© 2013 Becky Falafel from Kuskus Foods

Leamington Food Festival review

Leamington Food Festival – wow, it was a good weekend. Bigger than ever, so much delicious food and drink and at last, I could run around and enjoy it rather than being behind a stall! Hurray! I, naturally, had to go and investigate what was on offer on both festival days, eating lunch down there and grabbing food for the evenings too. Sunday night I collapsed on the sofa after gorging myself to the max, but it was worth it.

I started with some veggie and chicken samosas from Spice Fever which were great as always – crunchy pastry with lightly spiced fillings. Next up was the insane Manwich from the lovely people at The Jabberwocky – a ‘triple-decker toastie filled with ham, cheddar, garlic, bacon, mozzarella, chorizo, fried onions, Monterey Jack, pastrami, Pip’s Hot Sauce and steak!’ It took two of us to finish it off but boy, was it good! After that we needed a break and chilled out with a cider or two from Oscar’s Bar. Some time later I was ready for the next course so headed to Quean’s for their brilliant ice cream. I first tried the sweet treat in the restaurant where you have a long list of classic and more unusual flavour combos to choose from; the creaminess is perfect and the flavours are top notch.

For laters we grabbed some Thai red curry and noodles from The Thai Kitchen (I wanted to try Buddha Belly but they’d sold out) which was ok…nothing amazing. Also on the menu were some Italian meatballs from the international bit of the festival – pretty rank to be honest, the meat had a weird soft, squidgy texture and the flavour was non existent, really bland. So it was a disappointing end to day one. That’ll teach me for deviating from the plan, ha. On to the Sunday…

I started with elevenses at quite a sad looking stall belonging to Bella Cafe, it was really bare and didn’t look very enticing which is a great shame because they do amazing pasteis de nata (Portuguese fancy little custard tarts). I hope they did well as the tarts are lovely. On Saturday my first call at around 2.15pm was to head for Kuskus Foods for their fantastic falafels but I arrived at the van to find closed shutters – they’d sold out already!! So on Sunday I beat the crowds and reserved my wrap early on but unable to stay away for long, I quickly headed back to delve in. These falafels are so good, beautiful nutty texture and so much flavour. A veggie tagine was also on Kuskus’ menu which was gorgeous too.

I moved on to a bit of shopping and picked up a bottle of basil oil from The Big Fat Olive. I’m on to my third bottle of this stuff which is perfect drizzled over a tomato salad; the basil scent and flavour are so good. You can find Clark at the Leamington Yuletide Markets with his range of oils, including new truffle oils, and delicious chilli jams. For dinner, I was feeling greedy so grabbed a couple of options (all for the good of the blog obviously) – pulled pork burrito with guacamole from Habaneros and chorizo and roquito pepper pizza from The Wild Oven. The burrito was filled to the brim with Mexican goodness, these guys know what they’re doing, definitely recommended. I hadn’t come across The Wild Oven before but would be sure to head their way again – crispy base, tasty tomato sauce and top quality toppings made a damn good pizza. You can book their impressive oven for weddings and parties and they also offer hot wraps and wood fired meats, yum.

So, all in all, a great festival, congrats to BID Leamington for doing a great job of organising it all! Next stop is the new Eat Street, Artisan Food Market in Leamington’s Regent’s Court which starts this Friday 13th September. I’m really excited about this as I think Leamington could really do with a weekly food market in the town so fingers crossed it’ll go down well. There promises to be 12-15 food stalls including street food (Jabberwocky will be there!) so a perfect spot to grab some lunch or a few bits for the weekend.


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