“Standing in the Bite queue with a scallop in my hand, when I’m overhearing half of Cardiff, as the street food starts to fly. You can grab lobster…in The Parkhouse, rabbit…in La Cuina. fritters…in The Warren, lamb…in The Humble Onion, mussels… in Tommy Heaneys, people at the gin stall ,every corner turned around.”
Ok…”stop”, I hear you shout, “stick to the blog writing” (after this post, some may clearly argue that!) – ha ha, but in a location of at least ‘A Thousand Trees’; Insole Court provides the idyllic setting for this years inaugural Bite, Cardiff.
The brainchild of Phill Lewis, chef and co-owner of Dusty Knuckle Pizza and with Simon Thomas (previously of Street Food Circus), ‘Bite’ was inspired by Phill’s recent trip to the Dit’Unto Food Festival in Italy.
Badged as ‘The Art and Craft of Food’, this one-day festival has been on my (and based on the significant crowd it pulled, a fair few others) summer ‘hit list’ since it was announced back in May. A unique dining experience, the concept and plan for the day was simple – certainly in my case anyway, Basically, purchase a shed load of stickers for £3 each, and hand them over in exchange for some of the most delicious and innovative street food dishes you can imagine. Reflecting different cuisines, cooking styles, the individual Chefs and their restaurants, and with an admin’s dream tick sheet in hand; my self-imposed mission ‘should I have chosen to accept it’, was to sample all of the delights on offer in an afternoon.
Cue, the theme tune…*just to clarify the Mission Impossible track, and not Benny Hill, and take a look at how well (debatable!) I did below:
Jamie O Leary, JOLS Restaurant | Cornish crab porridge
Tom Furlong & Gwyn Myring, Milkwood Restaurant | Lambs tongue with leeks and laverbread
Tommy Heaney, Heaney’s Restaurant | Jersey royal cooked over embers, buttermilk, smoked seeds, pickled mussels
Ceri Johnston, The Early Bird Bakery | Brioche doughnut bite made with cardamom, lemon and Mauritian vanilla bean infused milk, rolled in lemon sugar and served with strawberry curd, mascarpone, pistachio crumble and balsamic caramel
Lia Moutselou, Lia’s Kitchen | Savoury muffin with courgette, tomato and cheese and choice of either Fava or Htipiti savoury icing
Andrew Frost, The Parkhouse Restaurant | Pembrokeshire lobster roll with Cardiff salad
Thom O Sullivan, Spit & Sawdust Restaurant | The Thomahawk – a home-made, organic beef patty, topped with Welsh cheddar, home pickled cucumbers, American mustard and inner city pickle’s ‘Mam’s Red Sauce’. Served with fried chips and seasonal slaw.
Phill Lewis, Dusty Knuckle Restaurant | Kids pizzas
Monserrat Prat, La Cuina Restaurant | Courgette and goats cheese cake with rabbit in a vinaigrette
John Cook, DIRT Supper Clubs | Olive oil cracker, hay smoked carrot cream, toasted kale, beetroot pico and pumpkin seeds.
Antonio Simone, The Humble Onion | Lamb breast, pickled red cabbage, labneh, green sauce and hazelnuts
Pankaj Krishnan, Keralan Karavan | Disco bhelpuri and deconstructed Keralan samphire onion bhaji with candied red chillis and a drizzle of mango ginger chutney
Vicky Crabtree, Shawarmawarma | Shawarma turkey kofte served on a warm flatbread with tabbouleh salad, harissa yoghurt and pomegranate seeds
Michelle Evans, Slowpig | Hummus topped with aromatic spiced hogget, fresh parsley and mint, pomegranate molasses and pistachio dukkah
Aled Byron, Mister Laverman | Laver aloo tikki – fresh Penclawedd laver, green chillies, Indian spices and topped with home-made mango and chilli couli, yogurt and coriander
And in answer to your question – did I succeed in my mission? Well…alas, not quite on this occasion. I unequivocally blame the cider and the 24°C heat! Money may have also been a deciding factor too. However, every trader, Insole Court and all the organisers deserve a monumental shout out for the sheer amount of effort that was put in.
Personally, I had started to ponder where the street food scene in Cardiff was going; our Capital city was being left behind, entrance fees were being charged for events and dish prices were rising on top of this. Well I would like to applaud you Bite, because yesterday you brought Cardiff together. You put on an event which celebrated the true culinary talent this city has to offer. And in a year where we have witnessed a significant number of restaurant closures, you pushed this city to the forefront of food again and educated. This is what Cardiff needed and for that, we thank you.
Twitter | @bitecardiff
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Special thanks also goes to the Stereophonics and my Spotify playlist for supporting today’s blog piece, and Nicki – Cardiff Bites (just to cause confusion in this post!) for your direction giving ability; you are 1 in a 1000 (or should that be, sat under 1 in a 1000 – ha ha).