Eats from the Street visited Tollgate Shopping in Colchester last weekend for a food and drink festival, with live entertainment and things for kids to do throughout the day. The centrepiece was the double-decker bus transformed into a unique dining space, and plenty of outdoor seating chilled spots too.
Stella & Rich provided live entertainment at the two-day pop up festival, with food lovers being treated to speciality dishes from across the world, including Thai curries, Italian style pizzas and mouth-watering pastries and doughnuts.
I headed down to the pop-up festival with my Dad to check out the various foodie stalls!
Kao Soi – authentic Thai cuisine
First up, we went to Kao Soi. I’m not a big curry fan but the aromas coming from this stand were insanely good – so it made sense to give it a go! There were a wide selection of curries available, so after checking out the ingredients in each, I decided to try the Panaeng Chicken and Dad ordered the Hung-Lay. The Panaeng chicken was a big hot bowl of Panaeng curry, chicken, carrots, coconut milk, green beans, kafir lime leaves and served on a bed of fluffy white rice with crumbled peanuts on top. As I say I’m not a big fan of curry, but this has certainly changed my view! It was sweet with a dry spicy kick, with tender chicken pieces and al dente vegetables. The crumbled peanuts on top added a lovely crunch to the dish.
Dad had a big bowl of the Hung-Lay curry, pork belly, tamarind, ginger, palm sugar, lemongrass and curry powder, served on a bed of fluffy rice and topped with a coriander and onion dressing. The pork belly was tender and the spice a little subtler in this, but it was still a hearty and delicious meal to enjoy.
Dad loved Kao Soi so much he actually headed back to try the vegetable curry and owners were kind enough to give us a sample tray with their other curries in, topped with crispy dry noodles and peanut crumbs – we were truly spoilt by them! The curries came to just £6 each which is an incredible considering a) you’re at a food festival and b) the portion was very generous.
Slow Dough Pizza Co – wood-fired artisan Neapolitan Pizza
Next, we tried freshly baked pizzas from Slow Dough Pizza Co. There were five different options to choose from: Margarita, Pepperoni, Speck, Goats Cheese and Vegetable. We couldn’t decide on just one pizza, so we ended up having a half-and-half pizza – which they were more than happy to do! We ordered half Goats Cheese (goats cheese, caramelised onions and spinach) and half Speck (speck, Grano Padano, rocket, white truffle, balsamic vinegar and for di latte) and both just tasted amazing! We watched the fresh ingredients being prepared, the dough rolled by hand and then cooked in the wood-fired pizza oven until crisp.
The Speck pizza was personally my favourite as it had more going; the ham was crisp and the wilted rocket soaked up all the cheesy goodness. The pizzas cost £6 each or there was an offer of two for £10 – again, a great price considering where you are!
Mamas Doughnuts – homemade doughnuts
It was time for a sweet-hit, so we visited Mamas Doughnuts to treat ourselves to some naughty doughnuts to eat later on. The King Doughnuts were £3 each or 2 for £5, so we picked up a slice of carrot cake, pretzel and popcorn topped doughnut, a triple chocolate doughnut, a chocolate stuffed sugary doughnut and a vegan and gluten brownie for my sister. We ate these later when we got home and they all just tasted SO good – rich, deep chocolate, crunchy sugar coatings and soft cakey-dough. The perfect sweet treat to round off an indulgent afternoon!