General

London Halal Food Festival

Tobacco Docks opened its doors to the much anticipated event of the year; the London Halal Food Festival, bringing with it some exciting new additions to London’s growing halal food industry. Spread over two days, the London Halal Food Festival hosted a number of “Eat Off” challenges, a Cookery Masterclass, and live Qawaali, in addition to offering a large array of food stalls selling everything from burgers, hot dogs to sweet treats, to satisfy all tastebuds.

thumb_20160820_163914_1024Our first stop was to Amoricana, a new Southern American inspired Burger pop-up, with the London Halal Food Festival being its first appearance. In order to succeed in a somewhat saturated halal burger market, burger establishment need to offer something new and innovative, which Amoricano is trying to achieve, with its Southern American inspiration.

Pictured below is the “Fully Loaded”; a mighty 9oz patty topped with 24hr slow cooked brisket. Whilst the patty was a little on the dry side which wasn’t helped much by the choice of bun, the brisket was delightfully juicy and flavoursome. However, this was their first pop-up and we are confident, with a little tweaking, Amoricano will be a rising star.

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Next up was a sizzling lamb Wowshee, by Eygptian street food specialist, Beledi Kitchens. A Wowshee is an adaptation of a Hawowshee (Egyptian Mince Pie Sandwich) filled with minced lamb and hot gooey, melted cheese. Certainly something unique and different.

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Lamb Wowshee
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Hot Gooey Pot of Melted Cheese!

Rukhsana’s is an upcoming event catering specialist delivering authentic Pakistani food. We tried a selection of traditional Pakistani specialities including Lamb Shish Kebab, Chicken Spring Roll, Pakora, Chaana Masala and Dahi Bhalle with Naan and Sweet rice. The lamb shish kebab stood out the most, with its rustic spices and bold flavours. The sweet rice was a taste revelation, as the saccharin rice juxtaposed with the spicy and savoury dishes provided an exquisite balance of flavours. If you are after authentic home style Pakistani food, Rukhsana’s is worth a try.

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One of the popular food stalls at the Festival was the Meat Rack; so in demand that we weren’t even able to try their fare. However, to ensure that we didn’t miss out, the good people at Meat Rack kindly invited us to try their offerings.

For starters we tried a sample of their different range of Buffalo Wings. All the wings were of a good size and were flavoursome. However the most memorable were the R.I.P, which is aptly name, as the very first morsel of succulent chicken ignited my mouth, making it pulsate and throb, as the fiery heat coated my mouth like molten lava. This one is for all you chilli lovers. The House Spicy, had a vinaigrette, spicy kick to it that worked well. The BBQ Honey is a classic, as it was sweet, sticky and rambunctiously tasty.

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From the “Steaks” section we tried the 9 ounce “Fillet Steak”; seasoned with Himalayan salt and pepper and prepared medium. Texturally the steak was perfection. The knife glided through the steak as smoothly as velvet. The meat was succulent, tender, juicy and each morsel of the delectable meat was nothing short of sublime. Unequivocally, one of the best steaks I have tasted in a while.

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From the “Signature Burgers” section we opted for the “Smokey Bandit” and “Return of the Mac”.

The Smokey Bandit, was suitably smokey due to the beef rashers and smokey BBQ sauce. The caramelised onion chutney and BBQ sauce provided a wonderful sweet taste. The 6 ounce beef patty was prepared medium, as instructed, and was tender and moist. However, personally, I would have preferred a bit more seasoning in the patty, and less of the escarole lettuce leaves, as they were subduing some of the sumptuous flavours. But even with the minor flaws, this was still a satisfying burger that brought joy to my tastebuds.

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Return of the Mac tasted very similar to the well known Big Mac. The double patty of Beef and Lamb were once again prepared perfectly medium and the burger delivered on flavour and texture. However, the escarole lettuce leaves once again quelled some of the flavour, plus the burger would have benefitted from a bit more sauce. Nonetheless, this was still an accomplished burger to satisfy any burger aficionado.

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A number of other street stalls serving everything from Indian Street Food to unique combinations such as Sushi Burrito were also present at the festival.

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Gaucho Asado
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Sushi Burrito by Yaki Maki

No meal is complete without a sweet treat or two and the London Halal Food Festival had its fair share of sweet stalls. The one which stood out the most for us was Apple Blue Patisserie. Her beautifully crafted individual desserts are nothing short of extraordinary, and not only are they visually stunning, Sadia’s desserts are equally delectable.

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When there is a Dum Dum Donutierre nearby, it really would be rude not to try, especially when they look as good as this.

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The Datery, which was one of the most visually attractive stands at the festival, offers gourmet dates coated in Belgium chocolate and complimented with various nuts. They have turned the humble date into a luxury indulgent snack, making for a perfect gift for all occasions.

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To quench the thirst, one of the many drinks stands which stood out for us was Mecca Cola, a brand which aims to bring halal soft drinks to the mainstream market with a portion of their profit going to charity.

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The London Halal Food Festival brought many new and established eateries all under one roof and was a great opportunity for food lovers to celebrate the variety of halal food now available to Muslim consumers, whilst giving new brands a platform to showcase their products. Building on from the success of their first Halal Food Festival, what we would love to see in any future events is a larger more spacious venue and a greater variety of food stalls. Furthermore, additional cooking masterclasses/demonstrations by renowned Chefs, we believe, would attract further interest. Nonetheless, the event was a huge success and a Mecca for all foodies.

 

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