Tag Archives: Choc Star

King’s Boulevard gets the eat.st/INSA treatment

25 Oct

Jimmy, Jesus and Mary have all had the INSA midas touch – now it’s the time of the eat.st collective as a whole to be treated to a bit of that sparkle.

When we first began speaking with King’s Cross about bringing eat.st to King’s Boulevard I knew that we needed some great signage that would reflect what eat.st is about – but also that would signify a departure from tradition and a nod to the future direction of open-air food slinging.

For this task, INSA was the only guy. As soon as we began talking about it we was picking up what I was putting down and then throwing it back even harder. The result – and with plenty of support from King’s Cross – is the following: dozens of separate painted boards that fan out from the King’s Boulevard ivy-clad hoarding, giving a brilliant 3D effect and firmly stamping eat.st’s name on the strip.

Or, as INSA says, we’ve created an incredibly elaborate frame for a blackboard…

We’ll be here for a while and now it’s official. Have a look at the different elements and how they were slotted together – and then come and see the thing in the flesh while you chow!


Choc Star, Bean & Gone and Luardos getting ready to mount.


Sizing up the women.


Drilling them on.


The first of the blackboard dates. People coming by were asking ‘Is it for bands? Who’s playing?’. Different kind of party, but still a performance.

Me with my mini-Jimmy.

And the final touches. Quiff-o-rama. See you there soon!


GQ paints a pretty picture

12 Aug

LOVE this (plus, we get to share a page with David Gandy – things don’t get much better than that).

#16days is over – but The Meatwagon is here to fly the flag

1 Jun

So our #16 days rolling residency at The Rye is almost over. How great to meet so many of you down in SE15 over the last two and a half weeks – and we’re delighted by the response. We even drew the attention of TimeOut, Daily Candy and The Evening Standard. (And special mention to the wonderful Tehbus for creating a little eat.st button on his blog. ‘I’m supporting 16days’ was such a nice touch).

And of course big thanks to Scott of Capital Pubs, Paddy at The Rye, Jocasta for designing the flyers and Yianni for inviting everyone along.

Organising something like this did a have one or two hiccups, Biblical deluges and Bank Holiday confusions so apologies to anyone who arrived to find their chosen hawker not ready yet (or soaking wet). We hope you all got fed!

And we were so sorry not to have Wholefood Heaven join us yesterday for their spot under The Rye’s street lamp – the trouble with these fly older vehicles is that sometimes they don’t want to play ball. Looking forward to having them with us for the next eat.st excursion. (Angus – well done that man for turning up to save the day at the last minute).

Here are a few pics of #16days going down…

Week Two was a flurry of Mexican food – a spice pallet of sabor that tropicalised the Peckham night. New kids Toma Mexicano (Sol and Sabrina) brought along their flautas and beef fajita tacos on Day 8. As soon as those tacos hit the griddle, sending the hot whisps of maize out of the gazebo I was hooked.

We loved Buen Provecho so much that we invited them back for Day 15 as well.

Simon from Luardos brought Jesus along on Day 9 for a rare crossing of the river. Tacos and quesadillas were slamming.


And when it was my turn to bring Choc Star back for Week Two well, the rains came down in a way that might inspire any number of blues tracks. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t help but go running around in it then had to warm up with Street Foodie’s kimchi sliders.

Congratulations to those brave enough to still turn up on that night!

Now that Yianni has returned from the wild woods of South Carolina the Meatwagon Crew are ready to assume their rightful position back in SE15. From TODAY they will be taking over the kitchen at The Rye and doing wild things in the beer garden all summer. Hold onto your sides – ride’s about to get wild!

#16days – Week Two

22 May

Week one of #16days got off to a flying start. The pavement outside The Rye didn’t know what had hit it as day after day a new hawker set up their stall/parked up their van and plied the good stuff to Peckham and beyond.

Day One found Creperie Nicholas and its wonderful owners, Keith (I love the name Keith) and Gill doing something alchemic to their gallettes. They loved their evening in SE15 – good start to the 16 day relay.

Day Two saw Angus, AKA Mongo Denoon, AKA The OK Catering Success, AKA Kolkata Street Food – AKA a myriad of names to introduce something altogether more simple. There is a goodness to Mongo’s gear that doesn’t come round that often. He turns up and from out of his magical wagon of tricks spills a world of colour and flavour. We need more of this on our streets!

Day Three was a double-bill of Mexican market hero Arturo and his Lower Marsh-based stall Buen Provecho, and my very own choc-mobile, Choc Star, serving up the brown stuff. I couldn’t believe the number of people who rolled up from all over town – and Arturo was delighted to see so many of his regulars turning up to get the night-time taste of La Ciudad.

Day Four and it was Ca Phe VN’s shot at SE15 culinary leadership. They cranked up the coles and dolled out barbecue pork thit nuong, chicken kebabs and Banh Mi. So good that they were sold out by 8.30pm and owner, Rob, was elated. What a riot and what a nice crowd, he declared.

Day Five brought it home with The Dogfather – our favourite Coops-Deville and his tripped-out wieners and jalapeño poppers. Everyone needs a Cooper at the end of their road spinning lyrical on the griddle.

Day Six and we’re at the weekend. Our favourite logistics man, Nick, had the paella pans bubbling for Jamon Jamon’s stint on the curb.

And Day Seven, today, the final day of Week One, and Portuguese hog maestros Rainha Santa pulled out the porkiest one so far with their embalmed and aromatic spit-roast delights.

So now – onto Week Two (or, strictly speaking, Week-and-a-half Two – but everyone’s too busty troffing to count). Get a load of THIS!…

Even more hawkers to send you every which way. Monday 23rd brings to this side of the river real-deal comida de la calle from Broadway Market legend Sol of Toma Mexicano. Throwing down on the griddle will be steak tacos, and bubbling away in the pan their amazing flautas. This is not one to be missed!

And then check out the role-call of more of London’s finest, doing their thing just as it should be, for ten more days. (And who d’you think might be the ‘special guest’ turning up at the end?).

eat.st adds flavour to the Real Street Food Festival

23 Apr

A couple of months ago we were approached by the Real Food Festival people. They wanted to put on a dedicated Royal Wedding event that would be strictly street food – and they needed our help.

Of course we were happy to rally our troops for them and got busy putting together a crew that would have the Southbank crowds royally replete.

eat.st traders showing out next Friday 29th April – Monday 2nd May will be:

Bhangra Burger and their first ever outing for the new Bhangra bus. (You won’t miss it) Selling Indian spiced burgers in flatbread with homemade pickles and chutneys.

Anna Mae’s Smokehouse – new eat.st  members just back from a BBQ tour of Texas. These people know how to pull them some pork.

Choc Star – yours truly, cooling the crowds down with ice creams and whipping them into a frenzy with our brownie fudge sundaes.

Jamon Jamon – Portobello Market regulars and purveyors of paella and street theatre. Enjoy the show!

Healthy Yummies – It’s all a load of scallops. Serving one of the best curbside treats we’ve had all year: read about it here. And help it down with some cold prossecco. The most goodness possible from a Bedford van.

Mongo Denoon and the OK Catering Success – just back from Kolkata, Angus and his Bengali van of delights making magic for your mouth.

Wholefood Heaven – from their smart grey Citroen-H van, this married couple bring you vegetarian soulfood.

Stewed & Baked – operating out of a 1970s caravan, cooking up huge pots of wholesome stew.

Lulabelle’s – Yorkshire woman Cathy is driving her pink and white splitscreen VW camper van down to Londonand bringing with her cakes and cream teas for all!

Luardos – the Whitecross Market mainstay is crossing the river especially for the Royal Wedding weekend. Be prepared to queue for our favourite burrito in London.

Salad Days – good old Suffolk boys who like tossing salads and grilling nice loins of local meat.

Street Foodie – just arrived back from a few years living in Korea, these guys come packing kimchi sliders. Very exciting addition to the eat.st crew.

Crêperie Nicholas – traditional Breton buckwheat crêpes served from a Citroen-H van. This is the kind of tradition we like.

Spinach & Agushi – Broadway, Portobello and Exmouth Market regulars and responsible for showing Londoners exactly what’s so special about Ghanain food.

The Real Street Food Festival takes place in front of the Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX

Tweetmass Gathering at the Florence

8 Dec

Getting ready for tonight’s #tweetmasgathering – a mighty get-together of London’s most ardent and committed food bloggers and Tweeters – are our very own Jhal Muri Express, The Meatwagon and Choc Star.

From 6pm this evening Christmas Tweetsville will be well in the air round the back of the Florence pub in Herne Hill. Expect hot chocolate delights and chocolate cookies, cakes, truffles and brownies from Choc Star, nourishing daal and jhal muri from Mongo Denoon and BURGERS – possibly the best in all of London from The Meatwagon.

BUT…do not expect the actual Meatwagon to be there as, unless you haven’t already heard, that huge great shiny steel trailer has been TEEFED. Yes, you heard it right – someone has towed that wide-load clean away leaving Yianni and a sea of loyal supporters devastated.

(Tiny pic but not a tiny trailer)

Not one to let the burger-burglars grind him down, Yianni and team will be soldiering on with a rented double griddle, a canopy and an oil drum BBQ to keep them warm. The burgers will still be phenomenal and no doubt sell out as usual but really, he needs that trailer back where it belongs.

Anyone providing information leading to its recovery wins FREE BURGERS FOR LIFE. Worth keeping those eyes peeled for we think.

Big up and a Happy Tweetmas to all!


Back to the Towpath for more…

7 Oct

Apologies if you’ve already read this on the Choc Star blog and I won’t keep on repeating posts but this week is swallowing up every last morsel of my time…

This weekend sees another, more expanded DIY event at the Towpath in Hackney. We’re all really excited to be involved with what we hope will become a continued theme in the trading habits of the eat.st crew.

The summer has confirmed a lot of things that we already suspected: that many of the events we’ve traditionally attended are going in a direction that is rather lacking in the original festival spirit from which they first sprung. This is a shame because what’s so special about the food traders who have joined eat.st is that we are, by our natures, still full of mad love for our customers and the food we serve. It’s difficult to do what we do when confronted with exorbitant pitch fees, heavy-handed sponsors, excessive amounts of traders for too few punters and a general sense of disconnect from the good, wholesome and happy vibes.

Let me say that there are still exceptions and we love them for remaining true. And we understand that everybody needs to make money and we wish them well. But Choc Star and many of the other great people of eat.st have other ideas up our sleeves…

As I press pause on the road-tripping for a while and turn my mind to my studies, it is also London that I want to focus on more closely for the Choc Star ramblings and adventures. Full of opportunities to bring great food to its streets and public spaces – many of them disused or under-used.

We tried it a few weeks ago and now we’re off again – Right opposite the canal from Jason Lowe and Lori De Mori’s wonderful Towpath Cafe lies a piece of land that shouts DIY micro-festival like you wouldn’t believe.

Alongside the choc-mobile will be super-proactive eat.st member Yianni of the Meatwagon, Portobello favourites Jamon Jamon, Mongo Denoon and the OK Catering Success (or The Everybody Love Love Express, depending on how you’re feeling) and ruffneck coffee supremo Brewed Boy with his cart of joy.

There’ll be music, fire, edible magic and sunshine. Or, in the words of Mongo Denoon:

The LoveLove Express happily heads East to be part of a one off weekend in an exclusive waterside location for a do with some of the finest street food wagons, dj’s, bands, top hat cocktails and side stepping possiblities – and all blessed and bathed in the last golden days of summer. Its free if you are. Come and remind yourself why you love London.

Hope to see you there for a milkshake/chaat/espresso/burger/paella…