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STREET FOOD: Riverboat Food Fest Review

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Last month we were invited to the first ever TSL Riverboat food festival, a street food event like no other in London.  To put it simply, the festival is a 5 course sit down meal held on a moored boat on the Thames, in the shadow of the MI6 building in Vauxhall.  However, if I were to go into more detail, the festival features 5 of the best street food vendors around, waiter service, bespoke cocktails, live DJ, and all for only £25 per person.

I arrived at the 3 floor tug boat and was given the option of sitting on the open top deck, but looking at the ever greying skies, I went for the safe option down below.  Once seated, there was certainly a party atmosphere in the air and with tightly spaced seating, I found myself quickly making friends with the guests around me, all with a common love of street food.

Our first course is the perfect starter, a Korean rib tostada with radish Kimchi, made by KERB residents Kimchinary.   A slightly nutty flavour with deep Asian spices, it was unanimously considered by all around me to be the most unique and intricate dish on the menu.  This set things up nicely for my favourite dish of the evening, a Waffle On slow roasted duck, fried egg and signature buttermilk waffle.  It really was as good as it sounds, with the sweet waffle acting as a great counter to the duck.

Duck and Egg with Buttermilk Waffle

At this point, I should mention that throughout the evening 80s classic tunes have been blaring from the PA system and now that a few ‘Tall, Hot Danish’ tequila cocktails have been consumed, there are random woops and cheers every time a new song comes on.  In fact, when Spandau Ballet’s Gold inevitably plays, the whole floor begins to sing and clap along to the chorus- a sight I never thought I’d ever experience in a restaurant setting!

The next 2 dishes were a meat lover’s dream, with brined Hereford brisket sandwich by Bell & Brisket followed by the headline act of the evening, the Venison topside haunch steak by the Wild Game Co.  The venison has been caught on the family’s farm in the Scottish highlands and the quality of the meat is evident.  That’s not to say the brisket was bad, but I found the black rye bun to be slightly overbearing with the salted beef.

Herefore Brisket and Black Rye Sandwich

Finally we were treated to a dessert created by one of my favourite vendors, Batch Bakers.  For the event they crafted the uber cool Elvis on a Stick; essentially 2 rich chocolate brownies separated by a thick layer of banoffee peanut butter ice cream, then dipped in chocolate and praline- Chocolate Heaven.

Brownie with Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Having attended a few food fairs in my time, I’ve grown accustomed to hours of queuing and walking around a concrete jungle eating in a slightly ungainly fashion, balancing a plate in one hand and my belongings in the other.  So although the Riverboat isn’t quite the Ritz, it’s a vast improvement on everything else out there.  The weather was less than perfect, but all in attendance didn’t seem to mind, especially with the cocktails flowing!

More Riverboat Food Festivals are planned and Blood, Sweat and Fashion will be the first to let you know.  Below is a video from the first event:

[youtube clip_id=”WXgXnB4rDQQ”]

Images by Stuart Watt

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