Monday, 23 July 2012

Northern Food on tour: Festival food at Latitude

Last year I talked about how much festival food has improved since the dark days of the tinned burger. You'd think with the ongoing obsession with street food that this steady improvement would continue, what with all the dedicated folk selling interesting food from vans and stalls around the country. So how did I get on at Latitude?

Not bad, but could do better I reckon. Maybe I chose unwisely but I think (the much smaller) Standon Calling just edged it. From best to worst, here's what to look out for and what to avoid should you be braving the mud before the summer is out.

Disclaimer: significant consumption of alcohol may have rendered everything in this post misguided, incorrect or at least completely meaningless.

Lamb Kofta, from Kebabylon (£6.50-ish)

I know it doesn't look great, but when did a badly packed kebab ever look great? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this passed the test. A generously proportioned succulent kofta, interesting salad, bread that wasn't stale and a generous splodge of hummous. Which wasn't really hummous at all, more mashed up chickpeas. No matter, yoghurt sauce, hot sauce, job done.

Malay style lamb and potato curry on noodles, generic Thai and Chinese food stall (£7)

I doubt this was the best quality food I ate all weekend, but it bloody well hit the spot. Probably because there was about 2000 calories in it. A massive meaty carb load backed up with considerable hits of sugar, salt, spice and grease. All things nice effectively.

The lamb was genuinely very tender and quite delicious though, I'm sure of that. A little bit rendang-esque.

Large chilli beef burrito, Flaming Cactus (£7.50)

All aboard the burrito bus. You can't miss it, it's big and silver. I'm thinking a surfeit of carbohydrate may have had something to do with my fondness for this one too. Having said that it wasn't a tedious chore like eating these things often is, the salsa had a zip to it and it wasn't overloaded with rice at the expense of more interesting fillings. Rightly so too at £7.50 a pop.

Margherita pizza, wood-fired pizza place (£6)

This was just a bit too boring. Good texture and nice char to the crust but little flavour in either the mozzarella or the tomato sauce. Little flavour in the chilli oil I administered liberally to liven it up either. Or the basil leaves for that matter.

Footlong dog, Footlong Hot Dog stall (£4)

A bouncy, dense meaty sausage that didn't taste cheap was let down by very stale bread. Shame. Why the hell I put mayo on it I'm not really sure. Most likely a case of 'sauce is free therefore make the best use of it possible'.

Chicken and seafood paella, a Spanish place (£6.50)

The paella of shame. Actually don't call it a paella, it doesn't deserve it. At last year's festival I got real paella, made with meat on the bone and paella rice. This one didn't involve either of those things. Think overcooked savoury rice with dried up bits of chicken breast and added frozen mixed seafood bits. Crap. Sadly I can't remember the name of the stall selling it.

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