tasted as good as the smell had led me to believe.

But after that, and a few drinks, you could have stuck a fork in and called me done. All I kept seeing after that were crispy churros, from Mr. Churro, with gleaming little pots of chocolate dipping sauce. I really, really wanted some, but my jeans zipper was not going to allow it.

That's the beauty however, because all these stalls are on rotation for the next two months, so I'll be back for my Churros at some point!

So pop over if you find yourself hungry and in Cardiff within the next two months! It's open from 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm on Sundays. Sunday afternoons are the best to take the whole family. Make sure you take enough cash, and wear sensible shoes. While I'm at it with the dress code - wear loose fitting clothes, you're gonna need them.

Tag me in all your photos, so I know what to eat next time! And remember...

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